Concerned parents have demanded that a pedestrian crossing is implemented near a school in Coagh, before a fatal accident occurs.
Parents taking their children to and from Coagh Primary School have hit out at the lack of provision to allow children to cross the road safely and to slow traffic down on busy Urbal Road.
Alongside UUP Councillor for Mid-Ulster Mark Glasgow, parents have started a petition to demand the Department of Regional Development (DRD) to introduce safety restrictions on the busy road.
A spokesperson for the DRD said they have: “undertook assessments for the introduction of Traffic Calming measures and a controlled crossing at Urbal Road, Coagh.
“The Traffic calming assessment indicated that the location did not currently score as highly as sites that were already included in the 2015-2017 two year works programme.”
area. The site will however be reviewed annually for traffic calming and considered for inclusion in future works programmes.”
One parent, who did not wish to be named, described how there have been numerous ‘near misses’ on the road as there is no safe place for children to cross, as cars line the road at school times.
She told the MAIL: “When cars coming down the road see cars lined on one side of the road parked they just think ‘oh we will just drive on past’, they don’t think of the children coming out of school and having to try and cross.
“It is quite obvious when you see the TV advertisement, ‘Respect everyone’s journey’ these people are not taking that into consideration.
“What is going to happen in Coagh is like that horrible accident which happened in Cloughmills, a child will be knocked down and killed if something is not done about this. There was another day last week when there was very heavy fog, what is going to happen then, the weather is getting worse and so is visibility, it is an accident waiting to happen.”
The parent continued: “I would like at least a zebra crossing and speed ramps outside that school.
“We have raised our concerns with the school and Mrs Black has worked to try and get some of the cars to stop parking at the gates of the school but as soon as it is raining, that doesn’t happen, there is only so much the school can do to try and enforce this.”
UUP Councillor for Mid Ulster Mark Glasgow said he has been campaigning to try and get speed ramps and a designated crossing at the school but so far has had no joy.
“In Bankfield, the housing estate near to the school there are a lot of children whose parents walk them to school, but there is no crossing for them to get from one side to the other.
“The road is a very busy one, there a re a lot of HGV lorries who use that road and a lot of parked cars all along the road, it is a catastrophe waiting to happen. They have to put their lives at risk to try and get to school.
“I started a petition last week and it is out in shops around the area at the moment to try and get these measures enforced by relevant authorities.
“We need a designated crossing zone for these parents and children. We also need speed ramps to enforce the speed limit, signs are not enough to stop people from speeding on that road.”
Principal of Coagh Primary School, Mrs Black told the MAIL she would welcome a designated crossing at the school so children could cross safely.
A spokesperson for the Department of Regional Development told the MAIL: “Following a request in September 2014 from Councillor Glasgow, the Department undertook assessments for the introduction of Traffic Calming measures and a controlled crossing at Urbal Road, Coagh. The Traffic calming assessment indicated that the location did not currently score as highly as sites that were already included in the 2015-2017 two year works programme for the Cookstown area. The site will however be reviewed annually for traffic calming and considered for inclusion in future works programmes.
“The Department also undertook a pedestrian and vehicle volume survey during the morning and afternoon school opening and closing times. The pedestrian and vehicle volumes recorded fell significantly below the level where a controlled crossing could be considered for this site.”