Pupils and staff from Creevy NS presented a number of road safety concerns to councillors of Donegal Municipal District (MD).
Among the issues highlighted at the January MD meeting were the inadequate drop off and parking spaces; speed of motorists; insufficient warning for motorists; and lack of a safe footpath.
Pupils Michael Clancy, Dara McGloin and Éadaoin Finnegan gave a thorough report of the findings of their ‘Walkability Audit.’
They began by explaining that 214 pupils from Ballyshannnon, Rossnowlagh and Cashelard attended the school which is on the R231. There is a speed limit of 80km/h on the road. As well as local traffic, this road has large volumes of buses, caravans and campervans from Easter to October.
The aim of the Walkability Audit was to find out how pedestrian-friendly the route might be. And the results were shocking. It was not even deemed safe for the committee to walk a route along the road, so the audit was carried out from the set down zone.
Using photographs to support their research, the pupils presented their findings to the meeting.
Principal Aoibheann Kelly and Green Schools Co-ordinator Jennifer McGloin told how staff stand outside the school gates every morning and afternoon to make sure that all children get to school safely.
They then put forward a number of recommendations, including: To install periodic speed limits of 50km/h or slower; to replace and reposition the broken flashing lights further from the school to allow motorists time to slow down; upgrade the rumble strips; get ‘Slow School Ahead’ painted on to the road surface.
When carrying out the audit, students established that if the speed limit was reduced from 80km/h to 50km/h it would take motorists a mere 13.5 seconds longer to travel the stretch of road. This would of course be a really small price to pay for the safety of 214 pupils.
Councillors praised the young students for their articulate presentation and their comprehensive findings.
Roads Officer for Donegal MD Mark Sweeney said he would look at ways to increase the parking / set down space. He also took the other proposals on board. Mr Sweeney said he had visited the school himself ahead of the meeting and he acknowledged the seriousness of the safety concerns. While he felt that rumble strips had proven not to be very effective and were noisy for local residents, the roads officer was in favour of a reduced speed, road markings and improved warning signs.
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