Hyland concerned at findings of Pedestrian Road Safety survey

September 30, 2013

Newry Independent Councillor, Davy Hyland has expressed grave concern following the findings of a Pedestrian Road Safety survey carried out by one of his constituents during Monday 2nd to Friday 6th September.

Councillor Hyland commissioned Drumgullion Avenue resident John McCabe to carry out a survey in the interests of pedestrian safety at an unused entrance gate adjoining a busy public footpath at Jollyes Pet Superstore on the Armagh Road.

Councillor Hyland explained “several years ago I worked with the former Mourneview Park Community Association with John when he was Secretary and we carried out a similar survey which culminated in traffic calming measures being installed in the form of ramps.

“I have been inundated with a new series of complaints about a traffic and pedestrian problem on the Upper Armagh Road.  Drawing upon past experiences an independent survey can only serve to enhance, influence and add leverage with the DRD Roads Department in hopefully securing a satisfactory outcome in the interests of public safety.”

Councillor Hyland went on to outline the current danger to the public,

“Currently there are unused gates at the side of the Jollyes with a driveway entrance cutting across a major pedestrian footpath which shoppers, mother with prams, cyclists and joggers all use on a frequent basis.

“A vast majority of motorists, but not exclusively upon leaving the left exit lane from Damolly Retail Park make a central stalling box in the middle of two way busy traffic of  the Armagh Road.  Then when a break in the traffic occurs they proceed to the closed entrance gate at Jollyes with no due concern for pedestrians because they are distracted and preoccupied negotiating the oncoming traffic.  This often results in pedestrians taking evasive action, running for safety or halting to avoid serious injury or death”.

Councillor Hyland acknowledged that motorists were not violating any traffic regulations, however the central road marking was there to enable motorists and delivery vehicles to access Jollyes and not for the purpose of a turning short cut to enable them to access the Fiveways bound lane.

“He continued “It is unclear if Jollyes intend to eventually use this entrance and I’m not accusing them of any wrong doing.  However, should this entrance be utilized it could witness even more traffic coming from Damolly Retail Park for usage of Fiveways car park via the Jollyes side entrance.”

Councillor Hyland also revealed that there were no signs or road markings to warn pedestrians of the oncoming traffic danger and no lighting at the junction with the onset of the long dark evenings.

The survey findings revealed that on week days between 1.00 pm – 4.00 pm, 30 vehicles mount the path and entrance way every hour.  Four to five pedestrians have to take evasive action every hour with emergency breaking a common occurrence.  On average, every two minutes a vehicle cuts across this pathway and every quarter of an hour or so a member of the public is in danger of injury or worse.

In the week of the survey, which totalled 15 hours, just over 70 people have had close encounters with some form of potential injury.

In conclusion Councillor Hyland stated, “This survey did not include rush hour and weekend traffic, yet it has exposed the real dangers pedestrians face on the upper Armagh Road.  I will forward these findings on to the DRD Roads with the view to requesting an on-site meeting with my fellow Newry and Mourne District Councillors and other relevant authorities.”