‘A tragic death inevitable’ – Unite Traffic Survey findings

November 21, 2016

Newry Unite community branch, has hit out at the Department of Infrastructure and the PSNI for failure to install traffic calming measures on the Old Warrenpoint road in Newry.

This follows a near fatality on the road last Wednesday evening, in which a local woman was knocked down and had to receive hospital treatment for her injuries.

Speaking to The Examiner about what has been an ongoing issue on the residential road, Damian McShane, Unite community activist and resident of the Old Warrenpoint road said,

“Today, we could be burying a local woman. I certainly don’t want to come across as a prophet of doom, but while the powers that be drag their feet, sit on their hands and procrastinate; people’s lives are being put at risk. It is my view, that a tragic loss of life on this road is inevitable, but yet, could so easily be avoided.”

Over the last number of months, Newry Unite community branch has held several pickets on the road to highlight the dangers. Unite activist and  Independent Councillor, Davy Hyland, has also raised the issue at Council level receiving full backing from Newry, Mourne and Down District Council for his motion demanding traffic calming measures on the busy road.

“A number of months back, the council had a consultation with the relevant bodies. It was during this meeting, the council admitted that they had absolutely no idea of the volume of traffic on the road, or how many houses had sprung up along the road in recent years,” revealed Mr McShane.

“It was agreed, that the council would compile a full survey of the road, with the view to introducing traffic calming measures.  We welcomed this step, as we felt it was progressive. To date and to our knowledge, no survey has taken place.”

Disappointed with the Council’s inaction on the matter, the Unite community activist revealed the group decided to compile their own survey of the road.

“Admittedly our survey is not a direct science or a totally accurate reading. We simply don’t have the technology to get the total volume of traffic that uses the road, our survey was compiled by our activists giving up their time to stand on the road and count the vehicles, during the two peak times 8am-9.30am and 5pm-6.30 pm.”

Damian described the results of the survey as “quite shocking”, revealing on average 2300 vehicles using the Old Warrenpoint road during the two peak times on a daily basis.

“The Old Warrenpoint road, is not an arterial road, this is a residential area,” he added.

“A full documented breakdown of our findings will be presented to the relevant agencies over the coming days. In the meantime, I call on all motorists who use the road, to show due care.”

Welcoming Unite’s findings, local Councillor Davy Hyland said,

“I have received a copy of Unite’s survey in recent days and to be honest, it’s crazy that such a volume of traffic is continually motoring through a residential area.

“From what I have gathered, 80% of the cars that use the road are local residents, so I call on them to kill your speed, otherwise you may unfortunately, be responsible for killing a neighbour.

“I will be bringing these findings up with the relevant bodies in due course. I want to commend Newry Unite community branch, for giving up their time, which was many man hours, to compile this survey.

“I’d also like to wish the lady, who had the misfortune of being knocked down, a full and speedy recovery; it is my hope that this incident is the last of it’s type on the road and that traffic calming measures are introduced with immediate effect.”