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Concerns raised over traffic on Larne Road

Jane Witherspoon

Reporter:

Jane Witherspoon

Residents of the Larne Road have raised concerns about the speed of many cars using the road, especially near the entrance to Slemish College.

The road, which is a 30mph zone has many houses, shops, a school and entrances to housing estates.

A large volume of cars use the road daily, however residents claim that many are not keeping within the 30mph limit.

Concerned local resident George Crothers contacted the Guardian to voice his fears that it was inevitable a school student or other pedestrian was going to be knocked down while trying to cross the road.

He said: “I am disabled and use a mobility scooter, but the way things are with the cars traveling so fast, I'm actually scared to cross the road.

“Cars travel so fast along this busy road that it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt when trying to cross to the other side of the road.”

Presently, there is a road crossing opposite the Spar shop, and only small school warning signs on both sides of the road.

However Mr Crothers and many of his fellow residents believe this is not enough, and that bigger, more prominent signs are needed.

He added: “There is definitely a need for better regulation of speed and a zebra crossing.

“There is also an urgent need for larger warning signs for Slemish College.

“All the residents in this area are complaining about the speed of the traffic.”

Principal of Slemish College, Mr Michael Bennett is also concerned for the safety of his pupils.

He raised the point that new housing developments on the Larne Road has only increased the traffic load and is leading to further problems.

He also calls for a stricter management of traffic.

He told the Guardian: “At Slemish College, our priority is always the students’ health and safety.

“We have real concerns that the significantly increased traffic on the Larne Road is making it more challenging for parents and students to arrive at and depart from the College safely.

“We strongly believe that the management of traffic on the Larne Road needs to be reviewed, to ensure appropriate safety measures are implemented.

“It is disappointing that decision makers have not fully considered the impact of recent housing developments on the safety of local residents and the school population.

“I therefore urge the authorities to address this as a high priority.”

TUV MLA Jim Allister told the Guardian: “The speed in this built up and heavily trafficked area is a problem, so I’ll be pressing the PSNI to regularly monitor the situation and hold to account those exceeding the speed limit.”

DUP MLA Paul Frew said: “PSNI have had a presence on the road at times to enforce the speed limits.

“The road can get very congested with cars parked to pick up Children, buses moving to and fro and popular businesses close by so it is madness driving anywhere near the speed limit let alone breaking the speed limit at this section of road.”

UUP MLA Robin Swann has called for additional police patrols in the area: “to urgently curb the menace of speeding motorists before the locality becomes an accident black spot.”

He added: “I want the police to increase patrols in the region and prosecute anyone caught speeding over the limit before the area gains the unwanted reputation of being one of the town's most notorious accident blackspots, or worse still we are looking at someone being seriously injured.

“Also in the short term, we urgently need more warning signs for motorists emphasising the speed limits.

“We cannot afford to gamble with constituents' lives. This is a time for radical action, not empty rhetoric.” s

The Guardian also contacted the Department of Infrastructure and the PSNI for a comment on the matter, but no reply had been received before going to press.

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