East Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assemblyman Roy Beggs MLA has asked the Minister for Infrastructure to outline what proposals he has to introduce 20mph zones at schools during the busy opening and closing times to reduce the risk of accidents and has welcomed the news that Model PS, Carrickfergus is to receive funding to trial a traffic management scheme incorporating a part time reduction in speed limits to 20mph.
Roy Beggs MLA, who is a member of Carrickfergus Road Safety Committee said, “Given the volume of traffic on the busy four lane A2 road, and the risks to children attending the Model Primary School in Carrickfergus, I particularly welcome the news that a traffic management scheme, incorporating a part time reduction in speed limits to 20mph, is to be trailed locally. Such a speed reduction has been shown to reduce the risks of an accident during school opening and closing times”.
The Ulster Unionist MLA, through a written question asked “the Minister for Infrastructure to outline his plans to implement temporary 20mph zones at schools during peak travel times in the morning and afternoon?”.
The Infrastructure Minister responded saying “Following the successful piloting of part-time limits at three primary schools, further schemes have been installed, or are in the process of installation, at four more schools. My Department has a statutory duty to promote road safety and, within the context of the Northern Ireland Road Safety Strategy, does this through a range of rolling road safety educational activities, engineering and other initiatives. Children and young people are amongst the most vulnerable groups using our roads and I am committed to ensuring that they use our roads safely, both in the school vicinity and the wider community.
I am therefore keen to roll out this important safety measure to other schools, especially those located on roads where the national speed limit applies. However, with installation costs currently in the region of £50,000 per school, these systems are expensive to provide and maintain. My officials are currently investigating an alternative and more cost effective method to provide part time enforceable 20mph speed limits at schools which would have the potential to allow more schools to be treated, subject to available funding in the current challenging financial position.”
A Transport NI official advised that “The scheme consists of near-side electronic 20mph signs that will illuminate on a part time basis and are enforceable by the PSNI. They have been proven as an effective method of speed reduction at other locations and this scheme will reduce traffic speeds in the vicinity of the school where vulnerable road users, such as children, regularly cross the road. The scheme has the full support of Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, the Model Primary School and the PSNI.”