Sinn Fein Mid Ulster MLA Emma Sheerin at the newly installed pedestrian controlled crossing in Straw.
A PEDESTRIAN controlled crossing close to two schools in Straw has been installed after representations to road chiefs from a Mid Ulster MLA.
Sinn Féin's Emma Sheerin has thanked the Department for Infrastructure(DfI) for the installation of the much needed crossing which will serve both Gaelscoil na Sperini and St Columba's Primary School.
It follows a huge number of requests from local residents, parents and staff over rising safety concerns.
Speaking on the issue, the Assembly woman thanked the local roads team for their willingness to find a solution, and referred to the long history of incidents at the site.
She said: “I myself was a pupil of St Columba's Primary, and crossing the road to the car park which facilitates both the school and the church was a dangerous activity even back then.
“As the years have went on, and we've seen an increase in local traffic, particularly huge lorries going to and from the nearby quarry pit on the Lough Fea Road, the increase in danger has been similar.
“The school building which once housed St Columba's and is now the site of the growing Gaelscoil Na Speirini serves more than just 9-3 school activities.
“There are a range of other pursuits happening here every week, from Mother and Toddler groups to Irish Language classes, and this means that there is a steady flow of pedestrian traffic across this busy thoroughfare.
“Given the sprawling nature of Straw, and the number of developments and businesses in close proximity, it is only sensible that there is a controlled crossing here to allow children and adults alike to get to their destination in a safe manner.”
The MLA added: “Health and wellbeing, and encouraging people to use local walking routes, is something we want to see more of in our rural areas.
“It is pertinent then, that we see progress from departments on road safety, to allow people to get out and about.
“When we first requested this crossing, I also spoke to the local Roads Department about a number of street lighting gaps, particularly on the main road from Straw to Draperstown.
“I have been told in no uncertain terms that this does not meet the criteria, as there is not enough concentration of residential homes along the roadside, but I am adamant that there would be merit in lighting this route and allowing better access for pedestrians in the evenings.I will be raising this issue again.
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