Kerr's Terrace protest for traffic calming measures
Local residents and users of Brooke Park are staging a protest at Kerr's Terrace on Creggan Road in the city, calling for traffic calming measures in the neighbourhood.
The protest is taking place at 11 o'clock this morning (Saturday) and has been organised by People Before Profit councillor, Maeve O'Neill.
It follows a successful meeting of community stakeholders, including Rosemount Primary School representatives, in Gwyn's Café in Brooke Park on Tuesday.
Speaking to Derry Now, Cllr O'Neill said today's protest followed her motion to Derry City Council in May regarding concerns local people had raised with her about traffic in the area, poor air quality, and the crossing to Brooke Park.
She added: “Previous reports have shown that this area had a very poor air quality reading for PM 2.5 [Fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) is an air pollutant that is a concern for people's health when levels in air are high.]
“At the time, it was the bottom of Creggan Hill with Marlborough Street, and it had some of the worst readings in the UK for PM 2.5. Children are particularly vulnerable to PM 2.5. We know poor air quality is not good for our lungs.
“Why the area between Marlborough Road and Creggan Hill is so significant is because a lot of children and families, and older people as well use, that crossing to access Brooke Park, and Rosemount Primary School is also nearby.
“Really, the crossing is not a safe way to access Brooke Park because there is a dangerous road and also dangerous levels of air pollution too,” said Cllr O'Neill.
Cllr O'Neill said Rosemount Primary School shared these concerns because pupils and staff often cross Creggan Road going to the park or down to St Eugene's Cathedral.
She said: “In addition, for anybody with a disability, or anyone with a pram, there is no ramp access. There is no drop kerb to get from one side of the street to the other.
“I would cross there often with my niece and nephew. One is in a pram and one is a toddler and you are taking your life in your hands. It is very, very dangerous. Families are attempting that all the time.
“And then, there is the added difficulty around increased traffic accessing the park. It is brilliant to see people using the park but a lot of people use private cars to access it. A lot of people use cars a lot more than Derry was originally designed for and that is the bigger issue.
“In the short-term, our key demands include, a drop kerb and traffic calming measures such as 'Twenty is Plenty', which is in effect around a lot of school but not Rosemount Primary School. Maybe we need to be looking at introducing 'Twenty is Plenty' around parks as well. We also want air quality monitoring and a pedestrian crossing, speed ramps, potentially, and sign posting to alternative parking. These are all very practical short-term things which could be done, without looking at the whole issue of a car-dependent society,” said Cllr O'Neill.
Cllr O'Neill was hopeful Saturday's protest would allow residents to come together to highlight the issues, putting them higher up the agenda for Derry city and Strabane District Council and the Department for Infrastructure.
“Obviously following the motion that was passed, Council has been mandated to look at this issue and bring all of the stakeholders together, including the local community.
“Tuesday was the first time we brought the local community together to start thinking about these issues and to start thinking about potential solutions to the problems,” said Cllr O'Neill.
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