School safety measures causing “untold inconvenience” to motorists, councillors claim

A road safety measure outside a Dublin school is claimed by a councillor to be causing “untold inconvenience” to motorists.

Access to the left-hand slip turn on Zion Road onto Orwell Road outside a secondary and primary school, Stratford College, was removed as a safety measure. Motorists can still turn left; they just have to wait at the traffic lights.

As this website has covered many times before, the Design Manual for Roads and Streets (DMURS), which councils must follow, outlines that slip lanes should generally be omitted from streets and roads.

The manual outlines how the design is part of a system that prioritises cars. “Designers must take a more balanced approach”, the manual states, adding that left slip turns “allows vehicles to take corners at higher speeds, exposing pedestrians and cyclists to greater danger.”

Slip-turn designs are known to amplify the effects of collisions caused by motorists ‘failing to look’ or ‘failing to see’.

But at the councillor’s last local area meeting before the local elections on Monday, Cllr Anne Feeney (Fine Gael) and Cllr Deirdre Conroy ( Fianna Fáil) had motions against the basic safety measures.

There was a public consultation, and some submissions disagreed with the closure of the slip turn. However, council officials said it is a safety measure to slow cars and help children cross. Some respondents claimed children didn’t even cross there, and another suggested that the slip turn remain open to motorists with a school warden positioned at the location.

Cllr Anne Feeney (Fine Gael) said: “We’ve had many complaints from local people… in relation to the bollards being put up on the slip road on Zion Road. This is outside Stratford College and part of the Safe Routes to Schools Programme — which I would be fully supportive of in terms of the safety of school children etc, there were a number of people bollards put on the pavement, and I’m absolutely supportive of them.”

“However, there’s three bollards put up in the left-hand slip road from Zion Road down towards Rathgar Village, and this is causing untold inconvenience and untold traffic backing up Zion Road, Bushy Park, etc, including the 15b bus, which is delayed now,” she said.

IMAGE: A drawing of the front-of-school design, including the closing of the slip turn.

She said that it is causing “massive congestion” and is an example of the lack of localised consultation, which councillors at the same meeting separately called for in terms of the BusConnects routes in the area.

Cllr Deirdre Conroy (Fianna Fáil) said she has also had many complaints. She said the colour of the bollards was not in keeping with the “heritage area” with “protected structures” along the road.

She asked: “Can we have it [the bollards closing the slip turn] reviewed and something separate, safe for the school.”

Cllr Carolyn Moore (Green Party) said that there should be more clarity around why measures are being implemented. She pointed to one official reason, which stated that it was to allow children to cross safely from the traffic island to their school, and another, which stated that it was to slow motorists down.

Colm Ennis, a senior executive engineer, said that the changes — implemented by the council’s school zone team — have only been in place for a few weeks, and such measures usually take months to be fully monitored.

He said: “As far as I’m aware, the main reason it was put in was school safety, to improve the safety of the kids coming in and out of the school. It may have been stated as well that it will also improve the speeds as well. But the main thrust of it was for school safety.”

Ennis said that the council are in contact with Dublin Bus and has made adjustments to traffic light times to allow buses to make the left turn at the traffic lights.

3 comments

  1. Only issue I can see there is the danger to cyclists and pedestrians from the bus taking a wider left turn if any cars encroach on the box .

    Reply
  2. “not in keeping with the “heritage area” with “protected structures” along the road.”
    The traffic lights and cars are grand though are they? Or should we replace them with carriages and a signalman?

    Reply
    • And the giant yellow boxes are an essential part of the character of a heritage village don’t ya know.

      What bugs me about councilors making these observations is that they listen to the moaners who are “inconvenienced” at rush-hour (ironic term if there ever was!) yet never ever think about the consequences of the road design for the other 22 hours of the day and how those little conveniences that may save a driver 30 seconds are impacting the safety people walking and cycling.

      Convenience trumps safety it seems.

      Taking driver convenience to a logical step would be to put up metal railings along all edges of road junctions, in general, and remove pedestrian traffic lights from the junctions. To only allow people walking to use either underpasses or bridges to transit the roads.

      Councilors have to accept that DMURS and national design standards are appropriate and support road safety, or suffer the consequences of continuing escalating road death statistics.

      Reply

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