New 20mph zones at some Co Armagh and Co Down schools

News that there will be a new 20mph zone outside three schools in Portadown and one in Banbridge has been welcomed.

Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 4:59 pm

The zones have been introduced by the Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon to Clounagh Junior High School, Seagoe PS, St John the Baptist College (all Portadown) and St Patrick’s College, Banbridge.

Mrs Mallon’s party colleague SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly welcomed the move which includes 106 schools across NI.

Mrs Kelly said it move would make things safer for parents, children and staff as they travel to and from school, alongside drivers and pedestrians.

Seagoe Primary School in Portadown. Photo courtesy of Google.

She said: “This announcement comes after the SDLP Minister delivered schemes in the first tranche for schools taking the total to 209 schools across the North benefiting from SDLP investment and leadership.

“This is fantastic for the local community. This will be welcomed by children, parents and school staff across the North.

“The SDLP has made road safety a top priority and our Minister Nichola Mallon is getting the job done. Making sure that over 200 schools will benefit across the North, helping keep our children safe.

“I’m delighted that the SDLP’s investment and leadership in government is making a real difference to people’s lives. Parents, children, school staff and indeed all road users in Upper Bann will be looking forward to seeing these new lights and signs erected outside our schools soon.”

St John the Baptist College, Portadown. Photo courtesy of Google.

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart has said the installation of new 20mph zones outside some local schools will help improve safety but stressed the importance of policing the new speed restrictions for enforcement purposes.

Carla Lockhart said: “For some time, my DUP colleagues and I have been pressing the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) to improve safety at a number of local schools where parents and school principals have raised concerns about road safety.

“It is very welcome that the Department recognise these concerns and will now be rolling out part-time 20mph zones at Clounagh Junior High School, Seagoe Primary School and St John the Baptist’s College (Portadown). I know parents, staff and the local community connected to each school will very much welcome this.

“I was pleased to learn that the infrastructure for this will be in place in the next couple of months.

Clounagh Junior High School, Portadown. Photo courtesy of Google.

“However, key now is for the PSNI to enforce these speed limits with road safety operations in these areas. Sadly, we see that 30mph limits are ignored in areas right across our community by a minority of motorists who show no regard for the safety of other road users. We need the PSNI to be visible when these zones go active and make sure they are adhered to.

“Furthermore, I continue to engage with the Department in relation to other schools where similar road safety concerns exist. This is a good start, but more needs done.”

DUP Cllr Gareth Wilson welcomed the inclusion of Tandragee Primary School into the 20mph speed limits at schools scheme.

He said: “This is very welcome news for Tandragee Primary School and I have been lobbied extensively in recent times about issues with drivers jumping red lights on the Portadown Road close to the school gates. Awareness, of course, is key in making drivers slow down and pay attention to the surroundings and where a school is involved and scores of children entering and exiting, this couldn’t be more important.”

“I welcome this announcement and it means the town will now be served by two temporary 20mph limits at the main schools which will no doubt create that extra level of awareness and hopefully make drivers take heed with less speed. There are of course more schools that could benefit from these installations and hopefully further rounds will be forthcoming in the future.”

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