Parents fear for safety at schoolgates
PARENTS at St Patrick’s Primary are lobbying for a series of traffic-calming measures to be installed on the busy road outside the school.
It is located on Kildonan Street, close to the enlarged Coatbridge High, which opened in October on the site of the former St Patrick’s High, and the soon-to-be-expanded Coatbridge College.
The primary school itself has also seen a recent increase in its nursery provision.
Now parents are worried that the greater volume of traffic as children try to reach their classes could lead to accidents.
A petition containing almost 400 signatures has been submitted to North Lanarkshire Council, and the parent council has also received support from counterparts at other schools and from local politicians.
Vice-chair Kathleen Brennan, who has a daughter in Primary One at the school, said: “It’s pandemonium outside of the school gates at the start and end of the school day.
“There are a lot of issues which we’re really concerned about, including the fact that the lollipop man has been taken away from the crossing on Kildonan Street even though a massive new school has opened.
“It’s a real worry for us that kids walking to school are crossing some really busy streets, but despite the amount of extra traffic, there’s nobody patrolling.
“People also can’t drive up early while it’s still quiet to wait outside the gates because if the engine is left running the police can become involved.
“Walking children to school will be much more attractive with some traffic-calming measures in place at the school.
“One of the things we’d like is a change to the bus routes so that they drive down Muiryhall Street, which is wider and has crossings and lollipop people, instead of Kildonan Street.
“We’re also asking for the reopening of Eglinton Street between the main school entrance and the college, and for it to be made one-way because cars have to drive in and do three-point turns in a narrow street, it’s pretty dangerous.
“There are so many things which could be done, like the reinstatement of a lollipop person and a flashing 20mph speed zone.
“Although the council have agreed to monitor the situation, it’s ridiculous that it’s taken so long and we’re a bit disappointed that nothing’s happened so far.”
Coatbridge and Chryston MSP Elaine Smith has also written a supporting letter requesting a study into the reopening of Eglinton Street by removing the bollards currently closing its junction with Laird Street.
The monitoring period was agreed when the school’s petition and submission were considered by the council’s planning and transportation committee.
Members considered a report noting that Kildonan Street already has safety features including two puffin crossings and a proposed third at the railway station, a 20mph limit when children are going to and from school and feedback signs to alert drivers to their speed.
They were reminded that their colleagues on the environmental services committee had agreed last June to remove lollipop people from sites with controlled crossing facilities; and heard that the Eglinton Street access is beyond their remit as it belongs to Coatbridge College.
Alex Ramsay, the council’s traffic and transportation team leader, said: “As reported to the committee last month, we intend to continue monitoring the situation at St Patrick’s Primary and report back to parents.
“That process has not yet begun because December and January are not particularly representative months in which to carry out traffic surveys.
“However, we will be glad to have an interim meeting with the Parent Council to ascertain if there are any new developments they would like us to consider, and to bring them up to date with our plans for further monitoring.”