Auchengray parents call for traffic calming

Auchengray School, with pitch and playpark on main road (Picture Sarah Peters).
Auchengray School, with pitch and playpark on main road (Picture Sarah Peters).

Families in Auchengray want traffic slowed down outside its new school, fearing that if it isn’t, it’s only a matter of time before someone is killed there.

The village school has been rebuilt, allowing older primary-age children to attend, and a new pitch and playpark has been created, enabling more out-of-hours sports activities to be hosted.

Warning, but drivers are on the school before they see it

Warning, but drivers are on the school before they see it

While they are glad of that, the parents are concerned for the safety of both children and older people using the park and sports facilities.

Now they have put together a petition pleading for speed reduction measures.

Talks with South Lanarkshire Council over the last few years have come to nothing.

“The response would indicate that we do not meet the criteria for effective road-calming in Auchengray,” said a parents’ group spokesman.

“In addition, until a fatality or serious injury is caused by a speeding car, then we are not ever likely to achieve this either.”

Villagers want speed bumps, solar speed-alert signage and clearer signs that a school and playground are ahead. The speed limit at the school changes from 60mph to 30mph, followed by a 20mph warning of a school ahead – but parents argue that more is needed.

“If drivers are coming from Carnwath, they are flying round the bend, and they are on the school before they realise they are in a village,” said one of the campaigners, Jennifer Crighton.

And drivers coming through the village see a straight, with a national speed limit sign at the end of it and “they go for it”, she said.

The new school, opened in January, has an all-weather multi-use pitch, as well as a playpark on the road side of the school.

Woolfords, Auchengray and Tarbrax Improvement Foundation is paying for floodlighting, so the pitch can be used in the evenings, but parents fear that use of the park on the dark winter nights increases the risk of accidents.

“Parents have tried for years, fromh generation to generation, to get the council to address the speeding issue,” said Jennifer.

“Auchengray village is in dire need of speed safety measures, and the villagers would like to see this happen before there is a fatality,” she saids.

Auchengray’s school, a church community centre and a public play park are all on the same side of the road, used as a busy route to Livingston, with the only pavement on the other side, and other hamlets without a school or church, such as Kilncadzow and Woolfords, had speed measures in place, she said.

The campaigners favour solar signs informing drivers of their speed in advance of the school gates to speed bumps forcing drivers to slow down.

Their petition to the council states: “We plead with you, to put in real, effective, safety features, such as speed bumps and solar speed-warning signs, before someone is hurt or a fatality occurs.”

The council’s head of roads, Gordon MacKay, told the Gazette: “The council must prioritise this sort of work to locations where the need is greatest, and a review of accident data recorded by Police Scotland indicates that, over the last 10 years, there have been no injury accidents within the village, meaning that the criteria controlling the council’s ability to install speed humps is not met.”

Some of the issues had been considered when the school was being designed, but the council would look at all the points raised when it received the petition.

Find the petition on line at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/en-gb/388/469/849/make-auchengray-roads-safer/

Paper copies of the petition can be signed in Tarbrax and Auchengray halls.