16 May 2018
The absence of a school crossing patroller on a busy Inverness road has strengthened a residents’ campaign to have a permanent pedestrian crossing, according to a Highland MSP.
Labour’s David Stewart, who represents the Highlands and Islands, was contacted this week by a parent complaining that there was no ‘lollipop’ person on duty on Monday morning, at the Tomnahurich Street/Planefield Road junction, near Central Primary.
The school gave parents advance warning of the problem last week and the constituent has heard back from Highland Council which admitted that it did not have staff to cover such duties and on occasions it proved difficult to make alternative arrangements.
However, the local authority did say it would look into deployment of staff in such circumstances and discuss the situation with the school.
Residents have an on-going campaign, backed by Mr Stewart, to see a controlled crossing on nearby Glenurquhart Road, and there are also pleas for a crossing at the Tomnahurich Street/Planefield Road junction just for the school.
“I can understand parents’ concerns that there is a problem replacing such absences,” explained Mr Stewart.
“In every job there are times when staff need time off, for whatever reason, and no-one can blame the crossing patroller.
“However, it is very worrying that there appears to be no contingency plans for a job which does cover road safety for primary school children and parents on what is a busy trunk road.”
The MSP is now writing to the council to ask if it can provide assurances that there will be cover in the future and he is suggesting that it highlights the need for a permanent controlled crossing along the stretch of road.
As Transport Scotland is responsible for the road, Mr Stewart will also contact the agency to point out the issue.
Previously, Mr Stewart met and supported campaigners pushing for a crossing on Glenurquhart Road and has also received emails from other residents backing the proposal.
He has written to the Transport Minister and Transport Scotland’s Chief Executive, also meeting officials from Transport Scotland’s Strategic Road Safety Team.
Although the meeting was positive, and other measures were suggested for improving road safety, officials reiterated that they did not see a controlled crossing, such as a pelican crossing, as an option.
“Residents have told me they don’t want to give up the campaign and I am happy to go on supporting them. Road safety shouldn’t be all about reacting after there’s been serious accidents on a stretch of road, it’s also about preventing accidents and making pedestrians feel safer.
“Despite the new west link road, this stretch remains a busy one which is difficult to cross at peak times.”