EAST Clare councillors are at odds over the best method of providing a safe place for children to cross near Tulla National School.
Councillor Joe Cooney has proposed that Clare County Council install a public light outside the entrance of Powerscourt estate and provide a safe place for crossing, with markings and signage.
Speaking at a recent Killaloe Electoral Area meeting, Councillor Cooney said the lack of public lighting outside the entrance to Powerscourt is worrying.
While senior executive engineer Hugh McGrath acknowledged one of the poles does not have a light, he noted funding is not readily available for such works other than under the Community Lighting Scheme.
Mr McGrath pledged to ascertain the cost of addressing public lighting at this location and suggested this issue could be resolved if the community is willing to make a contribution as part of a joint initiative.
Councillor Cooney said there is no particular place for children to cross safely or for people coming from the nearby housing estate.
Councillor Pat Hayes argued this location merits a pedestrian crossing with warning flashing lights, considering the large number of young people already using it.
He asked if funding is available under development contributions. He noted the main difficulty is being experienced by young children going to the national school. There is also traffic dropping off teenagers for the nearby secondary school, as well as other pedestrians coming down from the street and the estate.
Mr McGrath replied he wasn’t aware that there was any special contribution made under the housing estate’s planning conditions for a pedestrian crossing.
He said the council could consider providing an uncontrolled crossing with dished kerbing to make it easier for the visually impaired to cross.
“I can’t see the council getting funding for a pedestrian crossing. As a general guideline, pedestrian crossings aren’t located outside schools. We could look at overall traffic management and an uncontrolled crossing with no regulatory status near the junction,” he said.
While Councillor Cooney said he would love to see a pedestrian crossing at this location, he noted councillors have been seeking one for the new playground for three years, and felt that should be prioritised first.
If funding is unlikely for a pedestrian crossing near Powerscourt, he proposed the council should provide a crossing similar to the one in front of the GAA pitch, which does not have flashing lights, yet is proving to be quite effective.
Mr McGrath stressed if the council had the funding for a pedestrian crossing, it would have to be done properly.
Councillor Hayes said he wasn’t happy with the lack of a definite commitment for a pedestrian crossing or the proposal for a dished kerb and argued the council had a duty of care to provide one after granting planning permission to the nearby housing estate.
It was also suggested that the possibility of securing assistance from a school warden should be examined as part of the council’s overall examination of traffic management in the area.