Aghalee Speed Indicator Device Consultation REPORT 2021
Aghalee Village Hall was very pleased to hear about the provision in 2020 of an SID in the Village. However, the location chosen for the site of the SID was felt by many to be entirely the wrong place for it, as due to the position of both a sharp bend and the approach to a narrow bridge without pavements, most motorists naturally slow down here. This is reflected in the SID figures report provided by PCSP in October 2021.
We recognise that while the device does educate and remind motorists of their speed, and many will act on this, there will be some who will neither heed nor act on the information given, regardless of their surroundings.
Aghalee is designated a small settlement with a number of housing developments built within the last 30 years, resulting in at least a doubling of the native population. In 1971 the population was 206 persons and in 2001 it was 774 persons. Since 2001 several more housing developments have been built.
Aghalee Village is both a very rural village and a dormitory village serving as a commuter area for both Belfast and Craigavon. It is serviced by a number of roads coming together within the Village centre, all of which are preceded by roads on which cars, vans and other vehicles drive at considerable speed. Only some of these roads have natural barriers to slow vehicles down. Impacting on the road structure in the area is a great deal of normal rural life by way of farming vehicles which have grown exponentially over the years and are now huge in comparison to the road infrastructure, which has not changed very much at all.
Added to this, on one side of the main Lurgan Road just past the junction with Soldierstown Road, are The Wildlife Meadow and Millennium Garden, Aghalee Village Hall, Aghalee GP Surgery, Aghalee Playing Field Facility, a shopping mini complex and Post Office. On the other side of the road, opposite the Wildlife Meadow is The Beeches Facility, which provides a number of services; as a children’s nursery and day-care centre, an outreach centre for those with intellectual disabilities and as a residential home for those with complex needs, along with a Fish & Chip Takeaway. The layout of this area means that many people live on one side of the main road and constantly need to cross back and forth to the other side to access the facilities. There are no pavements in some places and there is no designated crossing place or safe area where one may cross the road.
During the survey, we were contacted by the Beeches Complex who stated they frequently had to place a member of staff in the middle of the Lurgan Road at the Complex to try and stop vehicles which sweep down Ballinderry Road and up into Lurgan Road, while staff are trying to cross the Lurgan Road with residents, many of whom are wheelchair bound.
The main roads through the Village are often used as a ‘thoroughfare’ or ‘rat run’ by vehicles avoiding the more congested major roads. There is also a busy road haulage business which runs 40’ rigs and coaches from a minor ‘B’ road through the Village to get to ‘A’ and ‘M’ roads. Added to this are the number of vehicles per household which has risen from one to several over the pas few years.
There are four roads entering Aghalee, all of which join the main Lurgan Road through the centre of the village. These roads servicing Aghalee Village are:
The Ballinderry Road, coming from Crumlin direction –
this road enters the 30mph zone at the junction with Chapel Road. Due to the topography of this landscape, the road descends from the Chapel Road area down to the dip at Aghalee Building Supplies and rises sharply again, where motorists can turn left into Soldierstown Road and towards Moira, or carry onward into the Village centre. There are no footpaths on this stretch of road. If one is turning left into Soldierstown Road, speed is naturally reduced and this, combined with vehicles often parked at the junction, very effectively reduces the speed of this traffic. However, if one is not turning left but is carrying onward into the village via the Lurgan Road, the momentum and need to ascend the hill, means by the time vehicles reach this point they are often well over the 30 mph limit and continue speeding through the village with the real and obvious result of danger to many people. Those pedestrians from the Beeches facility trying to cross to the pavement regularly have to stand in the middle of the road to try and stop traffic in order that their clients, some in wheelchairs, may cross this road. Further along this road, there are often pedestrians crossing to and from Ballycairn Road housing developments to reach the Village Hall, the GP Surgery, The Pharmacy, Post Office and other shops. Many of these pedestrians are children, parents and guardians with small children, prams and bikes and there are many reports of ‘near misses’ at this location.
Soldierstown Road, coming from Moira direction –
this road enters the 30mph zone at the junction with Rock Lane and eventually meets the Lurgan Road in the centre of the Village. We have had many reports of speeding from Rock Lane junction to the bridge where the SID had been previously located. Several areas of this road have no footpath but there are a number of houses on it, which run past Coronation Gardens all the way to the junction with Lurgan Road. Indeed, PSNI often use the straight stretch of road around here to scan for speeders with a mobile device. New housing close to the junction of Lurgan Road slows vehicles entering Soldierstown Road travelling towards Moira but there is nothing to stop speeders on this road coming from Moira until they reach the bridge and corner, both of which naturally force a slow down.
Aghalee Road coming from Lurgan direction –
this road enters the 30mph zone about 300/400 yards before the former Victoria School and reaches a bridge and corner one after the other on the approach to the shop complex. This is a natural barrier to speeding on this entrance to the village. Determined speeders can gather speed once across the bridge and then sweep into the village from that end, endangering those who walk from Brankinstown Road to access the shops and facilities. The most dangerous places on this road are further through the Village from the shops to The Beeches facility, going towards Crumlin.
Ballycairn Road coming from Gawley’s Gate direction –
The Ballycairn Road is preceded by a long, fast stretch of road, Brankinstown Road, with no pavements in many places. Speeding vehicles are frequently observed travelling too fast for the conditions and only braking sharply at a bend before the Brankinstown Road continues into Ballycairn. The 30 mph zone starts on Brankinstown Road at Rogers Potatoes site. There are many cyclists, walkers and pedestrians who use these two roads.
Conclusion as confirmed by responses to consultation
It is very obvious from the consultation that there is a real requirement in the village for urgent traffic calming. The site we regularly receive most complaints about traffic speeding through is the Lurgan Road area between the junction with Soldierstown Road and the Centra shop, and this is also the area where there is the greatest threat to pedestrians and other vulnerable people and where the most beneficial impact would be felt.
There seem to be three areas considered especially dangerous with speeding vehicles; that on the Soldierstown Road coming from Moira, that on the Ballinderry Road leading directly into the Lurgan Road, between The Beeches facility and the Shops Complex, and that on the Brankinstown/Ballycairn Roads coming from Gawley’s Gate.
Through the consultation, the majority of respondents felt action should be taken on the Ballinderry Road, leading directly into Lurgan Road, capturing vehicles travelling at speed down Ballinderry Road and thereby slowing traffic through the village itself.
Therefore the decision from the consultation is that the SID would be best placed on either Ballinderry Road or just into the Lurgan Road past the junction, to impact the community best and to focus drivers on their speed through the village. Which specific site on this line would be most appropriate would need to be determined by PCSP while taking into consideration SID running requirements, but it is felt that somewhere in the vicinity of the area opposite Graham’s Takeaway might be best.