Donegal County Council is being urged to intensify its public consultation on new Zebra Crossings without beacons which are being piloted in the Twin Towns as part of a national Department of Transport & NTA initiative.
The issue was raised at this week’s council meeting by Cllr Patrick McGowan, who told members that the strength of feeling on the issue has been evident in local conversations, and also on social media posts and the number of comments made on Highland Radio.
He said there is particular concern at the fact that there is no signage informing drivers and pedestrians of the new layout, and he believes that to be part of the experiment, as there are signs elsewhere.
It’s an experiment which Cllr McGowan says could have gone very wrong………….
Donegal County Council is participating in a TII led pilot project trialing an alternative to the traditional
zebra crossings with yellow flashing beacons. Three locations have been selected around the country
with Ballybofey and Stranorlar the location selected in Donegal. Legislation was enacted that introduced
a new class of zebra crossings without flashing beacons. This new class of zebra crossing may be
installed with or without a sign facing oncoming traffic. Commercial and recreational developments in
the Twin towns are generally concentrated along both sides of the main streets of Ballybofey and
Stranorlar, comprising the N15 National Primary Road. Combined these main streets stretch over 1.2km
from the junction with Glenfinn Street in the west to McClay’s Corner in the east. There are 3 controlled
pedestrian crossings at various points along this 1.2kms of streetscape. There are, however, multiple
other locations along this 1.2kms that pedestrians have been recorded as crossing. As part of the pilot
project TII selected 4 locations over this 1.2km length to trial the new class of zebra crossing with the
aim of better highlighting locations to both pedestrians and motorists were crossing movements may
occur. The selected locations have dropped kerbs, tactile paving and the footpaths are built out to the
road edge in order to improve vision lines for road users (pedestrians and motorists) in addition to the
zebra markings. The new legislation conferred the same rights and responsibilities on road users in
relation to these new class of crossing as were in place on the traditional zebra crossing. Therefore, the
rules of the road in relation to these crossings are as follows; Motorists must stop to let a pedestrian
cross. As they approach the crossing, they should slow down and be prepared to stop. They must stop
behind the stop line if there is one and must not enter any part of the crossing. Pedestrians do not have
the right-of-way over other traffic until they actually step onto the crossing. A pedestrian must never
step onto the crossing if this would cause a driver to brake or swerve suddenly. A pedestrian must not
cross within 15 metres of the crossing and must always watch carefully for approaching traffic. A
pedestrian must place one foot on the crossing to indicate that they wish to cross and then wait until
traffic has stopped before starting to cross. A public consultation is ongoing in relation to this pilot
project and DCC issued press releases in this regard in June 2022 and January 2023 to raise awareness
of the crossings. Observations on the crossings in the Twin Towns are welcomed and can be submitted
to firstname.lastname@example.org quoting Ballybofey/Stranorlar Pedestrian Crossings. Local representatives have been
providing feedback to the Council over the course of the pilot project. There was alson significant media
and social media commentary on these crossings following the recent awareness campaign and DCC has
received some submissions directly on this matter also. DCC is currently collating all local media, local
social media, direct correspondence and representations on this matter and will be submitting same with
the observations of our relevant staff to TII in the coming weeks so that same will be considered by
them with a view to determining changes to the pilot.