‘Prisoners of school traffic’

John Stewart MLA.
John Stewart MLA.

Residents in the Victoria Rise area of Carrick are effectively prisoners in their own homes twice a day due to traffic congestion at nearby schools, it has been claimed.

And a delay in attempting to resolve the problem is being taken up again with the roads authority.

East Antrim UUP MLA John Stewart stated: “The number one local issue for the residents of Victoria Rise when I canvassed the area in the springtime was traffic congestion in and around Ulidia and Acorn schools at the opening and closing of the school day. After site meetings and correspondence, the Department for Infrastructure’s Roads service came up with a first step proposal to basically extend the waiting restrictions in the streets around the schools.

“Back in March a sketch map was circulated showing the waiting restriction legislation Roads service were hoping to implement. This would ensure that one side of the road is kept obstruction free for residents accessing their homes, as well as parents collecting their children at Ulidia. It was hoped that this proposal would be implemented to be ready at the start of the new school term. However, and frustratingly, we are now at the start of the new school term, and nothing has changed. When I chased this up during the summer, DfI Road officials told my office that it needed legislative approval from a minister at Stormont. It seems that the lack of an Executive at Stormont is being used as an excuse for government inactivity to the ridiculous extent of blocking the extension of double yellow lines.”

Ahead of a further meeting with DfI this week, he added: “The residents of Victoria Rise deserve better; they certainly cannot continue to be effectively prisoners in their own homes twice a day.”

In response, a DfI spokesman said: “Legislation for the provision of waiting restrictions in the vicinity of Ulidia Integrated College, Carrickfergus is currently being processed by the Department. Unfortunately it was not possible to have the restrictions in place for the start of the new school term. The Divisional Roads manager would be happy to meet with the MLA to discuss this matter.”