RESIDENTS on the Langley estate in Ballynahinch are concerned at boy racers taking over their streets mainly in the evenings and causing a serious threat to young children playing in the area.
The issue has been on-going for some time and raised its head at an inter-agency meeting recently with the newly formed Langley Community Group who say they will pull out all the stops to make their estate a safe place for children. The Group were concerned that the DRD did not recognize the estate’s traffic safety needs as urgent and thought they were not high up the pecking order to warrant traffic calming measures on the estate’s roads.
Strangford MP Jim Shannon who attended the residents protest at the entrance to the Langley estate said, “It is very important for the residents of the estate to act on the safety issues surrounding traffic. There are a large number of children vulnerable on this big estate and therefore it is paramount that the DRD takes responsibility here and delivers for the residents’ concerns.
“Some vehicles are traveling at considerable speeds in the evenings and this is a clear danger to children playing. Also, this support by the residents today is a clear illustration that the residents have had enough and want action from the DRD, NIHE and PSNI. I understand the PSNI have already expressed their support for improved traffic measures.
“We need a safety management traffic scheme introduced on this estate as a matter of urgency.”
Local DUP councilor Garth Craig also commented saying, “Regarding traffic calming measures, I am surprised that the Langley Road estate was not near the top of DRD’s priority list. Something needs to be done urgently to reduce the general speed of traffic, otherwise a serious accident may result.
“Local residents have informed me that accidents involving children had already occurred in the estate, and that it is providential that no children or elderly people in particular have been seriously hurt to date.
“I look forward to a meeting with DRD in the near future to discuss this important issue.”
Local Langley estate residents were also vocal in their demands fo action for improved road safety. A local mother Joanne Hall whose son had been injured in a traffic accident while playing three years ago said, “I just dred when my children go out in the street. All parents feel the same. I don’t want any parent going through the agony I went through even though it was not a serious injury… but it could have been a lot worse, and even fatal. My son was lucky he was not killed. We don’t want this to happen to anyone so we need road safety measures as soon as possible.”
And another mother Tara Foster with three children (4, 3 and five months) added, “I live on the main road in the Langley estate and it is a constant worry when the children are out playing. You really have to be alert all the time to make sure they are not on the road.”
Andrew Steenson, chairman of the newly formed Langley Community Group who organized the protest said, “Basically it is young drivers who are speeding around the estate in the evenings as soon as they get home from work. At times it is like a rally course.
“We have organized this petition and protest in support of the local residents who fear for a serious accident and the loss of a life. There is a lot of support for this. Already we have gather well over 200 signatures for the residents’ petition. We must get this stopped before it is too late and there is an accident. We need all the agencies aboard to help us out on this. Traffic calming is probably the only main and quick solution.”