Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Hawkhill : primary school crossing concerns

As reported in the Courier over the weekend, I have expressed concern about the safety of Blackness Primary School pupils crossing the extremely busy Hawkhill by-pass, where there is currently no school crossing patroller.

Parents have expressed concern to me that, with the schools coming back after the autumn holiday earlier this week, there is still no replacement crossing patroller at this extremely busy road. Hawkhill is a main route into the City Centre, is a busy bus route and many heavy goods vehicles use the road. Furthermore the crossing is adjacent to the corner with Peddie Street, a very busy road junction.

I contacted the City Council Education Department during the school holidays about the lack of a patroller and was advised by the department that :

“ … the individual who had been manning this crossing moved out of the Dundee area just after the school returned from the Summer holidays. A replacement was found from our temporary supply pool. However again this individual was able to secure full-time employment and withdrew their availability to man the crossing.”

I responded to the Council in the following terms :

“I must say I am most concerned about the situation at Hawkhill. There is heavy footfall of children here and the younger ones in particular cannot be expected to negotiate the pelican crossing without a patroller. Hawkhill is extremely busy and a bus route; the crossing is adjacent to the very busy junction with Peddie Street.

I view this as a priority for a patroller facility given the high volume of vehicles and use of the road by many buses and HGVs, given that Hawkhill is a main thoroughfare into the City Centre.

I'd be grateful if every effort can be made to get a replacement as soon as possible.”

I have taken the matter to the Director of Education and have also asked questions about the efforts to recruit new school crossing patrollers. It is totally unacceptable that the school returned without a patroller being in place at such a busy crossing. Late today, my office at the City Council received assurances from the Education Department that the Director would be further briefed on my concerns first thing tomorrow.