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Parents Slam School Walking Routes
South Lanarkshire Council have been accused of forcing children to walk unsafe routes to school to avoid providing them with free transport. Lindsayfield parents claimed this week the local authority have ignored an underpass in order to cut the distance children have to walk to school. Karen Brolly is furious her two daughters are expected to negotiate two lanes of traffic on Greenhills Road instead of using a safe underpass – a route which rules them out for free school transport to St Andrew’s and St Bride’s High .
She said: “It’s ridiculous. Before Christmas my children were entitled to a high school bus.
“Now the council are expecting children to walk three miles and cross a busy road that is soon to be a dual carriageway.
“Some children living in Lindsayfield are being forced to walk in areas where there isn’t even a pavement, just grass verges.”
Dad Brian Gilbride described the council’s decision as “scandalous”, saying: “They are making cuts at the expense of our children’s safety.
“It’s absolutely disgraceful they are asking kids to walk over an hour in wintry weather, day and night, in areas where there are no crossings and no pathways.
“It’s just a matter of time before there is an accident.”
East Kilbride West Councillor David Watson said he was appalled that the council’s school transport policy is putting the safety of young people in danger.
He said: “South Lanarkshire Council has chosen to ignore a nearby underpass, forcing school children along an unlit old road with bushes and trees overgrown on all sides.
“The council say street lighting is not a consideration and that children should be able to cross the road with a responsible adult.
“From Greenhills to Eaglesham Road there are a number of safe crossings: a bridge, an underpass and two puffin crossings. These crossings are there for a reason and yet when it suits SLC they are saying that children should ignore the safe crossings and use the shortest route. What kind of road safety message is that?
“This decision makes a mockery of the council’s road safety message to children in our schools.”
Fellow EK West councillor Graham Simpson, chair of the South Lanarkshire Road Safety Forum, has also been pushing for changes.
He said: “The council has been using quite old guidelines produced by the West of Scotland Road Safety Forum, which deals solely with road safety.
“The routes being put forward are clearly safe from traffic but they are not necessarily safe from a personal point of view. New guidelines are about to be produced to see if personal safety should be a factor. I also intend to put it on the agenda for the next meeting of the South Lanarkshire Road Safety Forum.”
Gordon Mackay, head of roads and transportation, said: “As part of the council’s established assessment process the shortest walking route, which did not include the underpass, was identified and subsequently assessed, in terms of road safety.
“The route takes children across Greenhills Road at a point of clear visibility of traffic travelling from both directions. Adequate opportunities for pedestrians to cross the road are considered to be available at this point, with suitable gaps in traffic noted.
“An assessment has been undertaken of accident records maintained by Police Scotland for Greenhills Road in the vicinity of this crossing and this does not indicate any areas of concern.”