Some of the attendance at last night's Sallins meeting
More street demonstrations are to take place by residents in Sallins and Kill angry over the dangers posed by traffic travelling through both towns.
At a public meeting in Sallins last night residents of the town were urged to march on Kildare County Council’s offices in a bid to get traffic calming measures provided by the council.
There was also a call to stage demonstrations with the aim of slowing down heavy lorries travelling to and from the Sallins bypass construction site.
Residents also called for a more visible presence by the gardai, especially in Sallins.
The meeting, called and chaired by resident and Fianna Fail TD James Lawless, was attended by three gardai, who said more attention would be given to the problems in Sallins.
The meeting was attended by the mother of Dane Loakman, whose death almost a year ago sparked called for traffic calming measures.
On November 2, a 51 year old local woman was hospitalised with serious injuries having been struck by a car at the Naas end of the town. A family representative said that while the family wanted traffic calming measures they bore no ill will whatsoever towards the driver of the car, acknowledging that everybody makes mistakes. He said the family wished to thank the community their support.
Dep. Lawless said that there are high traffic volumes coming through Sallins and sometimes at high speeds. He added that while the by-pass will be a positive development “there is no guarantee this will solve the speeding problems” because drivers will then have “a clear run.”
The meeting heard that apart from two fatalities and the most recent accident, there have been many documented and undocumented near misses and the attendance signed a petition demanding road safety and traffic calming measures. Sgt. Michael Keevans said that a pedestrian crossing with ramps is needed and he urged the community to “shout loud" for these.
He also said that authorities had decided to take away the garda speed van a year ago. This means that speeding is monitored by GoSafe vans and while the gardai can make recommendations about where these should operate, this a matter for the company.
(There was criticism that the GoSafe van is deployed at St. Brigid's Terrace rather than Castlefen).
Sgt. Keevans said the gardai have to police 3,500 kms of road in Co. Kildare. He said a pedestrian crossing should have been provided many years ago in Sallins.
Diana Maynard, who was involved in the initiating the Kill protests said these would continue to take place to slow down traffic every Friday.
“These have held up traffic and upset a lot of people but we did nothing wrong and we’ll continue,” she said.
Cllr. Carmel Kelly said Sallins is not on Kildare County Council's priority list for traffic calming. She said KCC had costed flashing lights at the entrance to the village at €6,000. She said speed limit signs at the entrance should be replaced with signs reading “Slow Entering Village”.
Bill Clear of Naas Access Group, which campaigns for better awareness for disabled people and the elderly, said KCC’s focus is to “keep the traffic moving and this means traffic goes faster.” He said that the roads are too wide and the footpaths too narrow, adding that residents should march on the council offices.
Sallins Community Council chair Fergus Carpenter said its road safety group has met six times since February as well as with KCC, which acknowledges the dangers but has insufficient money or staff. He said KCC estimated the total cost of a comprehensive safety plan for Sallins at €4-5m. He also said he did not expect the council to provide a pedestrian crossing at Castlefen. “Money needs to be found for road safety in Sallins and it’s about the councillors,” he said.