Edinburgh pupils on the march to urge drivers to slow down

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DOZENS of youngsters staged a demonstration at a busy junction in an appeal for drivers to slow down amid fears for their safety when crossing the road.

The walk was staged by pupils from Craigentinny Primary School after previous efforts from the community to get a lollipop lady proved unsuccessful.

Craigintinny Primary with banners and signs encouraging drivers to slow down, Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Craigintinny Primary with banners and signs encouraging drivers to slow down, Picture: Lisa Ferguson

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Now parents and politicians are hoping to get a zebra or pelican crossing installed near the junction of Craigentinny Road and Avenue to help improved the situation.

Joined by Brake charity mascot Zak the zebra, the children showed off a colourful array of road safety posters to passing motorists in a bid to remind them to slow down while the community waits for a potential crossing.

Among those in attendance was Edinburgh Eastern MSP Ash Denham, who said there had been several reported incidents of motorists driving along the road at double the 20mph limit.

She said: “It’s quite a complicated junction, so we’ve got children who are probably having to cross multiple times in order to get to school.

“This is an attempt to really raise the profile of this issue, to get it on to the radar of the council and see if we can work together to get a solution that’s going to keep these kids safe walking to school.

“But also we need to get the message out to drivers that the reason these streets are 20mph is for a good reason and that reason is that it’s safer for pedestrians if drivers go at slower speeds. We’d like people to observe the speed limit.”

Campaigners said efforts to secure a lollipop patrol proved fruitless after they were told they did not have enough pupils crossing the road to meet the criteria.

But P6 pupil Robyn Devine, 10, told the Evening News that she and her fellow classmates did not feel safe on their trips in and out of school.

She said: “I find it quite worrying because you don’t know if cars are going to come, they are coming all directions but they are going way too fast.

“We just need drivers to slow down a lot because I don’t think they can be bothered to go that speed but it is much safer for the children.”

The concerns were echoed by her father, Liam Devine, who said drivers continued to speed despite Craigentinny Road having been brought under the Capital’s 20mph limit.

Mr Devine, 45, said his daughter crossed the road every day and that it was “intimidating” enough to cross without the added element of drivers going too fast.

He said: “We walk with her just now but maybe next year when she’s in P7 her and her friends are probably going to start walking on their own so obviously it’s a concern and a worry that the drivers are still continuing to speed.

“Every parent is of the same opinion - it’s something that does need to be addressed and it’s wee demonstrations like this that are helping to raise awareness of that.”

The final stage of the Capital’s 20mph rollout is due to be implemented early next year, after which around 80 per cent of streets will fall under the lower limit.

John McLellan, Conservative councillor for Craigentinny/Duddingston, said the school had done a “fantastic job” getting the children involved in highlighting the issue.

He said: “All of the streets around Craigentinny have got issues with rat running. It’s also got some streets that are actually quite wide but they are residential streets and there’s a tendency for drivers to go way too fast along them.

“The more that’s done to highlight the fact this is a prime route for children going to and from school the better.”

A council spokesman said: “This location was examined using national school crossing patrol guidelines to determine if a guide could be justified but it did not meet criteria.

“However, the speed limit at this location was reduced to 20mph earlier this year and the council also intends to investigate other road safety measures at the junction to influence driver behaviour and encourage active travel. The local community, including the primary school, will be consulted during this process.”