Northern Ireland

Moira: Streetlights call for train station 'death trap' road

The Station Road runs between Moira and the A26
Image caption The Station Road runs between Moira and the A26

Lighting is urgently needed on a busy road outside a train station "before someone is seriously hurt", drivers and pedestrians have said.

Station Road, which runs between Moira, County Down, and the A26, is used daily by hundreds of people, including pupils heading to school.

There are no streetlights along most of the road, which users say makes it dangerous.

The Department for Infrastructure said it does not qualify for lighting.

Tim Courtney, who lives near Aghalee and uses Moira station to commute when he is working in Belfast, was clipped by a car on the road earlier in January.

"I was walking to the overflow car park and a driver coming the other way was really close against the curb to avoid oncoming traffic and clipped me with his wing mirror," the management consultant said.

"He was moving over to get out of the way and he just did not see me - it was pitch black and there were cars coming both ways.

"Thankfully, I was just bruised on my wrist."

Image caption Tim Courtney uses Moira station to commute when he is working in Belfast

Mr Courtney said lighting, as well as other improvements such as a proper crossing point in the road and wider pavements, would make a big difference to safety.

"When I stop to think about it, what happened to me need not have happened," he said.

"It is little things that would make a difference - being able to cross the road having enough light to be able to be seen be drivers."

'It's death-trap'

The number of passengers using the station means the car park and overflow car park at the nearby Tannery restaurant are often full by 08:00 GMT, with cars parking in designated spaces along the pavement after that.

Jim Burnside, who also lives near Aghalee, clipped a pedestrian while driving along the road in 2019 when he swerved to miss two other people who ran across the road in front of him.

"There was a lady in dark clothing and I had no idea she was there, I clipped her with my wing mirror," he said.

"It was just by sheer luck I did not hurt her. Can you imagine if I had been two feet more to the left?

"You cannot see anything. In the winter it is a death-trap, we are just waiting for somebody to be killed or very seriously injured."

The Department for Infrastructure did not reply to requests from BBC News NI for comment on the issue.

Alliance Party councillor Owen Gawith said he and others who had raised the issue with the department had received the same response.

"I have raised this more than once with them and they have come back consistently to say the road does not fit their formula for street lighting, which only is put in place if there is a certain amount of housing," he said.

Image caption The Station Road looking towards Moira train station

"They say that because there are only three houses on that whole road, it is therefore a rural road and not a street.

"They take no notice of the fact that it runs to the station."

Pauline Buller of Aghalee Village Hall, who has also written to the Department for Infrastructure about the issue, added: "It is a safety issue - the road is dangerous.

"What people want to see is action to safeguard residents and those who use the station.

"We feel unable to do anything, we have tried and asked and we are not getting anywhere."

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