By Steve Malone
INDEPENDENT Councillor and independent by nature, Mark Gibbons has felt forced to take direct action to the lack of traffic calming measures in his area – with a little help from his daughter Sophie.
Councillor Gibbons said that the procedures to solve traffic issues in the Warrenpoint, Rostrevor, Burren and Hilltown area were too long-winded and with children playing in estates he isn’t prepared to wait until something tragic happens.
As a result, he and his daughter Sophie have erected signs indicating to drivers to slow down.
“It just seems to be when it comes to DFI, comes to Road Service, it takes so long to get things done,” Mr Gibbons said.
“It literally takes years from starting with a problem all the way to a solution. I am making representation all around the district when it comes to traffic calming measures and every councillor is the same, but at the meantime something has to be done, especially when it comes to our housing estates, because of the speed of traffic these days.
“So, I purchased the signs myself and they are nothing great, they are small wee signs that fit well in housing estate and can be seen perfectly well and that is it and if anybody is looking for me to put up a sign for them then I will do it for them no problem.”
The south Down councillor pointed to the Newtown Road in Rostrevor and Milltown Street in Burren as particular areas of concern and said he has been in contact with Department for Infrastructure and Roads Services.
“When it comes to DFI, SDLP’s Nichola Mallon is the Minister, it seems in around this area, and I know I am only new to becoming a councillor, I can see that there is very little if any traffic calming measures in and around the south Down area compared to other places,” Mr Gibbons said.
“I am constantly lobbying and trying to contact her department to try and get results.
“It is a constant battle trying to get a response or get a solution and if a solution is found you are then put on a waiting list and could wait six months to a year to transpire. So, in the meantime is what I am doing to try and help the people in my area.”
And what about young Sophie?
“Sophie is great and keeping me on your toes, when you come a parent it heightens the need for road safety for children in the area, it is not good enough and Sophie gives me a hand and is just brilliant.”