Road safety and the new primary school

Junction of Queen Margaret Drive and Hotspur Street

Queen Margaret Drive at the junction with Hotspur Street. Belhaven Nursery School is just out of shot on the right and the trees on the left are at the edge of the Happy Park.

We welcome the arrival of North Kelvinside Primary School on Queen Margaret Drive, but – apart from the new traffic signal opposite the entrance – we are alarmed at the lack of additional road safety measures.

From the original plans drawn up for QMD improvements we had expected that traffic signals would be installed at the junction with Hotspur Street, and this would have acted as a safe crossing point linking Belhaven Nursery School and the very popular Happy Park on the west side. The nearest safe crossing is up the hill opposite the primary school entrance.

  • QMD at this point is a wide and often extremely busy road, with a bus lane and 30mph limit that reckless drivers ignore.
  • The bus gate on Hotspur Street is also regularly ignored, and this will be a key walking route to the school.
  • We believe more traffic-signals and a 20mph limit could make a huge difference to the safety of vulnerable road users.
  • We are concerned that it may be years before further traffic-calming measures are completed.

In the light of the new school opening, we wrote to Glasgow City Council and the police to express our concerns about road safety.

Our questions for the Council

Our letter of 30 April 2022:

NKCC have long been supportive of the new school and look forward to it opening in early May.

However, we have also shared our concerns on a number of occasions with the council around several issues related to roads and traffic in the area – specifically related to the new school.

Firstly, the speed of cars down Queen Margaret Drive at the school and where it passes Hotspur Street is very fast and is a tragic accident waiting to happen. Queen Margaret Drive at Hotspur Street / Kelvinside Avenue is of particular concern to us with the high number of people and children crossing for the Happy Park and Belhaven Nursery and now the addition of the new primary school. Our understanding of the original drawings / plans for the new school had a traffic light junction at Hotspur Street / Kelvinside Avenue (in addition to the crossing at the school main entrance). We believe this is essential and should be expedited.

A 20mph zone down Queen Margaret Drive is also essential. Given that these 20mph zones already exist for other schools and that there is a city wide 20mph policy is planned at some point in the future, we would like to see this brought forward urgently for Queen Margaret Drive with the opening of the new school. Saying this will happen in due course and there is no date for this to commence is not acceptable to the local community.

In addition, we would like to know why the RPZ is not extended to Kelvinside Avenue – we see this being increasingly used as a drop off point for the new school. This will add further congestion to the area and add to our concerns about traffic on Queen Margaret Drive at this junction.

Finally, we were wondering what the progress has been made for the proposed “walking buses” for the children attending the new school. We would be highly supportive of these initiatives, and the community police attending the NKCC April meeting offered that police could provide support for such initiatives.

Council response

Andrew Mollon, Head of Roads, told us on 4 May that funding has not been secured for signals at the junction of QMD, Hotspur Street and Kelvinside Avenue. This is most disappointing. He continued:

Any pupils and parents wishing to cross QMD to access the new school will be able to use the new signal controlled crossing directly in front of the pedestrian entrance to the school. [This] will also have an effect on vehicles’ speeds, particularly during busy periods when the signals are activated to allow pedestrians to cross and therefore stop all traffic on QMD.

Despite the additional road safety concerns created by the new school, there are no plans to introduce an individual 20mph restriction to accommodate the school. As noted, there is a policy for implementing city-wide 20mph restrictions in Glasgow, and Queen Margaret Drive and the surrounding roads will be considered for inclusion within the city-wide 20mph scheme.

We were assured that Kelvinside Avenue is included within the restricted parking control scheme being introduced in the area.

We understand from Douglas Hutchison, Executive Director of Education, that someone will be in touch with us directly about the walking buses.

Correspondence with the police

Our letter of 4 May:

At our May meeting, the council expressed major concerns about the speed of traffic down Queen Margaret Drive in front of the new school, North Kelvinside Primary School, which opens this week.

We are also aware of ongoing breaches of the bus gate on Hotspur Street, which we also are concerned will increase as the new school opens and this route is used at the drop off and pick up time for the new school.

In addition, we are keen to encourage and support the new school in their plans to develop walking buses for the school children and again would appreciate the school’s support with this. We would appreciate if the community police could reach out to the headteacher of North Kelvinside Primary School in this regard – to help develop and support this initiative.

We would be happy to discuss these issues further.

Police response

The police will be making contact with the new head teacher in due course, once she has had the chance to assess how she wishes the school to operate. The local community officers have already been in attendance in the school’s first weeks of operation:

Public safety, especially that of children, is paramount and therefore we are very keen to be involved in any walking routes etc – we will help in any way we can.

In relation to traffic concerns, [we have] already undertaken some traffic monitoring at the locations you provide and we will continue to do so.

Next steps

We intend to pursue this matter further. In the short term we hope to meet with the head teacher and we will continue to update the police at our monthly meetings.

If you have ideas about road safety or would like to support our campaign to make Queen Margaret Drive and surrounding streets safer, be sure to follow us on social media or come to our meetings. Sign up for our newsletter to make sure you have the latest information.

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