Need to park speed indicator and place it in correct location

SIR, — The provision of a new electronic speed indicator sign at the Strangford Road in Downpatrick is welcome, but I would suggest that those who erected it are guilty of a blatantly obvious mistake.

The device, designed to make drivers aware of their speed and to slow down, is one of seven which have been installed across the Newry, Mourne and Down Council area.

As a Strangford Road resident, I welcome the provision of the new sign but, in my opinion and that of some of my neighbours, the Policing and Community Safety Partnership and the Department for Infrastructure have made a huge error — the new speed indicator is simply in the wrong place.

The most obvious and glaring problem with the sign is that it has been placed just a few hundred yards from a 30mph zone close to the town’s war memorial.

Effectively, the speed restriction sign is policing a small section of road limited to 40mph where there are literally just a handful of homes.

Further back along the Strangford Road, there are several major housing developments, many where young families live. There is also a busy local authority garage and depot and a private care home.

While this section of road is governed by a 40mph limit few, if any, drivers adhere to it. In fact, the speed of the overwhelming majority of cars travelling along the road from the Strangford direction is frightening most times.

PSNI traffic officers are periodically deployed to this location with their speed guns and catch their fare share of drivers breaking the speed limit. If the new speed indicator sign is to be effective, it needs to be relocated, in my opinion.

I am really surprised that the Downpatrick councillors who are members of the Policing and Community Safety Partnership allowed the sign to be erected in its current position. It also seems clear that residents were not consulted about the location of the sign. Why not?

While roads officials may suggest that they are the experts when it comes to such matters, I hope that the elected representatives who read this letter will act upon the concerns of those of us who place them in office. 

The speed indicator sign needs to be moved and sometimes in life it is better to hold your hands up and and admit you got it wrong.

No one will be piling in on top of policing and community safety and roads officials to say ‘we told you so’ if they agree they got it wrong with the location. There would simply be an acknowledgement that everyone is now on the same page.

While drivers must always obey the speed limit, this simply does not happen at the Strangford Road. Motorists can literally fly along its entire length until they see the new speed indicator sign.

For those not familiar with this area and who may ask what measures are in place to make sure drivers stay at 40mph? The answer is speed limit signs which are ignored.

Over recent years, many people have written to the Down Recorder about speeding concerns along the Strangford Road, one of the fastest and most busiest in Downpatrick.

It is now up to our elected representatives to do the decent thing and relocate the speed indicator sign. For many like myself, it beggars belief how the current site was chosen, particularly as it is positioned away from busy and densely populated housing areas.

The Strangford Road is very popular with walkers all year round and it would seem that the message being sent out is that the authorities only want to keep you safe while walking along a short section of it, provided of course that drivers obey the speed indicator sign and slow down.

I can see no good reason for choosing the location for the speed sign and suspect that if councillors visit the area they will agree.

Why police just a short section of what at times is a fast and dangerous road which places pedestrians and other road users at risk? If officials refuse to relocate the sign, they must consider placing another one close to the entrance to Lecale Park.

It’s over to you Downpatrick councillors. Don’t let residents down.

Yours etc,


Strangford Road,