Local woman’s 25 year safety campaign leads to potential gritting policy change

Adrienne Carlin has campaigned for 25 years for gritting on Brooke Street after witnessing numerous incidents of vehicles getting into difficulties during icy weather.
Adrienne Carlin has campaigned for 25 years for gritting on Brooke Street after witnessing numerous incidents of vehicles getting into difficulties during icy weather.

A Derry woman has expressed her relief after her 25 year campaign to secure gritting on a busy street proved successful in getting road authorities to re-examine current policy.

Adrienne Carlin has repeatedly written to authorities calling for gritting on Brook Street in the Foyle Road/Bishop Street area, after witnessing numerous incidents involving buses carrying schoolchildren and other vehicles skidding and getting into difficulties during icy and treacherous conditions.

Ms. Carlin, who has also campaigned for better parks in Derry and litter facilities, said she now wanted to tell others that they should never give up if they feel they have an issue that was important to them.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’ this week, Ms. Carlin said she is “elated” that the Department for Infrastructure has now confirmed that Brook Street will be included in the winter gritting network and that the policy around traffic counts in relation to roads which merit gritting will now be reviewed on the back of the concerns she has raised.

“It was a long wait,a long battle of words, a lot of footage of videos, a lot of negotiating,” Ms. Carlin said.

“I want to prevent anyone else from going through what I have gone through, your nerves being on edge every icy day, looking out a window and seeing what we see, and nobody doing anything about it.

“You were appealing to politicians and they are all seemingly helpless because it is in the hands of the Roads Service, and if the Roads Service don’t inform police to block off a road, police can’t come out. Police were very much behind me but they can only take the instruction from Roads Service.

“It was a bat and ball game. This is a very big, serious issue of the neglect of road safety on our roads during icy days.

“The health and safety of the road gets pushed aside and it’s a case of policy comes before common sense, when common sense should prevail and we should have flexible policies that allow for our elected politicians, especially those in Ministerial positions, to use their own initiative and use flexibility when granting something like this.

“It shouldn’t be down to a box ticking exercise. We tick the box now, but we ticked it 25 years ago as well.”

Ms. Carlin said that on numerous occasions, she herself, despite suffering from health issues, and neighbour Margaret Hassan, have had to go out to prevent traffic coming up the road.

Over the years she has written to Transport and Environment Departments, CCMS, the Education Authority, local schools, City Centre Management, the Council, Assembly Members, Councillors, MPs, the PSNI, Translink and others to try to get the issue resolved.

She said that she had hoped politicians who had pledged support over the years would have continued to support the campaign and refused to back down on such an important safety issue.

Ms. Carlin said that after sustaining serious injuries in a road traffic incident several decades ago, and she never wanted to see anyone else put in that situation and that this has spurred her on to continue her campaign despite the succession of knock backs. “I wanted to prevent somebody else going through what I had gone through. If you feel you are right, and an injustice is being done, don’t just settle for it; don’t just accept it,” she said.