By Monica Gibson

A NEILSTON councillor has won a long-running battle to improve safety for residents crossing the village’s busiest road.

Labour man Paul O’Kane has been lobbying for the zebra crossing on Main Street to be replaced with a signal-controlled crossing since he was elected in 2012.

Councillor O’Kane, who represents Neilston and Newton Mearns North, believes the nature of zebra crossings creates too much uncertainty and that the new “push button” system, which was installed recently, is far safer.

He told the Barrhead News: “There is always that awkward feeling of who should go first. Pedestrians are not always confident that the car is actually going to slow down and stop and, when it is dark, it can be very difficult for drivers to spot when someone is about to cross.”

One of the many reasons motivating Cllr O’Kane to pursue the crossing was the tragic death of popular Neilston man Gavin Currie.

Gavin was heading to the Killoch Bar, on Main Street, when he was struck by a Ford Mondeo just days after Christmas in 2011.

The 25-year-old electrician had been watching a football match with his brother and some friends at a nearby house before deciding to go to the pub.

The new crossing is situated almost directly outside the Killoch Bar.

Cllr O’Kane, who lives in Neilston, said: “The whole village was shaken by what happened to Gavin and his family were devastated. It was awful and is something many people still think of.

“The tragedy happened in 2011 and, when I was elected in 2012, making the crossing safer was one of the first things I was asked to look at.

“It has taken a while but, thanks to the additional monies secured for Neilston in the last budget, this is now finally a reality.

“Everyone who lives and visits Neilston can benefit from the crossing, not to mention the children from both Neilston and St Thomas’ primaries. I’m sure their parents will be relieved.”

Cllr O’Kane said there are further plans in place to enhance the village.

He added: “We will be investing in improving the pavements on either side of the road and new lighting columns have been installed to give Main Street a refresh.”