COUNCILLORS have agreed that a draft traffic calming policy document for towns, villages and estates across the county warrants further discussion before being adopted by the full Council.
At a recent meeting of the local authority, several councillors spoke about the importance and need for these traffic calming measures, especially near schools and in estates.
As chair of the Roads and Transport SPC (Special Purpose Committee), Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) said there is a growing problem with speeding in built-up areas and he hoped to get support from his fellow councillors to ensure safer roads for both pedestrians and motorists.
‘As a local authority we can put up signs all we want but we are facing a stage where we are looking at putting in more physical measures to impede speeding in built-up areas,’ said Cllr Hurley.
He said the draft policy has 16 points to it and looks at traffic calming on roads through towns and villages and for future developments like new schools which will have to have adequate pick-up and drop-off spaces.
Bandon-based councillor Gillian Coughlan (FF) said it is a very important policy document because both they, as councillors, and local engineers will have guidelines going forward.
‘The key point, though, is that we need dedicated streaming funds for traffic calming measures. Our old town centres which have expanded are now under siege from traffic. This policy is very important as it means people can live in towns and that air quality and the quality of life won’t be impeded,’ she said.
She also said that traffic calming at schools is a huge issue and called for a particular official to actually create planning around this area. Her colleague, Cllr Seamus McGrath, said that speed limit reviews need to be carried out every two years, instead of the current four years.
‘Every four years is not enough and it’s very difficult to go back to constituents to tell them that we can’t change them,’ said Cllr McGrath.
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) said that the policy document will bring consistency across the county when it comes to traffic calming measures but added that funding is vital to the success of the policy.
‘Some engineers favour ramps while others don’t and it will provide a suite of measures to our local engineers to improve road safety. Also physical impediments are really important to slow traffic down, especially in estates,’ said Cllr Hayes.
Cllr Gobnait Moynihan (FF) pointed out that villages are fundraising themselves to get speed-activated signs erected because there is no policy in place.
‘We need to discuss this really important document more and it’s one of the main problems we have in our small villages of people ignoring the speed limits,’ said Cllr Moynihan, who added that speed reviews should be done every two years.
She said that there is a fine speed ramp in Kilmurry village by the school that ‘you will only go over the one time, fast!’
Cllr Alan O’Connor (GP) said one way of solving traffic issues would be the need to move away from the car model.
With so many aspects to discuss about the document, county mayor Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) said it would be appropriate for it to be discussed at the next development meeting before being adopted by the full Council.