SKIBBEREEN councillors Joe Carroll (FF) and Karen Coakley (FG) were singing from the same hymn sheet when they called on Cork County Council to ‘fix’ the traffic in North Street.
As a possible solution, Cllr Carroll tabled a motion at a Western Committee meeting of Cork County Council calling on the local authority to ‘begin the process of extending the Gortnacloghy by-pass in Skibbereen.’
He pointed out that North Street is the main artery into town and it is so narrow that motorists – particularly HGVs – find themselves stuck, sitting in traffic, or scrapping past parked vehicle, thereby damaging them.
The Fianna Fáil councillor said the only solution to the problem is to use traffic lights and create a two-way stop-go system at North Street, or create a by-pass at Gortnacloghy Road.
The councillor had raised the issue at several meetings in the past and, on those occasions, he was told that the proposed by-pass was conditional on land being opened up for development at Gortnacloghy.
‘Why won’t you put in a temporary light?’ Cllr Carroll asked. ‘Use it for two months and I am sure you will see that it would work fine.’
He said he could confidently predict that because ‘over a two to three-month period, traffic lights were used at North Street due to road works at Market Street and Main Street and it worked perfectly.’
Cllr Karen Coakley described traffic congestion at North Street as ‘chaotic.’ She said the one-way system had worked well. And, in the absence of a traffic light system, she said it might work better if the traffic flow were ‘one-way.’
Arguing for a new by-pass, or relief road, Cllr Coakley said: ‘It would also relieve the incredible amount of traffic chaos caused by the daily school run.’
She said the situation at the school also presents a problem for emergency vehicles because they would find it difficult to access the school.
Padraig Barrett, the Council’s director of service for roads, said there were certain measures that could be put in place to improve traffic flow at North Street, but it might mean the loss of some spaces in order to provide ‘gaps in the parking.’
He said he would consider these measures, as well as a possible contra-flow system, and Cllr Coakley asked that the issue be put on the agenda for their next Western Committee meeting.