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Old proposal should be dusted off to solve Skibbereen's traffic crux

July 24th, 2017 9:45 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Photo Credit: Nikki Kitley

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A THREE-year-old solution to improve traffic flow at North St in Skibbereen is being revisited.

Former town councillor Brendan McCarthy has responded to a motion by Fianna Fáil Cllr Joe Carroll by dusting off a proposal he had made in 2014.

A report detailing Cllr Carroll's call for a review of traffic flow at North Street was printed in The Southern Star and subsequently posted on Facebook, and it attracted considerable interest, especially from motorists who are frustrated by the fact that cars are being dented as they try to navigate the narrow street.

In May 2014, the former Fine Gael councillor said he organised a meeting of residents and business owners just before the Town Council was abolished.

According to Mr McCarthy, ‘the footpaths and road surface had been upgraded and bollards were put in place on one side of the street in the interest of pedestrian safety, and I felt this was the perfect time to review the parking situation on North Street.

‘With the bollards in place on the right-hand side of the street going north and parking on the left,' Mr McCarthy said, ‘it became impossible for two vehicles of any significant size to pass on the street. Therefore, vehicles are still having to wait for very long periods before being able to navigate the street, and this has a knock-on effect on traffic down Main St and over to Bridge St.

‘At the time, I had called on people to look at the possibility of removing some of the parking on the street and put in place set-down bays or loading bays so that goods can still be delivered and collected from homes and businesses and that people can also be dropped off at hairdressers and playschools and that these could also be used during funerals.

‘In my opinion, the proposal would make North St a pedestrian priority area, which would be of benefit to the businesses in the area.'

Mr McCarthy said all of the people living in North St at the time were willing to try the proposed system on a trial basis, but one dissenting voice meant the entire proposal was scrapped.

Mr McCarthy said he is aware of the fact that the area engineer, Ruth O'Brien, is in the process of carrying out a traffic survey but, he maintains, ‘It is time to tackle the problem once and for all.'

Cllr Joe Carroll told The Southern Star: ‘A lot of people have made contact with me about the situation, especially since the article appeared, but I believe we should await the outcome of the traffic survey and the engineer's consultation with Skibbereen and District Chamber of Commerce.

‘The real solution to the problem in North Street, as everyone knows, would be a relief road through Gortnaclohy, which is in the overall town development plan. 

‘But the reality is that is not likely to happen for quite some time yet. However, if the development of a parcel of land adjacent to the former Mercy Heights secondary school goes ahead, it could be the catalyst for the creation of a relief road for the town.

‘In the meantime, cars are being damaged and it is creating a poor impression of our town.'

Cllr Carroll said: ‘One, short-term solution, would be to install traffic lights at both ends of North Street. That would solve the problem because there would only be one lane of traffic travelling at one time.'

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