A ONE-way traffic system could be trialled for North Street in Skibbereen.
The proposal was made by local Fine Gael Cllr Karen Coakley and seconded by Cllr Katie Murphy (FG) at a meeting of the West Cork Municipal District in Dunmanway recently.
Cllr Coakley said she was tired of endless talking about traffic congestion in Skibbereen and not doing anything to resolve the problem.
She described the gridlock at North St as ‘chaotic and dangerous’ and said the traffic pile-up there added to congestion in other parts of the town.
‘In the interest of the health and safety of residents, businesses and drivers, as well as for the overall economic benefit of the town,’ the councillor urged the introduction of a one-way system on a trial.
The Council’s senior executive engineer, John Ahern, pointed out that one-way traffic systems are implemented under Section 38 traffic calming measures of the Roads Act 1994. This, he said, was a statutory process that required a public advertisement and a display of the proposals, followed by a mandatory public consultation period of one month, and consultation with stakeholders, before a final decision could be made to operate the trail run.
Cllr Joe Carroll (FF), who has repeatedly raised the issue of traffic congestion at North Street, said he would prefer a stop-go traffic light system instead of a one-way system.
It was Cllr Coakley who called for the commencement of the Section 38 process and her suggestion was seconded by Cllr Paul Hayes (Ind).
If the process goes through all the stages and is approved, Cllr Coakley said: ‘We would know once and for all if it is the solution to chaos and congestion at North Street.’
If approved, it would mean that motorists coming into the town would drive down North Street, and that traffic coming from Baltimore would turn left at the top of Townshend Street and take the by-pass road.
Cllr Coakley told The Southern Star: ‘I have often sat in traffic in North St for between 15 and 20 minutes and wondered what would happen if an ambulance or other emergency vehicle needed to get through. Everyone is totally frustrated with the problem. The town has become a bottleneck. It’s time to try and find a solution to the problem. People might not agree with it but let’s try it and see if there is an improvement. If it works, it works.’
She said the proposed Gortnaclohy bypass would be ‘a game-changer for town,’ but was unlikely to get budget approval any time soon.
Cllr Hayes supported the one-way traffic trial for North St saying: ‘I have flagged the idea with some stakeholders already, and their initial response has been positive.’