STREETS in both Bandon and Kinsale are to be temporarily pedestrianised in a bid to encourage footfall and also assist with social distancing as both towns begin to emerge from lockdown.
In Bandon, Bridge Lane – from its junction with South Main Street to its junction with Market Quay – will close from Monday June 29th to Wednesday September 30th.
Jacinta Warren of Warren Allen Collections on Pearse Street, whose business is facing Bridge Lane said this will be a huge asset for the town.
‘Right around where I am there a six food outlets and it just means you can take your coffee or pizza and you can just go and sit outdoors in these temporary seats.
‘I think it will be lovely for Bandon and with social distancing this will also be welcome for businesses like myself,’ said Jacinta.
Meanwhile, in Kinsale a number of streets are also to close including Short Quay from 8am Monday June 29th to 6pm Wednesday September 30th.
Plans are also in place for a trial closure of both Main Street and Market Street on Sunday June 21st and Crowley’s Quay on Sundays only from July 5th to September 27th.
Local access will be maintained throughout the duration of the road closures for deliveries, while a special reduced statutory speed limit of 30kph will apply to all pedestrianised streets.
Pay parking has also been suspended in both towns for three months to encourage shoppers into the town.
A council spokesperson said that the temporary pedestrianisations of streets during the summer season is to assist both with national social distancing guidelines and the re-opening of businesses.
‘The overall objective is to create Pedestrian Priority Zones within the town centre thereby promoting a Covid safe environment on our public streets that is mutually beneficial to both the town’s people, visitors and businesses.
‘The initiative is mindful of the national restrictions on travel and the likely significant reduction in visitor numbers that will ensure as a result of same.’
The pedestrianisation of these streets are just some of the measures being undertaken by the Council as part of Project ACT with the aim being to give confidence to the business, retail and community sector.
Town Teams have also been appointed in 23 towns across the county.
As previously reported in The Southern Star, an image of a pedestrianised Bridge Street in Bandon by local photographer Phillip Cullinane drew much debate and excitement online about the possibilities that the street could offer in a post Covid-19 situation.
With its very own ‘Kinsale Comeback Campaign’ underway, those behind it are hoping to position Kinsale as one of the go to holiday destinations for key markets over the next 12 to 24 months.
A GoFundMe page has been set up too with all funds going directly to the campaign which will be rolled out in line with the re-opening roadmap of the Government.
Business people are also coming up with innovative ideas as the town re-opens and enclosed mobile pods for al fresco dining on pedestrianised streets is just one of many ideas being suggested.
Meanwhile, global pandemic recovery expert, Dr Ian Norton who previously worked with the World Health Organisation – is giving advice to the Kinsale Chamber of Commerce about how to recover in a post Covid-19 world.
Well-known artist Philip Gray is also getting on board with the town’s recovery and he has created a limited edition of just 95 prints of a painting he made of the town entitled ‘Community Spirit.’
The prints are signed by himself and are framed.
‘This painting represents the heart of Kinsale and the level of community spirit shown in Kinsale during the lockdown was absolutely amazing,’ said Philip in a video posted on Facebook.
All those who purchased a print will then be entered into a draw with a chance of winning the original painting values at over €8,000 and all funds raised will go to assist the ‘Kinsale Comeback Campaign’.
• Search ‘Kinsale Comeback Campaign’ on GoFundMe and see www.philipgray.com for details of the prints.