BY HELEN RIDDELL
A ONE-way system is to be introduced to increase traffic flow on Castletownbere’s main street, with long term plans for a relief road around the inner harbour.
Plans which aim to improve traffic and pedestrian access in the area were put on display in the town last week.
Infrastructure consultants AECOM have been commissioned by the County Council to develop a traffic management plan for the town, which is also Ireland’s largest fishing port, and a key tourist destination on the Wild Atlantic Way.
The draft report was presented at an open day held at the Beara Coast Hotel, and included recommendations for parking, traffic management, road safety, walking and cycling.
When the plan was first launched in 2016, AECOM conducted a number of traffic surveys in the town, which included speaking to drivers about the length of their journeys and carrying out a review of all accidents in the town in recent years. Equipment also was put in place at 13 junctions to monitor traffic levels during peak times. The consultants also spoke to pedestrians and cyclists, and representatives from a number of local organisations and communities.
AECOM have now recommended a number of short-term and long-term solutions in the draft plan. As a short-term strategy the team recommends reorganising parking throughout the town and introducing a one-way system.
Long-term options include building the relief road around the inner harbour, which will also include a footbridge linking the secondary school to the new relief road. There are also plans for the provision of a footpath linking main street to the CoAction Centre, and a new street on the site of the old Council yard, linking main street to the new relief road.
Cllr Paul Hayes, Sinn Fein, welcomed progress on the traffic management plan: ‘This will be transformative for the town, increasing car parking by 39%, creating better and more accessible open spaces in the town centre. It will also finally resolve traffic flow issues through the town by introducing a one-way system and new junction layouts. As we know, Castletownbere is Ireland’s largest fishing port and there will be significant investment in fishing-related facilities in the next few years. It’s vital that the road network is upgraded to compliment this work, and to create footpaths and parks that can be used and enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.’
Cian Murphy, chairman of the Castletownbere Development Association (CDA), has encouraged everyone to have their say and make submissions to the draft plan.
‘Overall the CDA is happy with the draft report, it does need some tweaks and the CDA as a group will make a submission. We think that any transport management plan should be based, not just on statistics, but on how we actually live,’ Mr Murphy explained.
Submissions are invited before May 11th and can be made by e-mail to: [email protected] or posted to Eoin O’Mahony, AECOM, 1st Floor, Montrose House, Douglas Business Centre, Carrigaline Road, Douglas, Cork city.