Gavan Reilly's Portfolio writings, ramblings, mumblings

One-way traffic system in April

KILKENNY CITY will see the introduction of two one-way traffic systems this coming April, as part of the city’s €4m Mobility Management Plan.

Kilkenny Borough Council’s Senior Engineer, Kieran Fitzgerald, has informed councillors that ongoing works in the programme, approved by the Council in September, will see the introduction of two one-way systems on Tuesday, April 6 – the day after the Easter Bank Holiday – in an effort to relieve traffic congestion in the city centre.

John Street, Rose Inn Street and Parliament Street will become one-way traffic areas from that date, on an indefinite trial basis. A separate scheme including Michael Street, Back Lane, Upper New Street and Jacob Street will also be introduced on that date.

A sum of €55,000 was agreed tby the members for the provision of ‘variable messaging signage’ informing drivers of traffic arrangements in the city.

The schemes were confirmed at last month’s monthly meeting of Kilkenny Borough Council.

Discussing the progress of the plan, Cllr Joe Reidy (FF) sought clarification on how the success or failure of the trial one-way scheme would be appraised, commenting that a free flow of traffic might impact on traders whose premises were located on the streets were the scheme would be in operation.

John Mulholland, the council’s Director of Services for Roads & Transportation, responded that the main concern would be ensuring that the flow of traffic was no worse than before the implementation, but also that a large focus would be placed on traveller comfort, and the “attractiveness” of the city for enticing tourism. Mulholland added that advice had been received from both the Department of Transport and Department of the Environment on appraising the success of the trial one-way system.

The Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce and Industry have cautiously welcomed the proposals. Chamber CEO Alison McGrath told the Kilkenny People that the Chamber’s Board had been invited to meet with County Manager, Joe Crockett, and the Council Executive to discuss the rollout of the scheme and to address the concerns of local businesses which might be affected by inhospitable traffic streams.

“We would be in favour of the Mobility Plan,” McGrath said. “The Executive will have to keep an open mind, and if there’s concern that the scheme might have a negative impact, it’ll need to be looked at.

“The Plan’s proposals would be great for the city centre; one of the long-term bugbears we’ve had is in relation to signage in the city centre and this has been improved in the last six months; on approach roads to the city people are offered directions to the available car parks and this has been received positively by retailers… Once the Council Executive sit down and talk to businesses [about the one-way systems], we would be in support of it.”

Further information signage displaying real-time parking information in the city is scheduled to be installed in the coming months under the Plan. In other works scheduled for 2010, the capacity of the Kilkenny Ring Road will be increased further, while permanent bus set-down areas and a new taxi rank are also to be put in place. In addition, work to improve the facades of John Street and High Street will commence in autumn.

The implementation of the city’s cycle network and the provision of signage for the cycleway and car parks are scheduled for completion before the end of January.