The removal of essential car parking spaces in Clarinbridge, as part of a planned traffic calming proposal for the village, would result in businesses shutting up shop, it has been claimed.
The grim prospect was put forward after a two-hour meeting to discuss the controversial plans which have been initiated by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), the former National Roads Authority.
Local councillors are outraged that TII representatives will not engage with them regarding potential changes to the traffic calming plans – they also face the prospect of losing funding for the project if they do not agree to the proposals as they stand.
The most controversial aspect of the plan is to provide a cycle lane which would automatically remove 12 car parking spaces in the village. This will also have an impact on parents picking up their children from the local primary school.
Cllr Martina Kinane, who resides in Clarinbridge, said that if the TII proposals were implemented, there would be little or no parking in the village for any motorists passing by. “It the parking spaces are removed, then they simply won’t stop”, she said.
At the moment there are around 21,000 vehicles passing through Clarinbridge on the N18 on a daily basis. It is expected that when the new Gort to Tuam motorway opens at the end of the year, these numbers will reduce to an estimated 14,000.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland are allocating €400,000 for the traffic calming measures but representatives from the body have declined to meet with either councillors or residents to discuss the matter. It has sparked fears that the funding may be lost if there is no agreement to their plans.
Residents and business interests want the traffic calming measures reviewed before they are allocated to a contractor. They want to see certain proposals changed so that they don’t impact negatively on the economic viability of the village.
However, they say that there are some good aspects to it as well including the provision of additional street lighting and footpaths while there are also plans to extend the speed limits on either side of the village.
Cllr Kinane said that she had requested a special meeting of the Athenry-Oranmore Municipal Council, whose area includes Clarinbridge, to discuss the proposed traffic calming plan. It lasted two hours without much progress.
“The purpose for convening the meeting was to seek support from my fellow councillors that the proposed traffic calming for Clarinbridge be put on hold until a resolution is reached regarding the removal of parking from the core of the village,” she explained.
The matter was due to come before a full meeting of Galway County Council for planning approval but that decision was adjourned. Cllr Kinane said that TII had not taken on board any of her concerns.
Under the proposed measures, it is planned to modify the Athenry Road junction on the Oranmore side of the village to make it safer. She wants the funding for this project alone to be ring-fenced in the event if a decision to abandon the present plan is taken.
The matter is due to be discussed again at length at a full meeting of the Athenry-Oranmore Municipal Council on this coming Tuesday.
Community fights back on hospital ‘downgrade by stealth’
“The community effort spreading the word was unbelievable; the turnout was unbelievable,” she said.
Pilgrim took to his feet to realise dream!
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.