PLAN TO CUT MITCHELSTOWN TRAFFIC BY 300 VEHICLES AN HOUR
Mitchelstown peak hour traffic can be cut by up to 300 vehicles an hour if a new traffic management plan is implemented, according to its authors. ILTP Consulting Ltd, who were commissioned last year to carry out a traffic survey on Mitchelstown, say that the volume of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) coming through the town can be cut by ‘98 or 99%’ if one of two proposals arising from their study is carried out.
Other ideas put forward, in a presentation to council officials in The Firgrove Hotel last Tuesday, suggest a partial pedestrianisation of New Square, the introduction of more traffic signals at junctions and the addition of more pedestrian crossings along Cork Street.
The report presented to county council officials documents the meticulous surveys of both vehicular and pedestrian traffic flows carried out by ILTP. The group explained how the extensive survey results were fed to the latest traffic management software, which calibrated the results with future town growth and assumed zoning in mind.
Speaking after the presentation, John Paul Fitzgerald, transport engineer with ILTP Consulting, conceded that the report does not include the cost of implementing such plans, but said that should the plans for HGV restrictions receive the full support of local gardai, the volume of such vehicles travelling through Mitchelstown could be cut by up to 99%.
He added that the plans would also reduce peak time traffic through the town by between two to three hundred vehicles. The proposals have been generally welcomed by Councillors O’Doherty (Fine Gael), O’Flynn (F.F.) and O’Keeffe (F.F.). The proliferation of HGVs unnecessarily coming through the town centre has been a palpable source of contention for the people of Mitchelstown, something the report reflects specifically.
Should either plan be implemented the issue would be addressed by imposing a ban on the vehicles in Mitchelstown centre, the report proposes. All HGVs would be required by law to avoid the centre of town, with drivers who have genuine reason to go into Mitchelstown required to provide a delivery docket justifying their driving through the town.
The findings added that as it is, with traffic congestion in the centre of Mitchelstown, there is no significant addition in travel time by using the relief road as compared to going through the town.
Fine Gael Councillor Liam O’Doherty welcomed the proposals.
“It’s very good for Mitchelstown,” he told The Avondhu. “We have been waiting a very long time for this plan to come about, I just hope we won’t be as long waiting for it to be implemented. We should warmly welcome anything that acts as a deterrent or slows down HGVs coming through Mitchelstown.”
Cllr O’Doherty added that he felt the plan would be phased in, and that with the additional pedestrian crossings and traffic lights the relief road would become a more attractive route for vehicles going through Mitchelstown.
“What is crucial now is funding,” he concluded. “It would be a pity to see a lot of money spent on the plan and none or any subsequent action.”
Despite advertisements in The Avondhu asking for contributions to the survey, Cllr Frank O’Flynn said he feels that the authorities did not do enough to include the public.
“I welcome the fact that such a study has finally been done on Mitchelstown, however I feel Cork County Council should have done more to include the public and local businesses. I would also like to see traffic calming measures along the Clonmel road introduced. I welcome the plans to relocate the taxi ranks and the measures to ensure that pedestrians will be much safer crossing Mitchelstown’s main street.”
Cllr Kevin O’Keeffe largely welcomed the proposals.
“It has many positive aspects in my opinion. It would eliminate unwanted traffic and unnecessary HGVs coming through the town day and night.”
He added that any changes made to the New Square would have to be ratified by the people of Mitchelstown to avoid contention.
“There are major proposals for the New Square which needs consultation with the public, but overall the report is favourable,” he concluded.
Thursday 15th May 6:21pm