If you build it, they will come


If you think traffic in Killarney is bad now, then have a look at this.

This is Main Street in the late 1980s when not only was a two-way traffic system in place but parking was also allowed – on BOTH sides of the street.

The main town centre artery is now down to a narrow, single lane of traffic with no parking permitted apart from at three closely monitored delivery bays.

Extra wide footpaths and build-outs have also been provided to facilitate pedestrians.

But way back then it was very much a free-for-all with traffic emerging from New Street allowed to turn into Main Street where it was met by a long line of traffic existing Plunkett Street and another queue approaching the town centre from the Muckross side, beside the jarvey stand.

To compound matters back then, buses were regularly parked up when collecting or dropping off passengers in the vicinity of the town hall and there was no Mission Road to carry any of the burden.

The font page of Now and Then in August 1981

It’s fair to say, of course, that the volume of traffic back then was nothing compared to what has to be coped with now but, still, the gridlock was such that the then local council moved to implement a one-way system and ban on-street parking.

The chaos on the streets even made front page news in an early edition of Now and Then newspaper under a giant headline: Bottleneck!

The accompanying editorial read: “This is the heart of Killarney on the prime artery of Ireland’s tourist trail. Permissive parking at this coronary point grinds traffic to a sudden halt of bedlam and chaos”.

It added that single and double yellow lines didn’t seem to matter anymore and that immediate action was needed.

“It is an incredible situation and no longer can Killarney tolerate it. The red tape of protracted meetings, local politics an invocation of bye-laws must be slashed without delay,” the writer said.

The editorial from the August 1981 edition of the paper concluded:  “We wait to see who cares about Killarney”.

Over 40 years later, Killarney still has a big issue with summertime traffic congestion but, as is often repeated, wouldn’t we have an awful lot more to complain about if there was nobody coming to town?

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