NIGHT time pedestrianisation is to continue on Killarney’s Plunkett Street on a full-time basis with the area remaining closed to traffic from 7pm to 7am, it has been decided.
A public consultation process conducted by Killarney Municipal District Council officials confirmed that the majority of people in the town are positive when it comes to closing off the street by night.
But daytime pedestrianisation – which was introduced on a trial basis on three separate occasions last year and banned traffic on the street from 11am to 7am daily – will no longer be an option until such time as a proper public realm plan is developed and implemented.
A report prepared by Killarney Municipal District Officer, Eileen O’Donoghue, noted that the purpose of pedestrianisation was to enhance the ambiance and vibrancy of the town centre, improve traffic management, create greater safety and accessibility for pedestrians, reduce pollution and promote sustainable transport.
Of 89 submissions received during the first phase of the public consultation process, which related to the daytime trials, the main observations centred on a lack of parking to support the scheme, driver confusion, the impact on businesses outside of the pedestrianised zone, difficulties with deliveries and the aesthetics of the area.
Ms O’Donoghue then personally visited businesses to further engage on their views and she met with an estimated 90 per cent of traders in the town centre, the majority of whom were in favour of night time pedestrianisation which was introduced in March 2018.
The council has acknowledged that the daytime trials caused confusion and, in particular, drivers at the junction linking Lewis Road and College Street were unaware that they were approaching a pedestrian only area. To address that issue, extra signage was erected and Google maps have been updated.
To address all concerns, a proposed public realm plan will focus on developing streets, lanes and connections to the radial car parks and to implement improvements to encourage people to stop, linger and consume so that they will benefit adjoining businesses.
Increased use of the town centre car parks – some of which are under utilised – will be promoted to increase footfall and the frequency of visits to the town centre and funding for the work will be sought through the Urban Regeneration Development Fund.
The public realm plan will include the College Square area with the aim of creating a pedestrianised focal point and it will allow visitors and locals accessible space and facilities to sit, rest and enjoy the area.
The council report, signed by Director of Services Charlie O’Sullivan, concluded: “Through the development and implementation of a public realm plan, aligned with the rollout of a parking strategy for the town, it is intended footfall will be spread further throughout the town. These measures, which will include significant public consultation with both members and the general public, will provide a platform for the future development of the town.
“At the centre will be the importance of streets, roads, lanes and public spaces to the quality of life and the experience of both locals and tourists in the ton centre,” the report stated.
The council has stressed that communication with businesses and the general public will be a key component of all future town centre proposals.
COMING SHORTLY: How Killarney’s councillors reacted to the report on pedestrianisation
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