Residents aren’t lovin’ it as traffic causes chaos

The parking chaos on the narrow road leading to McDonald’s with vehicles parked on both sides of the road

Under pressure in Killarney because of problems caused by chronic traffic congestion at the entrance to its premises, fast food giant McDonald’s has indicated that it will consider closing its drive-thru if it is leading to disruption or causing other issues.

Responding to written contact from Cllr Donal Grady, a McDonald’s Ireland customer service representative said they are working with the local authorities and gardaí on the matter.

“We may determine it necessary to close drive-thrus if there is local disruption or (it) puts the safety of our employers and customers at risk,” the spokeswoman said.

The company said Cllr Grady’s comments and concerns have been brought to the attention of the management team as part of its regular reviews.

Several complaints have been made to local councillors that regular queues of vehicles trying to gain access to McDonald’s on Park Road is forcing residents of houses located to the rear of the business to drive on the wrong side of the road to get to their homes.

A long line of cars regularly forms along the main road – opposite the new cinema – with people waiting to get to the drive-thru windows or to access the restaurant’s car park.

Traffic on the main road queuing for McDonald’s in Killarney

Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Marie Moloney, said the problem is being compounded by vehicles parking on the footpaths on both sides of the entrance road.

She said there are six estates located at the rear of the premises, with another under construction and, as well as queuing, drivers are parking on the footpaths and on double yellow lines.

Cllr Moloney had asked the company to consider removing a small section of green area at the entrance to the premises to allow the development of a filter road for customers to use.

The mayor said it has now reached a stage where residents are considering staging a series of protests and, she insisted, she can’t blame them for that.

Kerry County Council officials, who have met with McDonald’s management, said driver behaviour needs to improve and the gardai will be consulted on the matter, particularly if there are long lines of traffic on the road.

The council said a road lining contractor has been lined up to increase the visibility of road markings at the entrance and it is envisaged that the work will be completed by the end of this month.

The lengthy queue of vehicles waiting to access the drive-thru at McDonald’s in Killarney

Traffic wardens will also monitor the area and will enforce the laws if there is any illegal parking and, if it persists, other alternatives will be pursued, including the erection of bollards.

“They are not very attractive but it might be the only solution,” said municipal district engineer, John Ahern.

He pointed out that McDonald’s have been at that location for a long time and the situation is that the houses have been built around the premises.

Mr Ahern pointed out that, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the reality is that the vast majority of McDonald’s customers are now using it as a drive-thru and not going into the restaurant itself