Residents of an East Cork tourist village say that, on some days, they cannot leave their homes due to high volumes of traffic.
A deputation from Ballycotton Development Group told the October Sitting of the East Cork Municipality that the village is regularly gridlocked with cars parking on both sides of the street and, in the tourist season, the entire area is on lockdown.
A survey carried out on all houses in the Ballycotton area listed parking, traffic congestion and poor footpaths among their top priorities, ahead of waste water treatment and playgrounds, Stephen Belton (Ballycotton Development Company) told Councillors.
“Pedestrians, cyclists and motorists all share a single road with no possibility to widen the road because of its coastal location."
“Ballycotton is a unique location whose coastal aspect and activities mean that it is more likely to have need of all kinds of emergency services, more so than other villages of the same size.
Currently the area around the cliff walk is rated number 3 on Trip Advisor’s ‘Things to do in Cork’ - an increase from 5 in just twelve months. Mr Belton said “Wedding and events traffic is adding to the volume of traffic all year round putting stress on locals, some of whom can’t get their cars out of their drives during busy times.”
Everybody knows that development of Ballycotton, whether it is Planning or Infrastructural, cannot happen without the traffic issues being firstly addressed. “Business will suffer if people go to a less congested location” stated the Hotelier, who warns that lives could be at risk if the Local Authority doesn’t act swiftly to resolve the congestion issue.
In 2016 there was a situation whereby an ambulance could not get through the village to where it was needed because of this grid lock. Fortunately, on that occasion, it was not a life threatening situation.
Considering that the RNLI operate a station at the end of the village, delays in getting the service launched will eventually cost lives” commented Mr Belton.
He said that another extremely serious issue was the lack of safe footpaths along the main street, especially around the school, to enable children to walk in safety, and a serious accident is inevitable.
The member of the Ballycotton Development Committee told East Cork Cllrs that in order to relieve the congestion, a number of short term measures could be implemented.
“These”, he said, “include the creation of passing bays, additional signage creating resident only parking, and slow signs on the approach road as well as a stop go system to elevate congestion at certain times.
The Cork County Council Roads Design Office has been requested to cost the interim measures with a view of implementing them on a phased basis.