Road improvements in city centre

UPGRADES of several city streets, a bike-themed day to mark National Bike Week and further pedestrian hours on Kieran Street are among Kilkenny Borough Council’s plans to improve the “mobility management” of the city.

UPGRADES of several city streets, a bike-themed day to mark National Bike Week and further pedestrian hours on Kieran Street are among Kilkenny Borough Council’s plans to improve the “mobility management” of the city.

Five locations for electric vehicle charge points have also been provisionally agreed with the ESB, and the design for bus shelters around the city is progressing, Borough Council engineer Kieran Fitzgerald told members at the monthly meeting on Monday night.

Work on the John’s Green amenity area is due to start in June, with improvements to Upper New Street starting in July. Accessibility improvements on Wolfe Tone Street and Greensbridge Street are set to start in September, and a pedestrian and cyclist link from Lacken Walk to the Ring Road is due to be completed in the autumn. Pavement improvements on High Street and James’s Street are then due to begin in October, he said.

As part National Bike Week, it is proposed to host a ‘Smarter Saturday’ in the city on June 25 with activities such as kiddies bike races, slow bicycle races, demonstration of electric bikes, electric vehicles and car charging points.

One-way system

As the Borough Council is set to revisit the idea of a one-way traffic system on High Street, continued monitoring of vehicle, pedestrian and cyclist numbers is taking place, as well as monitoring of public car park usage.

“Full implementation of the one-way system is dependant on the provision of the Central Access Scheme,” Mr Fitzgerald pointed out, and An Bord Pleanála is due to issue a decision on the updated proposal within the next month. This decision will be either to approve the scheme or to request another oral hearing.

On Kieran Street, some businesses have asked that pedestrianisation hours be extended, to be in effect from 10.30am to 5.30am daily instead of the current hours of 10.30am to 5.30pm.

The council has also proposed a pilot pedestrianisation scheme for James’s Street during the tourist season until September, to be in effect from 10.30am to 5.30pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Cllr David Fitzgerald (FG) also suggested discussing with local businesses the idea of taking traffic off High Street on two or three “key Saturdays in the year” such as during the Kilkenny Arts Festival or Cat Laughs Comedy Festival to create a “carnival atmosphere”, although Cllr Joe Malone (FF) said such activities would be more appropriate for the Parade.