Philip Lynch, John Murphy, Ersoy Balica, Etaoin Holahan, Larry Fogg, Pat Murphy, Kevin Keogh, Cllr. Joe Lyons and Eileen Vaughan PICTURE: HARRY REID
Twin aims of traffic safety and space for social distancing have been achieved in Callan, with the introduction of a new one-way system.
Last Saturday the new traffic system came into effect, altering the flow of traffic through one of the main town centre crossroads.
There are two major changes to the Callan road network - Bridge Street is now one way to vehicular traffic, from the West Street/ Mill Street junction all the way to the junction with Flaggy Lane/ Kilkenny Road.
A second major feature of the new system is the change in traffic priority at the Mill Street/ West Street junction with Bridge Street/ Green Street. Cars and vans travelling from Mill Street to West Street will now have the priority right of way. Traffic coming down Green Street must stop to give way.
Kilkenny County Council have carried out works in the area, with new signage, bollards and street markings, and kept a presence at the junction for several days after the new system’s introduction to help local motorists adapt to the changes.
Bridge Street is used by many to walk and cycle to school and work, as an exercise route and to access shops and services. The decreased traffic flow along that street has been used to widen the paths on both sides of the road to allow more room for pedestrians and cyclists. This is part of the County Council’s measures to provide space for social distancing.
Local businesses hope the extra space, and safety, for pedestrians and cyclists will lead to more ‘passing footfall’ for their businesses. Already, feedback from people living in the north of the town is that walking into the town centre, especially with children and buggies, feels safer. The extra space is also welcomed by wheelchair users in the town.
As local businesses and residents get used to the changes some additional suggestions have been made - including the addition of set-down areas on Bridge Street to allow deliveries or to allow less mobile people to be driven closer to their homes. This will be considered by the local area engineer in the coming days.
These measures have been brought in by Kilkenny County Council as a temporary measure to encourage social distancing, and it is to be reviewed in 12 months. However, even before the social distancing steps of Covid-19 there were calls to make the narrow Bridge Street one way to traffic.
The work was funded under the Town and Village Renewal special accelerated measures in response to Covid-19.