One-way system in operation on Sunday evening, having been implemented over the weekend
The new temporary one-way system came into effect in Kilkenny City at the weekend, dividing opinions of both traders and the public on its merits.
High Street and Rose Inn Street and part of Ormonde Street are now one-way, while pedestrianised hours have been extended on Kieran Street and James’ Street. Reaction has so far been mixed, but the council is urging that the system be given time to bed in and for people to adjust.
The scheme, designed to facilitate social distancing as businesses reopen and shoppers and visitors return, was originally to come into effect on Monday. But with inclement weather forecast, the council opted to bring it forward. Roads staff worked until the early hours of Saturday morning to have new measures in place.
Saturday and Sunday both saw congestion at a variety of different times. In some cases it also cleared quickly due to reduced waiting times at lights, as a result of fewer manouevre options. These traffic light timings and sequences are being monitored and adjusted to find an optimum.
Council director of services Tim Butler has said that while the road system has changed, driver behaviour must also change. People are used to driving down Rose Inn Street from the Parade/ Patrick Street, or turning left at the Parliament Street junction. Both manoeuvres are no longer permissible.
Traffic originating from, and travelling to destinations outside the city centre is still opting to do so via High Street. Use of other routes, such as the ring road, will play a role in easing traffic flow.
Mr Butler says the goal is to encourage people whose destination is the city centre to come in, and reduce the number of those simply travelling through it.
“We want visitors and we depend on visitors, and we have to make sure the city is as safe as possible,” he said.
Mayor of Kilkenny John Coonan has said the scheme will continue to be closely monitored, and consultation would be ongoing.
“I do realise there are teething problems — you would expect that at an early stage,” he said.
The mayor also said he hopes people will make greater use of the new city bus service. He has asked the council to write to the National Transport Authority seeking significantly reduced fares to incentivise its use at this critical time for Kilkenny.
“I believe that would be very good for the city,” he said.