High Street in Kilkenny
The one-way system that is in place in the city centre to facilitate social distancing looks set to remain for the duration of the pandemic.
City engineer Ian Gardner told members of the Kilkenny City Municipal meeting that the primary objective of the scheme was to provide greater space for pedestrians to facilitate social distancing.
The scheme was introduced last June and the current statutory road closure facilitating the measures expires on June 19.
The introduction of the one-way system has created three metres of extra space for pedestrians on Rose Inn Street which is now one-way from John’s Bridge to the Parade.
The one-way system from The Parade to Parliament Street has facilitated an average of 2.5 metres width of road space to be used by
pedestrians while the one-way system has facilitated an average of 2.5 metre width of road space to be used by pedestrians allowing the provision of outdoor seating by some businesses.
Mr Gardner told members that a new statutory road closure was required to extend existing social distancing measures for up to 12 months. He also outlined how €4 million funding has been allocated for a permanent City Centre Traffic Management Plan in addition to €100,ooo in Active Travel in funding for the plan.
“The complexity requires extensive traffic analysis utilising the Kilkenny City Traffic Model which requires updating which can only be done when traffic returns to normal,” he added.
Cathaoirleach of Kilkenny County Council Andrew McGuinness commended the city engineer and council staff for the huge amount of work done on the one-way system.
“Initially we were looking at having it for a six-week period and now it has been for well over a year,” he said and pointed out that there were concerns from some businesses on John Street.
“This is a Covid measure and not a traffic management issue,” he said adding that while it is being proposed to extend the measures for 12 months that depends on the pandemic.
“It is for up to 12 months. If restrictions are eased then this will be revisited,” he added.
Cllr Martin Brett said that the measures are there ‘for everyone’s safety’ and Cllr Eugene McGuinness remarked said that there were ‘absolutely essential’.
Mayor John Coonan said that he ‘absolutely supports the plan until the end of the pandemic’. Mr Gardner said that the council has fully engaged with the City Centre Taskforce in relation to the one-way system.
Council director of services Tim Butler said that the notice of the temporary road closure will go back out on public display allowing for public consultation.