Estate road unlikely to be closed off despite pleas from residents
DESPITE AN impassioned plea from a deputation of residents from Applewood Heights/Drive it looks increasingly unlikely that the busy road through the estate will be closed off although some traffic calming measures may be introduced.
On behalf of the residents Siobhan Barker said last Autumn the residents started collecting signatures seeking to have the road closed. She said that '92 per cent of the residents were in favour (of the closure) and there was an overwhelming response.'
Safety, security and structural issues are among the main reasons behind the closure she said.
'The road is being used as a rat run on a daily basis, not only by school traffic from St. Laurence's but from housing estates nearby and it's also being used as a rat run by heavy good vehicles (HGV's). She produced pictures to back up her claim and said 'it's just not acceptable'.
Ms. Barker said the residents of Applewood endured this traffic ' 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year'.
In terms of security she said suspicious vehicles in the estate weren't noticed because of the large volumes of traffic. 'Burglaries are still a concern and we do feel this is a security issue.
'We feel closing off the road would give us some sort of security.'
The three tonne limit for HGV's wasn't being adhered to she claimed saying trucks and HGV's were passing through the estate constantly. She said residents felt HGV's 'should be going through Chapel Road and not Applewood Heights'.
Ms. Barker said the residents had been told there wasn't a traffic problem in the area but 'this is a problem. One truck going through a day is a problem because of the three tonne sign.
'Residents are very frustrated with the apathy'.
Cllr. Derek Mitchell said ' there is no excuse for HGV's flouting the law' but said he had serious concerns that closing the road would cause serious traffic congestion in Blacklion.
'My greatest concern is that the whole area would seize up. A public road is for the public and not just for those who live on it.'
He also said the opening of a link road at Lidl would be the ideal and ultimate solution, a suggestion that was roundly supported by all councillors while at the time they acknowledged such a road was some distance in the future.
Cllr. Stephen Stokes said the ' three tonne limit is totally unacceptable' and suggested banning vehicles in excess of two tonne.
However he said 'enforcement is a huge issue'.
Cllr. Chris Moloney said to conduct a proper analysis of how a road closure would impact on the town the road through Applewood Heights would need to be closed for a week.
Cllr. George Jones said he ' has grave misgivings' about any road closure saying 'I don't think that would solve the problem. Numerous areas depend on this road unfortunately.
'It would be very easy to say we support the closure but I guarantee you that 95 per cent of the residents of Greystones would rise up against it. It would cause mayhem around the rest of the town.'
Cllr. Grainne McLoughlin said 'we are not going to be in a situation where we can close the road unfortunately but there are traffic calming measures and maybe that's what we should be looking at.'
Cllr. Kathleen Kelleher said ramps in the hilly areas of Applewood Heights would make it very difficult for residents to get in and out of the estate in icy weather.
Cllr. James O'Sullivan and Deputy Stephen Donnelly wondered about gardai implementating a zero tolerance approach while Deputy Simon Harris said if gardai concenrtated on the area it would send out a very positive approach. Cllr. Tom Fortune said the members recognised the problem and the frustration of the residents but said 'we are not going to get a solution here tonight'. Superintendent Pat Ward said there is 'a number of measures we can take in the interim' and said a reduction in the tonnage of vehicles would be a great help. Traffic calming would also be a help, he said.
To allay fears about security problems he said 'we can intensity patrols in the area at spot times to deter vehicles using it as a rat run'.
He also shared concerns about the impact a possible road closure would have on the rest of the town.
'I think we should try everything else before that', he said.