Sunday 25 August 2019

Get rid of it!

Online poll reveals that the vast majority of respondents want to see the Mallow plaza removed

Eugene Cosgrove and Bill Browne

Since it was completed five years ago the plaza at the bottom of Davis Street in Mallow has been the subject of much comment - not all of it, it must be said, of a positive nature. Officially opened in December 2014 by President Higgins, the much-maligned plaza has been the cause of much debate, with many blaming it for the often chronic build up of traffic in the town centre.

In fact, just last month, local county councillor Gearóid Murphy placed a motion at a council meeting calling on the authority to compile a detailed report on the traffic situation in Mallow, floating the idea of modifying the plaza to improve traffic flow. 

He said one suggestion that had been made to him would be to alter the layout of the plaza to include a second filter lane at the bottom of Davis Street.  However, the results of a recent online poll would seem to suggest  that locals would prefer a much more radical solution - getting rid of the plaza altogether.  The Facebook poll posed one simple question 'should the plaza be removed - yes or no?' 

While far from scientific, the poll does give a clear indication of local sentiment with almost 560 people replying to it, many also voicing their opinions on the controversial site. The result was an overwhelming rejection of the plaza, with more than 92% of respondents saying they would like to it removed.  Local man John Martin summed up the sentiments of many when he said it should be removed, adding that the people of Mallow were never given a say in whether it should have been built in the first place.

"The purpose of the plaza was never explained and it is simply a white elephant today," he commented. 

Other respondents were also very critical of the plaza, with once person saying Mallow had become a "ghost town", while others placed the blame for the traffic congestion on the traffic lights operating in its vicinity.  While many people condemned the plaza outright others were more conciliatory, including Rob Dempsey from Mallow, who said that while it was a nice feature it was in the wrong place and was responsible for causing traffic blockages on the Spa Road and Bridge Street areas. 

Mr Dempsey said he felt the problem could be alleviated with the restoration of two lanes of traffic and the proper synchronising of the traffic lights.  "The completion of work on Mallow Bridge (for the new boardwalk) will hopefully see traffic run more smoothly," he said.  Other suggestions included removing part of the plaza to facilitate a return to two lanes towards the Spa and Bridge Street while others felt the old two-way traffic system would be the key to solving most of the traffic problems. 

On the other side of the debate, some respondents were firmly against the removal of the plaza, with some saying it added character to the area and one person saying that removing it would cost too much money that could be spent on other facilities for the town.