New one-way system has some motorists confused
THE new JIm Garry Way opened to traffic last week – but surprised many motorists who were unaware of the new road system as they approached Laurence's Gate.
Traffic is now flowing one way through St Laurence's Gate from the Chord Road, with vehicles from Laurence Street being directed up Palace Street.
The new system was introduced without warning last week, and some motortists are still passing under the gate towards the Chord Road, which could have dire consequences.
'I have watched some drivers still using the old system and thankfully they haven't met oncoming traffic through the gate,' sayd business owner Leila Doolin of The Design Gallery.
'The changes are long overdue, but I have lost a few parking spaces for the shop, which is a shame, and pedestrians will still continue to cross at the gate rather than use the crossing, so I think the only thing which would slow traffic down is a speed ramp.'
Francis Street resident Joan McEvoy has also expressed concerns about the zebra crossing at Palace Street.
She said: 'In my opinion, it should be much closer to the gate, so drivers can see it straight away when the come under, or pushed further up to the shopping centre entrance, giving people a chance to cross the road when traffic is coming up the hill so fast.
'As it stands, cars will speed up the hill and someone is bound to be injured crossing the road.'
The link road between Palace Street and Francis Street – officially called Jim Garry Way – is also open.
'Everyone hopes the new scheme will ease traffic, but I still think they will have to close the gate to traffic altogether,' she adds. 'It is a historical monument, and should be preserved as such. We will have to give it time to see.'
Lynn McDonnell from the Chord Road and Environs residents' association said that the current traffic management around Laurence's Gate is still dangerous for non-vehicular traffic.
'It is amazing that a large town in Europe puts the safety and welfare of pedestrians secondary to motor vehicles.'
She pointed out that the pedestrian crossing in Palace Street is not operational with two streams of traffic merging and there is no safety crossing for pedestrians at the now busier junction of Francis Street-Chord Road.
She said dialogue with the council is now paramount.