Last week a laden heavy goods truck swerved to miss a bus on the main access road (R600) in Kinsale. The truck collided with the wall and a lamp post at a pedestrian access to the steps across from Featherbed Lane where there is no pedestrian crossing. At the same time Cork County Council has €4,500,000 in unspent active travel funding allocated in 2021 and only €1.16 million of €20.45 million for 2022 has been spent. This funding could be used to make pedestrians safer and provide for pedestrian pathways around our towns.
Kinsale has grown by 20 per cent in the last 10 years and is slated, according to the Cork Development Plan, to grow by a further 40 per cent in the coming seven years. All of this growth is coming without a similar investment in pedestrian, cyclist and user safety. Junctions approaching Kinsale are without traffic lights, roundabouts or pedestrian priority crossings. Many junctions could be described as ‘diving blind’ junctions for car traffic or lethal crossings for pedestrians.
The 2009 Kinsale Transportation Strategy studied the potential for a bypass for through-traffic not destined for Kinsale, but this has never been realised as development plans have deprioritised its development. This north-east Ring Road would have brought Cork traffic from Pewter Hole cross) to the Bandon river/new Bridge bringing much of the heavy traffic and beach traffic away from the town.
Medieval Kinsale is dominated by narrow streets, ill-suited to modern vehicular traffic. New developments such as Kinsale Manor, Fort View and the proposed 71 houses at the GAA pitch follow this planned route of the ring road putting more cars and more pedestrians travelling from the edge of town to shops and schools using the old mediaeval road network.
On many of these roads there is a lack of continuous footpaths forcing pedestrians, parents with buggies and the disabled onto the narrow roads to compete with both large and fast vehicles.
“The result of this is seen daily, as kids walk to school down the Rock which has no footpath, and most navigate a blind junction with no pedestrian crossing to get onto the Bandon Road. The extremely narrow footpath on the Bandon Road can only accommodate one person in width at its narrowest points, forcing pedestrians to step out onto a very narrow road. Kids and parents must cross the Bandon Road without any pedestrian crossings. This is further aggravated by the fact that the Bandon Road is a hill and cars pick up speed as they travel down the hill,” Green Party Representative Marc Ó’Riain stated.
“Many people are concerned that somebody will be killed. In fact a woman in her 60s was killed by a construction vehicle outside the Community school in Kinsale in 2008. More recently disabled users have been forced into the road to contend with vehicular traffic with tragic results.” Green Party Representative Marc Ó’Riain stated.
Given that the Council’s budget for 2023 is almost double it’s allocation for 2022, local Green Party representative, Marc O’Riain is calling on the Council to prioritise spending on footpaths and safe crossings on the Main Cork Road (R600) entering Kinsale, with stop signs on Farm Lane prioritising traffic to Barrack hill. He is also calling for a safe pathway down the rock to the Bandon Road, a dedicated pedestrian route across Black horse field to the schools connecting new developments.
“This can all be done in the short term, with the funding that is available, but ultimately we need a relief road and roundabouts to take traffic away from the town and allow for greater pedestrianisation.
“I’m also calling on the people of Kinsale to make submissions to the local engineers office for active travel proposals around Kinsale.”
Photo: Marc Ó’Riain Green Party Representative Bandon Kinsale