'Edenderry's road death waiting to happen' - concern raised over lethal junction
Significant local concern has been raised over the junction joining St. Francis Street to JKL Street, known locally as New Row Corner, in Edenderry.
The issue of reduced visibility caused by parking close to the junction has sparked fears among residents and motorists. It has been expressed locally that the junction is 'an accident waiting to happen.'
The issue has been exacerbated recently with the ongoing temporary closure of the Downshire Road linking St. Francis to the Dunnes Stores Shopping Centre adding to the traffic flow through New Row Corner.
Concerns centre on the view a driver has from the junction as they attempt to pull out from St. Francis Street onto the town's main street. It is difficult to see the extent or speed of oncoming traffic from St. Mary's Road due to parked vehicles.
Illegal parking on double yellow lines at the site often adds to the difficulty while a view has been expressed that visibility remains even when cars are parked legally close to the junction itself.
A number of Offaly County Councillors from the Edenderry Municipal District have responded to the concerns raised about the junction this week.
Fianna Fail's Eddie Fitzpatrick said, "I can certainly see the problem and I can honestly say this is a problem in other areas also."
"Maybe traffic lights might be an option but this, in turn, has its downside as it would slow traffic on the Main Street. The Edenderry Municipal District is meeting this week and this issue is something we can raise," he added.
Longstanding Edenderry councillor Noel Bourke also reacted to the danger posed by the junction, saying, "for a considerable time, I have been highlighting the problems and dangers for vehicles accessing JKL Street from St Francis Street."
He went on to say, "a Transportation Study on Edenderry is being carried out by Offaly County Council at present and I have asked that this junction is looked at with a view to coming up with a realistic recommendation to make it safer."
"Even with the double lines being adhered to, it is still unsatisfactory and of course, when vehicles park on them, it is much worse. I'm not sure what the solution to it is as residents and business people there understandably want parking space and scope to improve the junction does not exist at present. I hope that the Council Study will come up with some workable solution," Cllr Bourke concluded.
Cllr Noel Cribbin continued to say, "it’s very dangerous trying to turn left at Francis St corner with cars parked near the chip shop, and it certainly needs attention."
"I have suggested to our engineer that some sort of parking restrictions be put in place there to stop parking within 50 metres of the junction. I would also put in place a 'No Right Turn' sign at the junction of Francis Street up Mary Street so that all cars turn left which would speed up traffic flow considerably. Cars wishing to go up Mary Street would then continue on down to the harbour roundabout and exit from there," Cllr Cribbin suggested.
Sinn Féin councillor Martin O'Reilly also recognised the danger posed by the junction but also noted the difficulties of securing a solution.
"The situation is dangerous and the situation of people parking on the double yellow is wrong and needs to be addressed by the Gardaí and Traffic Warden," he stated.
"With that being said, even if people do obey the parking restrictions in place, your view of oncoming traffic is still very difficult. There are many residents living along that street with two or three cars per house so I'm sympathetic to those living here that need to park their cars."
"With regards to a solution, it's not an easy one to identify. Another roundabout at the T junction would not work as you still can't see the traffic coming from the right and finding a suitable parking location for residents living along this road is very limited," Cllr O'Reilly added.
He went on to pose the idea of a nearby carpark to remove parked cars from the streets, and concluded by saying, "traffic coming into the town is still excessive and a relief road would lessen that to certainly help the situation at the T junction but again not the issue of the line of sight."
Cllr John Foley said, "I feel the double yellow lines need to be extended but also a greater degree of enforcement is needed to keep vehicles from parking illegally."
"However, I feel restricting traffic from turning right up St. Mary's Road would only push the problem down the town because when the vehicles come back up the town and some want to turn at New Row to travel out the Castlejordan/Rhode direction, they could hold up the traffic in the whole town while they wait to get a break in the traffic."
"That would mean at peak times like school time the whole town could potentially come to a stand still," Cllr Foley added.
The issue looks set to be discussed by Edenderry Municipal District this week and is also the subject of a Transportation Study undertaken this year by Offaly County Council.