The owner of a popular Parnell Street business fears that he will have to bolt his doors for good if the ‘Green Route’ envisaged for the street by Waterford City Council gets the green light.
In a detailed letter to Waterford City Council, Mark Deevy of Deevys Motor and Marine Accessories didn’t mince his words when outlining his concerns about the transport blueprint to free up the N25.
“What’s been proposed by Waterford City Council will, I believe, put the business that I have worked so hard all my life to build up, out of business,” according to Mr Deevy.
“The proposals put forward by Waterford City Council are flawed and will lead to job losses, businesses closing down and will further push the citizens of Waterford into doing their shopping elsewhere. How many more businesses will have to close down before action is taken by the city to ensure the growth of our city?”
In bullet points, the implications of pushing ahead with the existing Green Route proposal for the N25, in Mr Deevy’s view, include:
* the relocation of businesses to ‘out-of-town’ sites
* the possible damage caused to almost 80 protected city structures
* the limited benefit that the proposed bus lanes would bring to the city
* the inability of Waterford City Council to provide more parking for consumers
* the lack of evidence in the Council’s behalf to suggest that traffic congestion is hampering the quality of existing bus connections, and
* the necessity of installing four separate sets of traffic lights on a 100-metre stretch on the Cork Road, as envisaged in the proposal.
Speaking to The Munster Express, City Council Transport Chief Fergus Galvin said his office was now sifting through the public submissions on the Green Route, the deadline for which fell on November 24th.
“Some of the submissions have been positive towards the proposal, while others have suggested other options,” he said.
“We have to take all of these submissions and deal with them on their individual merits and that is the process we are now committed to.”
Added Mr Galvin: “We realise that we are working within the confines of an old city in terms of its Viking and Norman-designed layout, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t come up with some viable alternatives for faster and improved bus routes in the city.
“There are significant back-logs of traffic on our busiest routes at peak times and we believe that the Green Route proposals for both the N25 and the Dunmore Road would help to alleviate congestion…
“It should be noted that the opening of the city bypass in late 2009 will lead to a considerable reduction in the levels of HGV traffic moving through the city centre, for example, so other developments will also help to reduce the flow of traffic.”
A group of 28 business people and residents from Parnell Street signed a letter addressed to City Hall which called for “practical implementations” to ease the traffic back-log in the area.
There’s a palpable fear among the signatories that the City Council might be in the process of implementing a proposal that traders and residents appear universally opposed to.
In response to this sentiment Mr Galvin said: “It is not our intention to negatively impact upon businesses in the city centre…at the end of the day, the ultimate decision on all of this will rest with City Councillors.”
The worries of local businesses, first highlighted in our April 18th edition, were also expressed by John Murphy of Barry Murphy Auctioneers.
In his own letter to the City Council, dated November 21st, Mr Murphy wrote: “The cost to freeholders and leaseholders on Parnell Street will be significant if this plan goes ahead.
“The lack of parking on Parnell Street will lead to it becoming a less attractive place for a business to be located. In turn, the rent achievable for premises in this area will fall if Parnell Street is turned into a three-lane highway.”
He added: I feel the plan to introduce one extra lane of traffic on Parnell Street and the Mall is poorly thought out and does not take into account the people who live, work and attend school or college in the area…
“The removal of all parking from Parnell Street on the city side will undoubtedly have a negative affect on business, which will almost certainly lead to businesses along the street relocating to the suburbs. This is in turn will create more car travel rather than less.”
Mark Deevy presented what would could describe as ‘the nightmare scenario’ to City Hall in his detailed submission: “Soon there will be no business left in the city centre and that the public will not require the bus service as there will be nothing left to attract them into the city centre.
“Furthermore, this trend will have a devastating effect on the rental values, property values and the take-up of much needed new business entering the city.”