Waterford City Council gave its blessing on Monday night to the development of a “green route” between Maypark Lane and The Mall, via Dunmore road, Newtown, William St. and Lombard St.
Green routes are to facilitate and promote greater use of transport modes such as walking, cycling and buses, thus cutting down on petrol and diesel consumption and this is the first phase of a six-package city-wide scheme, including provision of park-and-ride facilities. The total cost is €30m and it will be financed by the Department of Transport.
This particular package went on public display for two months from early February, as a result of which 23 submissions were made by members of the public.
As part of the project, City Hall has undertaken to co-operate with the schools in developing a drop-and-ride service along Dunmore Road. In addition, it is to liaise with the parish with regard to putting in place special arrangements for church services. And, in an alteration to the original plan, the proposed cycle track in front of St. Andrew’s Terrace, outbound, is not to proceed and existing parking there is to be retained.
Various councillors raised issues relating to the plan but Jim Darcy was the only one who refused to support it.
Mary Roche, confessing to being a committed car user, “like 99 p.c. of car owners”, said she and her like might be persuaded to change by soaring oil prices and the sight of buses passing in free-flowing lanes as they sat stuck in heavy traffic.
Joe Kelly suggested a review after 12 or 19 months when alterations might be considered appropriate.
And while Senior Executive Officer Fergus Galvin promised that the least possible inconvenience would be caused by the construction work involved, City Manager Michael Walsh said it would be impossible to install the systems without some element of disturbance. He also assured Tom Cunningham that bus shelters would be installed where feasible along the route.
Team leader behind the scheme, Senior Engineer for Corporate Affairs and Transportation Frank Roche, said it was impossible to say at this stage when the job would commence or be completed, but they would be ready to go to tender within a month or two. However, it was likely that most of the work would be done during school holidays, in time of lighter traffic.