Sunday, 19th August 2018
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Michael Garland,

bizBoost Chair,

Waterford Business Group

“Round and round and round we go!”

It’s official, Waterford City now has one of the largest “Roundish-squarish-abouts” in the county and probably the South East. The urban regeneration plans/works are in full swing and there are new road layouts springing up everywhere. Though we need not be surprised by this, as there was ample consultation and lots of opportunities to feed into the process, from as far back as 2015 (I think!).

I have to admit, that I’ve not had the occasion to try the new route, at “Rush-hour”, around the College Street, Bath Street, Manor Street, Railway Square loop. However, having been up and down on several occasions, it appears to be working well. The surface is a pleasure to drive on and don’t the new white shiny road markings look the business?

“Surprise, Surprise”, there were of course the usual Facebook warriors, pointing out that the world had ended, when this new system was introduced Cilla Black style. It’s not like we didn’t know this was happening! We’ll all have to give the new route time to bed in and before we know any different, it may become the norm?

Remember how so, so many were against The Apple Market roof development? In no time at all, this regenerated area has become a firm favourite of Waterfordonians and visitors alike. Looking at the future plans, there is plenty to keep this new performance area at the forefront of Waterford’s entertainment portfolio.

Admittedly, there are a number of snagging issues that need sorting out. The road surface, for example, differentiating the traffic and public areas, some noise concerns etc. We are assured that the Council is aware of these and in time, this will be addressed.

Perhaps we need a gentle reminder, on how to obey traffic directions? This might make these changes easier to understand? After all, those of us of a certain age and vintage, have possibly forgotten what a “Highway Code” book looks like. Can we even remember what the content actually refers to when driving? I know on the ring-road, people just choose to ignore the lane priority road markings, on approach to the roundabouts. The racing drivers, in the right-hand lanes, save literally seconds off their journey time, by refusing to move back to the left, when approaching said roundabouts. Better still, some in the left-hand lane drive straight across at roundabouts, creating the phenomenon of “Square-abouts”.

Anyway, as the City grows and expands, there will inevitably be more traffic disruptions. We should all be prepared to accept these, as they will surely and eventually benefit the expansion of the City. We need to accept that old adage, “You can’t make an omelette, without breaking a few eggs!” We can only hope that those making the omelettes, will not leave a few pieces of shell in their final presentation. Therefore, monitoring the new traffic flows will be crucial to keep footfall at reasonable levels, thus avoiding adverse negative publicity.

There does need to be a certain amount of proactivity on the Council’s behalf. For instance, the traffic tailbacks on the Dunmore Road are anomalous. During quieter times, this route can be as demanding as “Rush-hour”. Conversely, there can be tailbacks from Lombard Street, right back to the fried egg in Newtown, for no meaningful or apparent reason. You could be 40 minutes trying to navigate down this road, which is off-putting and discourages people coming into the City.

It may have something to do with the phasing of the traffic lights from the Quay, going all the way back to the junction on Lombard Street. Maybe the tech boffins in the Council can look at this? You know who I mean, those guys who talk only in binary numbers, “01010111 01100101 01101100 01101100, 01000010 01101111 01101001!”

I think we all have to be patient whilst the changes crystallize. Though some spinners do need to move away from the rhetoric, that traffic jams are good for this City. They are not! They discourage people from travelling to Waterford, when the access roads are constantly blocked. We need an accessible City Centre, with good public transport links. Dublin’s levels of congestion, are simply not acceptable in a City of circa 50,000 people.

Happy motoring.

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