AN irate resident, upset at the installation of double yellow lines outside his house in Feakle, vented his frustration at a local authority engineer it was claimed at a recent meeting.
East Clare Councillors were highlighting the impact double yellow lines are having on a pensioner and his son, who has a disability, at a recent Killaloe Electoral Area meeting.
“Is this the man who ran down the road and shouted at me?” asked senior executive engineer Hugh McGrath, who noted the man has parking at the side and back of his house.
Mr McGrath told councillors this man’s house is unfortunate to be at a point in the village where the road is very narrow and two cars would not be able to pass if on-street parking is allowed.
The issue was raised by Councillor Pat Burke, who tabled a joint motion with Councillor Joe Cooney asking that Clare County Council review the installation of the double yellow lines in Feakle.
Following a lengthy discussion by councillors and Mr McGrath, it was decided the double yellow lines would remain, subject to a review if serious problems arise in the future.
Councillor Burke noted the double yellow lines had caused grief for some people, while others had welcomed them. Describing the traffic calming measure as an urban solution in the context of a “sleepy village”, he queried if they are necessary on both sides of the road.
Having attended a recent funeral in Feakle, the Fine Gael councillor recalled there were up to seven cars on the double yellow lines as “people obviously felt comfortable parking there”.
Supporting the motion, Councillor Joe Cooney said there was a lot of concern in the village over these lines but acknowledged they are needed, particularly outside the community centre.
He asked if the footpath could be narrowed where it is 11 foot wide and suggested lines are not needed outside the church.
He cited the case of an 88-year-old pensioner who has a son who needs treatment for a disability who are affected by the lines outside of their house.
While concern was expressed about lines outside a private house, Councillor Pat Hayes noted the majority of people welcomed this traffic calming measure as a means of reducing hold-ups in the village, while the community council had requested lines outside the hall.
He recalled, on one occasion, a bus had to reverse back past the local post office because there was no way through the village due to obstructive parking.
He suggested a disabled parking space could be put near the church and said he had only met one person who had made a complaint.
Mr McGrath confirmed the double yellow lines were installed on the basis of representations from the community council and other parties, as well as serious consideration and analysis from an engineering perspective.
Following the issuing of a new guidance document by Transport Minister Leo Varadkar earlier this year, he explained he was obliged to apply this technical design manual for urban areas, which included Feakle.
This included a stipulation that five metres is necessary on a road to allow two cars to pass each other safely, which wasn’t possible in Feakle.
Where the road narrows to just over six metres in the village, he noted car parking would reduce this by another 2.1metres and confirmed narrowing the footpath is not a feasible option.
The only consultation required under the new regulations is between the local authority and gardaí.
“If double yellow lines are not working, I can review it. Measures were taken in Feakle to facilitate proper traffic management at an area where the road cross-section is only sufficient to allow passing traffic and is not capable of facilitating parking.
“There are two entrances to the church and a hearse can park across the road. While I don’t envisage aggressive enforcement, you can’t really make an exception for a wedding car parked on double yellow lines for three hours,” he said.
Councillor Burke acknowledged Mr McGrath has a job to do but noted the lines for a pedestrian crossing in Mountshannon, which were put down years ago, were recently burned off by the council as it was felt, with the benefit of hindsight, that they were installed in the wrong place.
He felt the fact seven cars recently parked on the double yellow lines made a mockery of this traffic calming measure.
Mr McGrath replied people might feel they could park there if they weren’t going to block up the village.
“I am happy that this is the right thing to do. I am sure I have made mistakes but I don’t think this is one of them,” he said.