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Estate with 30kph zone is being abused as ‘rat run’

A RESIDENTIAL area of Ennis which had been a pilot location for 30kph speed limit zones is being used as a rat run with “unbelievable” speed.
Increasing traffic has lead to local fears of potential accidents in Castlewood Park and residents are seeking the erection of speed ramps at the entrance and exit to their estate.
Councillor Mark Nestor highlighted the issue at a meeting of the Ennis Municipal District where senior executive engineer Eamonn O’Dea confirmed a review will be carried out while also stressing the need for driver behaviour change.
“Residents are very much concerned that the area is being used as a rat run to get from one estate to a main shopping area of the town quickly,” said Councillor Nestor. He added that the level of on-street parking is adding to the danger.
“A lot of residents there don’t have their own driveway and there are quite a lot of children living in the area.
“What is concerning residents is if you have cars parked on the street and God forbid a child comes out from between two cars there is going to be an accident.”
He said that while there are some traffic calming measures in place, they are only located in certain areas, allowing drivers to build up speed.
Residents are seeking two new ramps, at the top and end of Castlewood Park. “Hopefuly if those ramps are put in place it would reduce the speed in that area and lead to more safety for the residents and in particular the children.”
In response, Mr O’Dea, stated, “Castlewood Park is one of the pilot 30kph residential speed limit zones in Ennis and has existing traffic calming measures.
“The speed survey following the introduction of the 30kph speed limit showed an average speed of 27kph. The Ennis MD will carry out a speed survey and traffic count at Castlewood Park to determine if there is a requirement for any further traffic calming measures.”
Councillor Ann Norton described Castlewood Park as “quite an unusual” estate due to the fact there are so many other residential areas connected to it.
“There is quite a volume of people travelling around that particular area and it is an estate with quite a number of younger families with younger children.”
She added it is also used by students walking from school to the shop.
“For their safety as well as the safety of residents and children in the area it is something that needs to be looked at and monitored.”
Councillor Johnny Flynn pointed to the initial success of the speed limit pilot scheme in bringing speed down to 27kph, “which is a very good low speed level in an area with vulnerable road users”.
He said it is “disappointing” however, that the speed seems to have increased, and he pledged his full support to traffic survey.
Councillor Pat Daly said that traffic is speeding “on a daily basis”. “The traffic up along is unbelievable, they’re flying out,” he added saying he would welcome speed ramps and there is a “danger children will be hurt”.
Councillor Mary Howard called for a 30kph limit to be extended throughout the town. She pointed out that this is the case in many other countries and this would ensure people’s safety.
Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy also voiced her support for the motion. Mayor of Ennis, Councillor Paul Murphy gave the motion his backing, however he said that speed limits are not the only solution.
“A lot of problems is actually getting behavioural change from drivers, cyclists and walkers. It’s about getting that mindset into all road users to respect each other.”
He said the Council’s engineers “can only do so much, really behavioural change is a big issue here”.
Mr O’Dea agreed stating, “We can introduce any amount of methodologies but there has to be a significant behaviour change by the public in driving within a town area.”
He expressed the belief that as active travel measures come into being that changes to the streetscape would indicate to people that they are driving in a town.
He said that while the speed limit might be 50kph “that doesn’t mean you have to drive at 50, you have to drive with due care and attention, that’s the first rule of the road.”
He maintained that there should be a regular review of the rules of the road for drivers to ensure they are understood.
He concluded that while the Council has recorded low speed limit levels there will be a review of the location.

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