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Cllr. Joe Cooney: Not happy with the reply.

Frustration at red tape around move to reduce speed limits

FRUSTRATION has been expressed at the red tape that surrounds the process of reviewing and appealing speed limits.

The point was made by Councillor Joe Cooney, at the end-of-year meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District, that action is needed on the route between Tuamgraney and Killaloe.

However, he described a Council response to his motion, calling for a speed limit change on the R463 from the Steiner Schools to Raheen Hospital, as disappointing.

The response from Senior Executive Engineer Derek Troy outlined that Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), rather than Clare County Council, is responsible for conducting reviews.

It also outlined an appeals mechanism whereby individuals can make a case to a local appeals board.

If they are not happy with the outcome, that can be referred to a regional panel and then back to an annual Council meeting for final approval.

“I am not happy with the reply,” Councillor Cooney said. “We are all well aware of this section of road. Along there, it is very built up on the side of the Steiner school to the entrance to Raheen Community Hospital. There are several commercial activities going on there.

“The two schools combined cater for up to 150 children and 50 staff. That’s a big number. They all have to get in and out each day. There are only a small amount of buses, and a lot of cars.

“People are using the path on the far side and it is very dangerous crossing the road. A pedestrian or zebra crossing is needed going forward.

“That stretch of the R463 has the Raheen Woods Centre, for commercial activity, the entrance to McLysaght’s as well as Raheen Hospital. That’s an awful lot activity in a short area and it does need to be looked at that. There are 12 private homes in that area too.”

The O’Callaghan’s Mills man noted the response which confirmed that the existing speed limit is 80kmph, but said that was not appropriate and needed to be reduced.

“I would be hoping to see the speed limit reduced with signage and traffic calming put in place,” Councillor Cooney said.

“There are flashing lights at the school, but they have not been working for a good number of months. Are they gone by their sell-by date? It would be a help to get them working.

“We all know this is a very busy area. I would be hoping, in the interest of road safety, to have traffic calming as well as a reduction in the speed limit.”

The motion was seconded by Councillor Pat Hayes.

“I agree totally with what is proposed,” he said. “I had a previous motion down in relation to the school. This is a very busy regional road. There are no safety measures other than flashing
lights that don’t work. For traffic safety for parents and children, we need to address that issue.

“In Ireland, we tend to let things happen, then we have to readdress the issue. When paths went in, that was the time to think of these kinds of measures.”

The Caher man said that funding for smarter travel initiatives would provide an opportunity to get the work done. “Smarter travel gives us an opportunity for connectivity and I believe these
works would tick the right boxes,” he said. “This route has very fast-moving traffic. I am fully supportive of the motion. I trust that with all the expertise, you’ll come up with solution.”

Mr Troy told the meeting there were a number of elements to consider.

“We can submit the area under proposals for a Low Cost Safety Scheme,” he said.

“We can also appeal the speed limit if concerned. The school may be applying for planning permission for redevelopment of the site, to include a car park.

“It is vital that the school itself must be registered under Safe Routes to School Programme and it would fall under National Transport Authority (NTA) funding eligibility criteria then.”

In his written response, Mr Troy noted that the most recent TII speed limit review was carried out in 2018 and implemented in 2019. He said no date has been set for the next review.

The appeals process involves a member of the public applying to Clare County Council. The decision of that local committee can be further appealed to a regional panel.

The reply said that further to Councillor Cooney’s motion, the request would be referred in accordance with the Clare County Council Speed Limits Appeals Procedure.

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