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Moves to improve accessibility in Ennis town centre

PLANS to improve the accessibility of Ennis’ town centre, including upgrading disabled parking spaces, have been approved by the Ennis Municipal District. The proposals involve works at Friary Carpark, Abbey Street Carpark and Lower Market Street.
Discussions had been held at the design stage with the local branch of the Irish Wheelchair Association whose views were taken on board. According to Barry Conway, executive engineer, “The progression of this scheme will be of great benefit to the local community and visitors to the town and will make the area safe in terms of accessibility and safety of travel.”
Details of the plans were outlined at a recent meeting of the Ennis Municipal District, with councillors giving their backing to the proposals. The works involve: upgrading of disabled parking spaces to meet current standards; adjustment to footways; provision of kerbing and dropped kerbs; provision of uncontrolled pedestrian crossing; provision of all associated signage and road markings, and associated drainage and ancillary works.
The Ennis Municipal District examined the existing disabled parking locations on Francis Street and the Friary Carpark and concluded “that their existing locations did not and could not comply with most recent requirements for accessibility”.
Further consultation was undertaken with accessibility organisations and the location at the Friary Bow was deemed to be the more accessible location.
Two disabled parking spaces and one age friendly parking space will be provided at this location and the existing disabled parking spaces adjacent to the Museum will revert to standard parking spaces.
The existing disabled spaces on Francis Street will revert to standard parking spaces and parking spaces adjacent to the Friary will be identified as age friendly parking.
At the Abbey Street Carpark the Ennis Municipal District examined the level of accessibility between the rear of Abbey Street and the central-island and river bank in Abbey Street Carpark.
Planned improvements will see the existing pair of disabled parking spaces at the rear of Brewery Lane revised to comply with most recent requirements for accessibility.
Existing two disabled parking spaces and two parking spaces are being converted into three fully accessible disabled parking spaces. The existing disabled parking space in middle parking bay will be removed.
The existing riverbank seating area will be moved to align with the central island area providing accessibility between the central island and the riverbank. The existing riverbank seating area will be removed and returned to parking.
A section of the riverbank at the location of the ramp for the pedestrian bridge has no means for persons requiring full accessibility to travel past the ramp without use of the carpark roadway. The existing kerb line will be adjusted to provide full accessibility with adjustment of the car parking layout required.
At Lower Market Street disabled parking spaces were identified in the revised Casual Trading Byelaws and are not part of the casual trading area. Therefore they will be available at all times to the public. The existing disabled parking on Cabey’s Lane which were provided to give accessible parking during market days are now converted to age friendly parking. The Cabey’s Lane disabled parking spaces did not comply and could not comply with most recent requirements for accessibility. Adjustments to the footpaths and road levels will be required at this location to provide full accessibility.
According to a report put to members of the municipal district the objectives of the proposals are “to provide a safe route for pedestrians and vulnerable users using the existing footway network” and “to upgrade accessible parking in the town to current standards”
There was one submission made regarding the proposals during the statutory consultation period, with An Garda Siochana making no objections to the works.

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