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Speed surveys to be carried out on Ballybeg Road in Ennis

STATE-of-the-art signs aimed at reducing speed on the roads can lose their effectiveness if they are used too much, the council’s executive engineer with responsibility for Ennis has warned.
Residents of the Ballybeg Road have been urging that speed ramps, and or VMS signs which highlight how fast drivers are travelling, be installed by the council to deter speeding.
Eamon O’Dea told a meeting of the Ennis Municipal District that if VMS signs are used too often to deter speeding they can become normalised and their effect “significantly reduced”.
He was speaking in response to a motion by Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy who highlighted concerns about pedestrian safety in the Ballybeg area. The councillors stated, “There has been a welcome abundance of pedestrians and cyclists along the Ballybeg Road as people take the loop walk along the Kilrush Road and Limerick Road, and locals who walk are complaining about the speeding on the road which I have observed and find very concerning.
“Locals are seeking to have speed ramps installed along the Ballybeg Road akin to those along the Golf Links Road, on Cahercalla Road, along Tobarteascain and/or to install a VMS flashing signs,” she said.
Responding to the motion, Mr O’Dea stated, “The Ennis Municipal District will carry out speed surveys on Ballybeg Road. If the speeds recorded warrants further interventions, the details will be forwarded to an Garda Siochana for their review of traffic enforcement locations.”
The councillor re-emphasised the popularity of Ballybeg, stating that many people travel to the locality from many parts of Ennis. She welcomed the provision of funding to build a footpath from the water tower to the Kildysart Road. However, she argued, “I’m really concerned about pedestrian safety, I have witnessed near misses.” She stated that the route has blind bends and dips, and she urged that any traffic surveys be carried out during commuting times with many people considering the route a short-cut.
She asked why there is a “reluctance” to consider VMS signs, saying she finds them very helpful. Councillor Paul Murphy voiced his “whole-hearted” agreement with the motion, saying the route “can be dangerous”. He said that the planned footpath will make the area a lot of safer.
Councillor Ann Norton stated, “This motion is hugely important for the safety of not alone the residents but others using the facilities around Ballybeg and going into the woods.”
Councillor Pat Daly commented that the area is a “hugely popular walk” which is used by many people from the town adding there is “a lot of speeding going on.”
In response to Councillor Colleran Molloy’s queries about the speed survey timings Mr O’Dea stated they would be done over a 24, 36 and 48 hour period giving “a very clear picture”. He insisted, “If people are not driving within the speed limit they are breaking the law.”
He stated that the planned footpath could begin works in July or August, however it is dependent on the roadworks programme.
Speaking about VMS signs, he said that there is a concern that if they are installed in many locations their effectiveness would be reduced. He said that where there is a “significant danger” at a location then they will be considered but, “we have this concern that we start putting them up everywhere, which would be suitable in certain circumstances that it ends up people begin to ignore them like they ignore the speed limit signs.”

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