Issues On Carrigaline’s ‘Southern Relief Route’
‘Residents are getting very vocal about this’, said Cllr Liam O’Connor (FG), whose motion at Monday’s meeting of Carrigaline Municipal District (MD) urging Cork County Council to take in charge the main road section of Forest Hill estate in order to install urgently needed traffic calming measures was unanimously supported.
With nearby Ferney Road currently closed, (except for local access), until the spring, traffic, including buses and trucks, through what is effectively part of a southern relief route for Carrigaline, has increased significantly at Forest Hill.
‘The main through road divides the estate, with 70 houses on one side and the majority on the opposite,’ said Cllr O’Connor. ‘At present, there are no pedestrian push button crossings along it to allow residents to cross safely.
‘This needs to be addressed and traffic calming measures, such as the installation of raised platforms to slow speeding traffic, need to be introduced. The nearby Castle Heights estate is under construction and its completion will add to the current volume of traffic in addition to the bus service currently running through Forest Hill.’
Noting that the estate had not yet been taken in charge, he called on the council to do so in respect of its through road so that traffic calming measures could be added and thereby ensure a safe passage for residents, children and motorists.
In a report, senior engineer in the Roads Design Office, John Slattery said Forest Hill spine road was part of the overall outer relief road as set out in the Local Area Plan which had a set of planning objectives that also included the relief road from Crosshaven Road to the roundabout at Ferney Road/Forest Hill and the one to be developed through Castle Heights when fully constructed.
‘Although the installation of controlled pedestrian crossings or other traffic calming measures as suggested, would be unusual for such a distributor route, consideration will be given by the council to the installation of such measures once the estate is taken in charge, if required. In the meantime, the council will monitor traffic volume and behaviour and will intervene, if required’, he added.
Cllr O’Connor however, said that right now, there were lots of pedestrians, especially children, who had to cross the busy through road at Forest Hill to reach green areas etc. Traffic would increase when Castle Heights was completed so the lack of crossings and other measures was of growing concern to residents he met during the recent election campaign.
With the spine road private because the estate hadn’t been taken in charge, they were stuck in a limbo situation, said Cllr O’Connor who asked that his motion be re-submitted with a view to getting the road section taken in charge and traffic calming measures installed.
‘A relief road going through a housing estate is very flawed,’ said Cllr Aidan Lombard (FG) seconding. He stressed the need to look at the bigger picture for Carrigaline and map out a route outside housing estates in the next county development plan.
Cathaoirleach Seamus McGrath (FF) also supported the motion saying he too met with residents concerned about significantly increased traffic and speeding.
‘From day one, I argued that there should have been traffic calming on that road and requested this but the response I got was that it was designed in such a way that it didn’t require traffic calming which I disagree with’.
There was a precedent for the council putting in traffic calming before the entire estate was taken in charge in the case of Mount Oval, Rochestown, said Cllr McGrath, adding that the road through Forest Hill was in effect, a public road that would become busier.
He proposed that the motion unanimously supported by the MD go to the council’s roads design office and planning directorate with a request to have the road taken in charge.
Cllr Audrey Buckley (FF) concurred saying she too got e-mails and phone calls about the road, especially since buses were diverted to it from Ferney Road which is currently being upgraded. Cllr O’Connor’s motion was adopted.