THERE is no negativity towards a pedestrian crossing in Newport, and the loss of four car-parking spaces should not be an impediment for not having one, according to community representative Majella Palasz.
The long-running saga surrounding a pedestrian crossing for Newport was once again raised at last week’s meeting of the Roads and Transportation Strategic Policy Committee during a discussion on road safety.
A pedestrian crossing for the town had previously been ruled out in 2016 after the town was deemed to have failed to meet the necessary criteria. However, after some intense political pressure, a review of the survey was undertaken, and it proved that the town did in fact require a pedestrian crossing.
However, at a previous SPC meeting in July, it was revealed that Mayo County Council received a ‘little bit of negative feedback’ over the proposed location of the crossing on Main Street because it ‘could affect car parking spots’.
At last week’s meeting, Ms Palasz, a SPC member, stated that there was no negativity in the community towards the installation of a pedestrian crossing.
“There is no negative feedback. We had consultation in the form of Community Futures, they have categorically said that the community as a whole needs a pedestrian crossing. We were forced to go onto a design review. The feedback was that we needed a pedestrian crossing. How many more meetings do we need to have to get the point across that unanimously, as a community, we want a pedestrian crossing?” she said.
Ms Palasz added that there are 200 car parking spaces in Newport and that it is ‘a given’ that spaces would be lost to cater for a pedestrian crossing but that there would still be sufficient spaces. She also demanded to know why there is still no pedestrian crossing.
“Am I going to go back to the people of Newport and saying ‘Guess what, the reason we don’t have a pedestrian crossing is because it will take up four car-parking spaces’?” she asked, adding: “Nowhere in the criteria is that [loss of car park spaces] best policy. We fit all the criteria, we have completed the surveys and done what is asked of us, and I need to know from the governing authority why it has not been done.”
Director of Services Tom Gilligan said a town design scheme is being undertaken for Newport and that a pedestrian crossing may be incorporated in the overall town design. He said the issue would be best discussed and sorted out in the West Mayo Municipal District rather than at a SPC meeting.
West Mayo councillor Brendan Mulroy agreed the decision should be one for the municipal area to make, and said they should put it on the agenda of the next municipal meeting. He said it was time elected members make a decision and ‘take the heat’.