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New pedestrian crossing opposed by councillors

New Octagon pedestrian crossing opposed by councillors

Michael Duffy

PLANS by Westport Town Council to introduce a new pedestrian crossing as part of improvement works at the Octagon have been scuppered by local town councillors as they felt the crossing was in the wrong place and could lead to someone being knocked down.
The rest of the improvement works on the Octagon were finally given the go ahead at last week’s meeting of the authority after a full hour long debate. Work can now start but the location of the controversial crossing will be discussed again at next month’s meeting.
Cllr Tereasa McGuire was the first to express concern about the new crossing, which was to be located at the bottom of Quay Hill, running from Desmond’s Barbers to Cobblers Bar.
Cllr McGuire said that traffic coming down Quay Hill travelled fast and the crossing could end up being a danger for pedestrians.
Plans for the Octagon were back before the meeting last week after a period of public consultation had taken place and five submission had been received.
Town Engineer Patrick Corcoran told the meeting that concerns expressed by the public had been addressed and implemented into the new plan. It was planned to increasing lighting in the area, introduce the aforementioned new courtesy pedestrian crossing from Desmond’s Barbers to the Cobblers Bar, remove some trees that were causing obstruction and alter some trading bay areas.
Cllr Ollie Gannon said he welcomed most of what he saw in the plan but he said the council needed to be very careful as the Octagon, along with the town’s river, were ‘jewels in the crown’ and did not need to be altered significantly.
Cllr Michael McLaughlin said the council would do well to keep in mind the impact the crossings would have on the ability of traffic to move through the town swiftly.
“We must not make decisions that are going to clog up the arteries of this town, we don’t want long tailback on the roads into town at the height of the summer. I would also ask the question about what exactly is the legal status of these courtesy crossings?”
However, Cllr Keith Martin said it was time to ‘bite the bullet’ and sign off on the plans for the Octagon.
In the end, a compromise was reached which meant the issue did not have to go to a vote as the plan was adopted with the issue surrounding the crossing to be discussed further at the November meeting.