Regrettably, the excellent and cogent letter from M.Krasa, headed ‘Community ignored in planning row’ (Irish Examiner, November 9), highlights a problem that is far from unique.
Quite correctly, he states that local democracy is indeed at an all-time low as is the trust and regard for the public service and politicians among many. It appears that the default position among planners, managers and officials, often bereft of common sense as well as visual and cultural intelligence is to reject and dismiss out of hand, community evidence and objections, however well balanced and fact-based.
There are many well-documented cases but Wilton/Bishopstown is another area that has been blighted by official neglect and negligence for over two decades resulting in poor road design and short-sighted planning, dangerous truncated bus lanes and equally dangerous associated road markings, as well as substandard footpaths and the absence of promised dedicated cycle lanes.
For instance, not so long ago Wilton Road (only 9.3m wide) was a pleasant residential area but subsequent decisions have by Cork City Council have turned it into a dangerous highly polluted, congested and noisy thoroughfare with up to 9,000,000 annually or 24,500 per day traversing the area. According to Cork City Speed surveys in 2011 and 2014, a staggering 1,500,000 vehicles break the speed limit annually or 4,109 per day.
In 2013, Chief Superintendent Finn in a letter stated that the junction at Wilton Gardens was “clearly unsafe” and that speeding was a serious concern. Cork City Council management and officials rejected the findings of their own speed surveys and to this day have done nothing about the dangerous junction at Wilton Gardens.
Other letters from senior gardaí (who were vehemently against the imposition of the bus lane on safety grounds in 2003) indicate that over 100,000 accidents, many serious, have occurred on Wilton Road, mainly associated with the bus lane and the junction at Wilton Gardens since.
These are just some of the problems which residents and all road users have to deal with on a daily basis. The planners have approved the proposed development of Wilton Shopping Centre which will exacerbate the problems hugely and will conservatively increase traffic levels to well over an unsustainable gridlocked 10,600,000 vehicles per annum or nearly 30,000 per day.
The most disappointing aspect of the ongoing Wilton/Bishopstown fiasco is the abject failure of local politicians to exercise their core duty to protect the health, safety, welfare and interests of their constituents over the years. All have been made fully aware of the multiple problems through correspondence and meetings but have been markedly ineffective in delivering even a single modest mitigating solution. Remarkably none have raised concerns about the proposed Wilton Shopping Development.
The people of Cork deserve better, much better.