The call, from Independent Cllr Pat Nugent, comes as the renovation in Dungarvan approaches completion. The work is part of a five-year Smarter Travel scheme, costing €7.2m.
The restoration is based on the ‘shared space’ concept, whereby streets are shared between pedestrians and vehicles, with equal priority at junctions, enhanced traffic calming and a strong emphasis on cycling.
The town centre’s traffic lights have been removed and pedestrian and zebra crossings installed. However, there is concern that the zebra crossings are not shaded strongly enough to alert motorists to their presence. The scheme has divided opinion as people adjust to lesser defined parking spaces and traffic movement. Motorists have tended to ‘over-park’ with bumpers encroaching on sidewalks and there have been reports of pedestrians tripping over the drainage system.
One junction — with Mary Street — has seen lights replaced by a mini roundabout which locals have labelled ‘the fried egg.’ Cllr Nugent has termed the junction’s new layout “neither a footpath nor a road” and says many constituents are unhappy with it.
“They don’t even realise there is an egg there. It’s an accident waiting to happen.”
He says there are particular concerns over lorries’ manoeuvrability across the thoroughfare.
Cllr Séamus O’Domhnaill told November’s Dungarvan-Lismore Municipal District meeting that he “would like to bring a frying pan” to whoever designed the egg.
Cllr Nugent told the meeting that the square was “extremely grey”, with no differentiation between the footpath, drain and main pedestrian area.
“Surely the fried egg at least could have a bit of colour so people can understand it is there,” he pleaded.
The councillor said he had visited other towns with similar schemes and “different colour tiles had been used”. He wondered if “a spray or something” could now be used create colour divides, adding that otherwise accidents would occur and “insurance claims may well follow.”
Waterford Council senior executive engineer for roads Gabriel Hynes has said that the work would be “substantially completed” by the end of the week and a cleaning-up process would ensue. There would follow a safety audit and he asked councillors to wait until that process was completed before looking at the issue again.