The standard of driving in Cork city has been described as “appalling” with calls for traffic lights at key junctions to be turned off for Christmas.
Fianna Fáil Cllr Terry Shannon made his comments at Monday’s meeting of the Cork City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) as gardaí unveiled details of a citywide Christmas policing and traffic management operation.
Mr Shannon said based on his observation of some driver behaviours, it was apparent that some people have never done a driving test, and that traffic flows better when the traffic lights at key junctions are turned off.
“The standard of driving in the city is appalling. Whether it’s parking on double yellow lines, parking in yellow boxes, or speeding through red rights, people need to be more mindful of their fellow motorists,” he said.
He also called for the installation of cameras at junctions to catch motorists who park in yellow boxes, and clog up entire junctions.
The location of speed camera vans on the N40 South Link Road was also criticised, with Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer branding it “a money-making exercise”.
Speed vans have been parked on the eastbound lanes in recent weeks, where reduced speed limits have been introduced on the approach to the major Dunkettle interchange upgrade project. Speed vans have also been located within the Dunkettle works area.
“Placing speed vans here is in my mind a money-making exercise when there are other parts of the city where speeding is a serious problem, and where there are no speed camera vans. I’m baffled about the location,” he said.
Chief Supt Tom Myers said decisions on where to place speed traps are made at garda headquarters and are based on an analysis of accident locations and times.
“They play a major part in reducing serious road traffic accidents,” he said.
“I welcome that they are in the (Cork city garda) division but I have no personal input into where they are located, but the reason they are where they are is based on statistics.”
JPC members also asked gardai to comment on the impact of road works and new traffic flow arrangements in the city centre, and they said the rationale for the changes have been explained, and that the works are ongoing.
Council chief executive Ann Doherty urged motorists to respect the changes which have been made. City officials are due to brief councillors about the impact of the various road works and new traffic flow arrangements later this month.
Meanwhile, gardaí briefed JPC members about their Christmas policing operation which will include high-visibility city centre patrols from 10am to 8pm, focusing on begging and public order, with a dedicated covert garda unit assigned to tackle street-level drug dealing, drug use, and shoplifting.
Additional gardaí will be deployed in the evenings to cater to the increase in visitors to the city centre during the festive season.
Supt John Deasy said gardaí have opted against static traffic management at strategic junctions, opting instead for a mobile response that can deal with specific issues as and when they occur.
But he did say gardaí are planning a free-flow operation around Mahon Point at specific times to keep the traffic on the bridge over the N40 moving.
The addition of a third exit lane from the shopping centre should help, he said.