Red alert as ‘green route’ turns into nightmare

HAS anyone noticed the big, expensive sign proudly mounted at Wilton roundabout in Cork proclaiming the advent of a so-called green route from Curraheen to the city centre?

The sign informs us that this green route is financed by the EU and under the joint auspices of the Cork city and county councils, as well as the Department of Transport.

It also has the now obligatory slogan: ‘Your Plan. Your Future.’

From such a grandiose display, one would suspect that, with the combined genius of these four agencies, some “green” or environmental benefit would accrue to the local area and residents.

Wrong. The green route has turned Wilton Road into a dangerous, chaotic, racetrack worthy of Mondello.

Increased volumes of large trucks, cars and taxis exceed the speed limit with impunity. Cars and taxis have been measured travelling unchecked at speeds well in excess of 80km/h, day and night.

Wilton Road is now probably the most polluted and dangerous road in the country, with huge increases in noise, air pollution and stress for residents.

The health and wellbeing of local residents and the environmental impact were clearly not considered during the confused planning of this scheme.

Again, as with the flooding, the snow and the shallow burst pipes, none of these august official bodies takes any responsibility for the resultant mess.

Amazingly, the Road Safety Authority washed its hands of it as there were no media kudos for it in a “minor” local matter, passing the buck to the councils which absolved themselves of any responsibility, indicating the gardaí were “tasked” with such matters.

The local gardaí were very sympathetic but referred the issue to their traffic division. Unfortunately, nothing has changed as the Garda Traffic Division either doesn’t have the resources or it has other priorities.

A number of serious accidents have occurred recently due to speeding and to compound the problem for pedestrians, cyclists are now using the footpaths to avoid injury on the road — further accidents waiting to happen. The mayhem is exacerbated by the absence of traffic lights at the Wilton Gardens intersection and lights and pedestrian crossings at Wilton roundabout, known locally as ‘Suicide Roundabout’. A green route in this case is nonsensical and a contradiction in terms.

As with the equally silly terms “smart economy” and “centres of excellence”, our “green route” appears to be a fabrication dreamt up by the authorities to give the poor idiot taxpayer an illusion of activity and progress.

Perhaps a spokesperson for the city council or one of the local politicians, who presumably voted on this issue, would explain the environmental, economic, operational and social benefits of these green routes.

Was an environmental impact study ever done? I doubt it.

There is an irrefutable case for reducing the speed limit in urban residential areas to 30km/h.

It has been proven that such a reduction would improve traffic flow and, if implemented countrywide, would save untold millions in imported fuel, not to mention the related health benefits and positive environmental effects.

It is just daft to allow vehicles to speed at 50km/h and more for short distances in urban areas, requiring them to brake hard at traffic lights, pedestrian crossings or roundabouts.

The enlightened councils in Dublin and Dun Laoghaire have already implemented such reductions to good effect.

The speed limit for national roads can be reduced by agreement with the Department of Transport and the NRA.

A reduction of the speed limit to 30km/h, if controlled properly, would be an acceptable solution for all concerned.

John Cooney

Wilton Road

Cork

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