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To: Mayo Councillors, Mayo County Council

Trial pedestrianisation of Pearse Street in Ballina for July and August

Cllr Mark Duffy’s idea to trial the pedestrianisation of Pearse Street in Ballina should be supported. At busy times, the street is currently overcrowd and doesn’t allow for social distancing — no politician or business owner who cares about public health can honestly object to this.

Under COVID-19 Mobility Plans, towns such as Ennis and Malahide and cities like Cork have already acted for the protection of their residents and enabling businesses by implemented pedestrianisation fast... why not Ballina? Do people objecting or wanting to delay think they know better than public health experts?

The council should also look at quickly widening footpaths with temporary materials in locations such as outside the tourist office and the former shop called The Gem where the footpath is hardly wide enough for a wheelchair or large pram, never mind social distancing.

Why is this important?

Benefits include:

— Allowing space for social distancing, giving shoppers and other visitors a higher level of safety.
— Allowing for extra space for those who most need it and still need to get about.
— Space for outdoor eating from cafes and pubs without cluttering footpaths.
— More space for the already growing influx of shoppers and tourists.
— The junction at the centre of town will likely flow better with traffic if it was just coming from two ways rather than the current three directions which causes congestion.
— Only remove a relatively small number of parking spaces compared to the car parks on both sides of the street.
— Have no effect on car parks at AIB Bank or Bank of Ireland or the taxi rank.

Some people objecting to changes like this is normal around the world, but a small number of businesses and residents objecting to this should not be allowed to stall this as happens with so much else in Ballina, especially given the strong public health reasoning. When we’re over the current crisis and people don’t like it, it can be removed then.

It is only around 140 metres of the street and the street is lined with car parks on both sides with access via laneways.

More parking spaces for people who have disabilities or mobility issues can be provided at both ends of the street and near the pedestrian entrances in the car parks. Shot stay spaces can also be provided. The taxi rank outside AIB would not be changed.

As other towns have shown, this can be done quickly and cheaply with a mix of planters and bollards. It does not require much funding but if the council requires funding, there is national funding available for post-lockdown mobility measures like this.

This was not tried before (it was Tone Street) and for a trial to be meaningful it needs to be trialled for a month or two. In the first week or two traffic might increases as people get used to it, but that’s not a reason to pull the plug.

Ballina, Co. Mayo, Ireland

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2020-07-08 07:07:56 +0100

100 signatures reached

2020-07-06 01:42:14 +0100

50 signatures reached

2020-07-05 21:08:37 +0100

25 signatures reached

2020-07-05 16:28:53 +0100

10 signatures reached