To be fair, Ruairi and the gang down at Greystones District Council Offices did send out a warning on September 16th.
There were changes afoot along our main thoroughfare, from Mill Road right up through Church Road.
Only trouble was, no one was told there’d be bollards running up and down the town.
Lots and lots – and, yep, lots – of bollards. Sucking up every single parking space, legal and illegal.
Which had a few businesses up in arms. Declan of Fitzpatrick Drycleaners was ready to take Wicklow County Council to, well, you know, when he posted on social media that his customers could no longer do a drop and run outside.
The comments below the post were divided though, some delighted that people would now be encouraged not to block up the main street, and maybe even have to walk to their destinations, whilst others were notably less impressed. ‘It’s a terrible deface of the town,” reckoned bright sparkie Troy Gillett. “I cannot see the point of it other then [sic] making life more difficult‘, whilst old dog Eugene Finnegan [below] seconded the motion that this was a ‘terrible defacing of the town‘ whilst also bemoaning the fact that ‘nobody was consulted as far as I can see‘.
Well, there was that press release, but, it was all a little vague. No mention of even one bollard, never mind 5,327 of the buggers. And when it came to converting ‘existing parking bays along the main road/business street element of Church Road in the town centre to public realm space‘, well, where on Church Road exactly? And what the frick will this public realm space actually be?
We got in touch with town engineer Ruairi O’Hanlon to try and find out, and he promptly replied…
‘The black ones with the yellow bands are permanent until the end of Covid. The red and white barriers are temporary and will be replaced next week by tree and flower planters. All Covid works as previously described and notified.’
We asked Ruairi to explain where exactly, and what would it all look like, and he promptly stopped replying. You can read those Covid works as previously described and notified here. Whatever about the sense behind the works themselves, the fact that the traders in the town seemingly weren’t given an explanation of what was happening, and what the new Church Road landscape might be, is really the issue here.
As with the closing of the Kilcoole car park in the summer, and the contested new footpath design up in Blackrock, it’s clear that people don’t like waking up to new rules and surprise road works. A little forewarning, and maybe even a drawing or two – sell it if you want people to buy it – can go a long way to alleviating such kneejerk but natural reactions. Otherwise, it’s just the council equivalent of the chair pull.
So, go take a look over those Covid changes in the heart of town. There’s definitely some common sense in there, as we said – more space for social distancing, and for shops to serve outside, plus bigger paths for the disabled – but it’s still hard to figure out exactly what, where and how the results will be.
In the meantime, we’ll try and unearth some plans from Ruairi, so we can all be ready for this bigger, better, brighter and braver new world he has planned for us…
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