Councillor Cadogan Enright has welcomed proposals from ASDA to fund a roundabout or junction on the Ballydugan Road, and has written to both ASDA management and Road Service Engineers to remind them that pedestrians need to be catered for as well.
Cllr Enright said, “It has been clear for some time that ASDA’s trade was being affected by the poor layout of the Roads at the Racecourse end of the town. I am glad they have finally realized that they can help themselves by helping the town by resolving traffic congestion at this junction. I don’t know anyone who does not have a horror story to tell about this congestion. I remember Christmas 2010 when my wife was trapped for 4 hours in the ASDA car-park, and unbelievably had 3 points knocked off her driving license for ‘phoning me from the stationary car to collect our child from school”.
Cadogan said, “But these proposals do not properly consider pedestrians. I think every able-bodied person in Downpatrick has jumped over the wall of the blocked-up pedestrian entrance to the ASDA complex opposite the Leisure Centre. I suspect that none of the ASDA management walk to work, thus it would not occurred to them what an inconvenience the lack real pedestrian access is. Friends of mine are staff in ASDA, and they all hop over the wall to get to the bus station on the way home”.
The Downpatrick Councllor said, “I have pointed out that if they want to make a success of the new roundabout, it is in their interests that this junction is not the main crossing point for pedestrians as well. The new Leisure Centre is being built at the same time on the other side of the road, so we have a chance to do things right both for pedestrians and for cars.
“If you stand for an hour on a Saturday morning, you will see 100 people jump the wall of the closed off pedestrian entrance. There is no doubt that convenient access by foot would reduce the congestion for road vehicles. The Bus Station is at that end of the site, so it makes sense for people to be allowed to use the original pedestrian entrance. I will pursue this issue in a determined manner over the next few months, and call upon local people to make their feelings known when this proposal comes up for planning approval”, concluded Cllr Enright.