Tag Archive for 'congestion'

sept 25 2013 Cyclists and buses frustrated as Council Management Make Serious Error

sept 25  2013 derelict building town by CadoganEnright
Cllr Cadogan Enright has strongly criticised Council Management for wasting a unique opportunity to relieve congestion in Downpatrick.

After 2 years of effort I tracked down the owner of this site, with the expectation that the democratic wish of elected representitives would be respected and this site would be brough into public ownership, and that a cycle-lane, turning lane or a bus lane would be provided at this busy junction.
Instead management assisted in getting planning permission. This makes no sense.
Anybody who has experienced traffic tail-backs from this corner back to the cinema or up to ASDA will know what I am taking about.
Cyclists like myself will never be able to use St Patricks Avenue safely for as long as this corner is not rebuilt

sept 9 2013 Editorial credits Cllr Enright with progress on Road Service

sept 9 2013 Editorial traffice town by CadoganEnright
Down Recorder acknowledges that Cadogan Enright, supported by Dermot Curran deserve the credit for pushing the Roads Service into finally admitting there was a problem with congestion in Downpatrick

sept 4 2013 Road Service Finally Bows to pressure

sept 4 2013 traffic town problems by CadoganEnright
Cllr Cadogan Enrights challenge to the Roads Services’ denial that there was congestion in Downpatrick finally succeeded with the resignation of local Roads Service officials who had denied the problem.

The most senior manager at the Roads Service came before Council and admitted there was a problem – while this creates no by-passes , it does allow Council to work with Road Service on the basis that there is a problem.

10th April 2013 letter to editor slamming SDLP on Roads

10th April 2013 letter to editor slamming SDLP on Roads by CadoganEnright

SDLP councillor opposes Councils own plan for relief of roads congestion in Downpatrick – Roads Service has no plan, and SDLP has no plan.

30 years of domination of Down District Council, and the SDLP does not have a plan for the District

TACKLING ROADS SERVICE EXCUSES IN DOWN DISTRICT

LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF DOWN RECORDER RESPONDING TO ARTICLE BY ROADS SERVICE CHIEF

Sir, 

Firstly can I welcome Divisional Roads Manager’s statement regarding plans to tackle traffic management in Downpatrick. I am also pleased that Roads Service will shortly be receiving a comprehensive study to identify and assess potential measures to improve traffic and pedestrian movements at a number of junctions in Downpatrick.  We will be able to add this to the  long line of similar traffic studies which have generated little response from Roads Service in terms of projects on the ground.

The analysis of the congestion problem by Kevin Monaghan in Downpatrick is helpful however, even if it is again lacking in detail.  Mr Monaghan lists some of the schemes and some elements of progress.  But two key issues remain for me as a public representative.

Firstly, the unbalanced consultation into the one-way system at Edward Street continues to be of concern.  Mr Monaghan’s assertion that this is how such consultations are conducted is at variance with best practice in the public service. He admits that the overriding factor for Roads Service was the displacement of 3,000 vehicles from the Edward St area. Why then did Roads Service inform Council that they would use the resurfacing of Edward Street as a test of a one-way system?, and why did they feel a consultation exercise of any sort needed to be undertaken?

Secondly and more significantly, Council is still awaiting detailed responses to a series of questions put to Roads Service at a formal meeting over 7 months ago.

At Council meeting on 22 October 2012 members posed a series of questions to Roads service officials regarding the inadequacy of Road Service’s response to congestion problems in Down District, and Downpatrick in particular.  Questions were also raised about the inadequacy of the Capital Programme for the District. These questions are shown below.  The public statement by Divisional Manager makes no reference either the outstanding questions, or to timetables for each scheme or the likely benefits in terms of traffic flows.

Council Meeting 22nd October 2012 – Questions put to Roads Service Officials

1.    Can you confirm the capital programme for Downpatrick/District and provide  background papers including indicative or detailed costs, Appraisal Summary Tables and supporting documents for all such schemes?

2.    When will construction work start on the A24 Ballynahinch  by-pass scheme?

3.    What is the agreed timetable from Roads Service for each identified improvement  scheme or initiative for Downpatrick,  including those to alleviate traffic congestion?

4.    What improvement in traffic flows for Downpatrick will be generated by these schemes, singly and collectively?

5.    Can Roads Service provide details of all roads schemes considered in last 5 years for Downpatrick in addition to agreed and programmed schemes?

6.    How much additional funding does Downpatrick attract from DRD in recognition of its location on Regional Strategic Transport Network?

 

Council has sought to pursue this information by a series of letters and FoI requests to local Roads service officials, TransportNi, the Permanent Secretary of DRD and the Minister himself.

All responses have been lacking the required detail, despite Roads Service claims that they have supplied answers to what they were asked. Their repeated message is that Downpatrick is no more congested than other Northern Ireland towns. As a consequence Roads Service will continue to deploy inadequate capital investment in the District. Towns like Comber now have two by-passes whereas even the most basic junction upgrades promised years ago in Downpatrick are still not delivered.

Based on their responses to FoI requests, it would appear that they have actually no detailed work done on these projects on most of their project files.

It is clear Roads Service is intent on avoiding answering these questions fully.  Council and local people have a right to know how far each identified scheme has progressed, what stages have been reached in realising each project and what further work is needed by Roads service to make these schemes ready to be implemented.

Council, and I as a public representative, will continue on behalf of the ratepayers who fund the Roads Service, to press for answers and to make available all requested information.

Cllr Cadogan Enright

07590462329

PS I attach a list of in projects in Downpatrick and Down District, featuring the information so far supplied by the Roads Service, in the format used by the Roads Service themselves – you will note that most information boxes are blank.

You might enquire of Roads Service as to why they are unable to fill the blanks

Have a look for yourself at the Roads Service Capital Programme for Down District INCLUDING BLANKS

APRIL 2013 Letter to the Editor on Roads SDLP letting Downpatrick down

Sir,

I am greatly disappointed that an SDLP councillor has broken ranks with the cross-party Roads Task Force so early in the process of trying to ease congestion and facilitate jobs growth in the Downpatrick area. We cannot afford to replace practical plans to resolve these problems with vague platitudes and exhortations.

If Cllr Sharvin does not agree his fellow councillors advancing the conclusions of all the professional studies and plans commissioned to deal with these problems, he must at least advance alternatives to solving the congestion problem. Given the lack of Roads Service support for the town, any divisions on our own plans could be fatal.

The context of what we are trying to do is clear. Under the Ards Down Area plan 2015 Downpatrick is designated as a key sub-regional centre with the aspiration to support a critical mass of population of up to 25,000. But we are constrained by our roads system.

  • The road networks in the town centre converge at the constrained Arts Centre junction of Market Street, Irish Street, Scotch Street, English Street and Church Street. Market Street, St Patricks Avenue and Irish Street function both the commercial centre of the town as well as local distributors for traffic to and from residential and commercial areas of Downpatrick.
  • The layout of the junction at Market Street/Irish Street makes the movements of large vehicles particularly challenging.
  • The A25 main through route includes Belfast Road, Church Street and Market Street. Links from Irish Street and Saint Patricks Avenue also act as distributor roads for a wide range of towns and villages to the South from Ballyhornan to Ardglass to Killough.
  • However the capacity of roads in the Town Centre has not changed since the days of the horse and cart.

Through and local traffic, parking, carrying HGV’s and Translink buses all have specific demands on the street and the combinations of demand contribute to congestion.

The Ards/Down Area Plan and the Masterplan envisages an Eastern Bypass to serve new industrial and employment centres to the South of the Town. The Department of Social Development’s Masterplan for Downpatrick also reflects this, along with a Southern Relief Road around the edge of Dunleath Park and ‘New Street’ to take through traffic away from the congested centre. These conclusions were also supported by JMP Consultants Transport Proposals Report for DSD June 2010 and the Ferguson and McIlveen Development Plan for Downpatrick 2006 commissioned by Council itself.

The recent transfer of the Council and other offices to the new Downshire Public Sector Campus on the Ardglass Road has further exacerbated the already congested nature of the town, particularly at peak times. Six improvements to junctions identified by Roads Service to Council over the last six years were to be in place to meet this major change in employment distribution in the town.

This situation has become so serious that late last year that myself and Cllrs Eamonn McConMidhe and Dermot Curran moved council to set up a cross-party ‘Roads Task Force’ to ensure that all political parties in the District combined their efforts jointly to focus on an agreed agenda for dealing with congestion and roads issues.

Roads Service has failed to advance any of the above.  Our Task Force has been endeavoring to elicit information on the status of these programs with a series of formal requests and FoI applications.

The land for Southern Relief Road from the Ardglass Road, around the back of the cinema and along the waste ground at the edge of Dunleath Park has the advantage of being owned and controlled by Council. Many studies have shown that when though traffic is removed from the congestion picture in any town, trading and commerce improves.

Given that our poor roads infrastructure has been used as a reason to prevent public sector jobs being located in the District, It behooves Cllr Sharvin to read the professional studies, and attend more of our meeting with the Roads Service to keep himself apprised of the realities on the ground.

 

Yours Etc

Cllr Cadogan Enright

075904623429

ROADS SERVICE SHOCK

A statement by Roger Morgan, Principal Engineer, at the Downpatrick Masterplan last week that there was no significant congestion problem in Downpatrick at the area Masterplan meeting has caused shock and concern to all the main players in planning the future of Downpatrick.

Chairing the Masterplan meeting, Cllr Cadogan Enright rejected the comments as ‘ludicrous’.  “Every study over the last ten years has highlighted the congestion issue. Council has been involved with a DSD led initiative involving all Government departments for several years to deliver on programmes identified in the Downpatrick Masterplan. I have attended these meetings along with previous Roads Service managers as part of the Masterplan Steering Group.  We have been attempting to deal with the constraints identified in the Masterplan – principally the accessibility of the town and surrounding areas for vehicular traffic serving both local residents and visitors to the town.”

Cllr Enright believes that the statement by the Principal Engineer may also explain why there has been a failure to advance previously identified schemes to deal with the congestion problem in Downpatrick by Roads Service.

Cllr Cadogan Enright pointed out that “studies confirm the inability of the roads infrastructure to support significant economic development or even serve the needs of the existing residents.”

“These studies include the JMP Consultants Transport Proposals Report for DSD June 2010 and the Ferguson and McIlveen Development Plan for Downpatrick 2006 commissioned by Council itself.  Roads Service has also carried out a number of studies under the auspices of the Sub-regional Transport Plan for the area. The Ards/Down Area Plan and the Masterplan envisages an Eastern Bypass to serve the industrial and employment centres to the South of the Town, This is reflected in the DSD Masterplan, along with a Southern Relief Road and ‘New Street’ to take through traffic away from the congested centre and set the foundations for a critical mass of population of up to 25,000.” Said Cllr Enright and he highlighted that in launching the Area plan in 2009 the then Minister Sammy Wilson stated,

“The plan also identifies the site for a new bypass for Ballynahinch and new distributor roads for both Newtownards and Downpatrick to alleviate traffic circulation issues in those towns”

Cllr Enright confirmed that he had referred this matter to his fellow councillors and Council was now seeking an urgent meeting with Mr Richard Pengelly, Permanent Secretary for the Department for Regional Development Northern Ireland.

“This represents an admission that Roads Service are not serious about tackling the congestion problem.  Clearly senior officials do not see the traffic situation in Downpatrick as a problem at all.  This may in part explain why Roads Service have failed to progress the many major and minor schemes which have been presented by Roads Service at their regular meetings with Down Council over the last 6 years.”  Concluded Cllr Cadogan Enright

Background

Downpatrick serves a large, mainly rural hinterland dependent on the private car for travel to access the town and beyond.

Under the Ards Down Area plan 2015 Downpatrick is designated as a key sub-regional centre with the aspiration to support a critical mass of population of up to 25,000.
· The main road network in the town centre converges at the constrained Arts Centre junction of Market Street, Irish Street, Scotch Street, English Street and Church Street. Market Street and Irish Street function as local distributors for traffic to and from residential and commercial areas of Downpatrick. They also act as routes for through traffic, in addition to their role as shopping streets.

· The layout of the junction at Market Street/Irish Street makes the movements of large vehicles particularly challenging.

· The main north-south route through Downpatrick includes Belfast Road, Church Street and Market Street. Commercial activity in the town centre is focused along Market Street and St Patrick’s Avenue, with some activities on parts of Irish Street. Irish Street and Killough Road link with Market Street at the Irish Street/Market Street junction.
In addition, there are a number of minor roads in the town centre which act as links between the main routes. Market Street and Irish Street, as a result, function as local traffic distributor roads, in addition to their role as shopping areas.

Through and local traffic, parking, carrying HGV’s and Translink buses all have specific demands on the street and the combinations of demand contribute to congestion.

The Ards/Down Area Plan and the Masterplan envisages an Eastern Bypass to serve the industrial and employment centres to the South of the Town, This is reflected in the DSD Masterplan, along with a Southern Relief Road around Dunleath Park and ‘New Street’ to take through traffic away from the congested centre and set the foundations for a critical mass of population of up to 25,000.

The recent transfer of the Council Offices to the new Downshire Public Sector Campus site has further exacerbated the already congested nature of the town particularly at peak times. Six improvements to junctions identified by Roads Service to Council over the last six years were to be in place to meet this major change in employment distribution in the town. Council has been endeavouring to elicit information on the status of these programs with a series of formal requests and FoI applications.

This situation has become so serious that late last year Cllrs Enright, McConMidhe and Curran moved council to set up a cross-party ‘Roads Task Force’ to ensure that all political parties in the District combined their efforts jointly to focus on an agreed agenda for dealing with congestion and roads issues.

Councillor Cadogan Enright
Down District Council
07590462329

SOUTHERN RELIEF ROAD

Downpatrick Councillors have gone on the offensive with the Road Service, and backed a plan from Cllr Cadogan Enright to propose the rapid development of the ‘Southern Relief Road’ to relieve congestion around the town. The motion was seconded by Cllr John Doris and backed by all councillors present. The Southern Relief Road would link the Ardglass Road to the Ballyduggan Road via the back of the Eclipse Cinema and around the edge of Dunleath Park to exit near the Ballydugan Industrial Estate.
Southern Relief Road Route

Southern Relief Road Route

Independent Cllr Enright said “Council has been waiting for several years for the Roads Service to bring forward specific plans to relieve congestion around Downpatrick, in order for the Council to be able to release the budget of £200,000 earmarked when we agreed to develop the ‘Public Sector Jobs Campus’ with the S.E. Health Trust on the old Downshire site.”

“Road Service has failed to bring any proposals forward, and in the absence of their proposals we have referred back to the agreed Downpatrick Masterplan and noted that the Eastern By-pass and Southern Relief Roads were both earmarked for support to ease congestion in the town, and to facilitate the retention and growth of Jobs on the new campus and help Downpatrick achieve the critical mass envisaged by the Ards Area development plan.”
“Almost all the land required for the Southern Relief Road is already in Council hands. The land is not used for playing pitches and has a very low value. The Budget of £200,000 would therefore encompass not only the land required for the project, but also deal with many other of the incidental expenses  This proposal is likely to come before the Policy and Resources Committee of Council in April with support from all parties as it requires a change to the current policy of waiting for the Roads Service to make an acceptable proposal before the funds can be drawn down.”
Cllr Enright thanked John Doris for his support on this proposal.
“A roundabout at the Ballydugan Industrial Estate to serve the Southern Relief Road would have the benefit of slowing down traffic before the ASDA intersection which is a notorious accident hot spot. Combined with the diversion of traffic away from the town, access to and from the shopping centre will become a lot easier. Ambulance access will be quicker up to the Hospital and traffic for the Public Sector Campus at the Downshire will not have to pass though the town from the Western or Clough direction. Our Roads Task Force still have to push Roads Service on plans for resolution of congestion from the Belfast Road direction, and some of the congested junctions around the town have been awaiting a proposal  from Roads Service for 6 years.”
“This plan puts up to the Roads Service – we can offer resources and land to solve up to half the congestion problems in Downpatrick – Roads Service must play their part now as they have failed to do over the last 6 years” Concluded Cllr Cadogan Enright