Hundreds of people have signed a petition calling for urgent improvements to be made to cut speeding in Youghal’s busy Ashe Street.
The residents fear someone will be “seriously injured or worse”, unless immediate action is taken to address “serious traffic problems” along the suburban street.
Just 100 meters in length, Ashe Street at its narrowest point, is just 10 feet wide, meaning cars coming in opposite directions cannot pass each other out.
It has no footpaths, traffic calming or speed restriction. It runs parallel to the town’s Main Street which forms part of a one-way system serving Youghal, and is used as a rat run to avoid congestion.
Resident, John Rosney, told the East Cork Municipality on Monday 2 September “two-way traffic is impossible on Ashe Street, at its narrowest point, so cars speed up in order to avoid reversing uphill or downhill.”
“There are no speed signs the entire length of Ashe Street and, for some residents, leaving their home is extremely hazardous as they are stepping out into the traffic flow” he said.
More than 200 people have signed the petition to look at ways of making the street safer for pedestrians, particularly children and people using mobility scooters.
East Cork Municipality Chairwoman, Mary Linehan Foley, received the petition to hand over to THER Cork County Council Roads and Transportation departments.
The petition calls on the Local Authority to provide a series of safety measures that include a footpath and speed cushions, road signs showing the maximum speed of 30kph and width of vehicle restrictions.
The residents have also asked for the regular ticketing of cars parked on double yellows, road markings at the Jailhouse and Town Wall steps, to alert drivers to Ashe Street.
They also require the removal and set back of the wall on Ashe Street, south of Taylor’s Lane to the new houses, and the creation of a footpath in its place.
There have been four crashes on the feeder road in the past 3 years the most serious of which was last July when a person, believed to be under the influence of a substance, lodged their car in the side wall of Mary and Jerry Keohane’s home.
Mary was trapped inside the property alone for up to 90 minutes.
The incident caused the road to be closed for up to 5 months, with the Keohane’s having to find alternative accommodation for that period.
The ordeal has left the couple traumatised. Jerry has had two seizures since the accident which, doctors say, are likely to be stress related and, since returning home last Christmas, Mary has developed panic attacks.
Committee Chairwoman, Cllr Mary Linehan Foley, said it is just luck that no one has been seriously injured or killed on the road to date. ”It goes wide, it goes narrow, and something has to be done with the area as soon as possible, or we are going to be sitting with a fatality or an injury” she said.
Cllr Susan McCarthy said “the compliance issues of speed and people parking on double yellow lines need to be tackled, with cross agency help from the Gardaí and Traffic Wardens.” Cllr Michael Hegarty said the Ashe Street deputation highlighted one of the most serious health and safety issues to come before Council.
He said “there is an obligation, both legally and morally, on the Council and Engineers to ensure that the residents of the area can live in an environment that is safe for both themselves and their children. We’ve done enough talking and it’s time now for action.”
Senior Engineer Cork Roads, Dave Clark. is expected to report back to Council on the matter next month.