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Kilkenny City’s temporary one way system is the sole item up for discussion among councillors today

Today's decision could impact the long term plans for the city centre

Kilkenny city councillors will meet later today (Friday) to decide the fate of the temporary one-way system.

It was brought in as a Covid measure in June 2020 (see here) and saw an expansion of the pedestrian space to allow for social distancing along High Street and Rose Inn Street.

That narrowed both routes with two-way traffic eliminated leaving a circular flow from John’s Bridge up Rose Inn Street to the Parade, along High Street, onto Bateman Quay and back to John’s Bridge.

The plan was reviewed in June 2021 and extended by a year, its current reign expired on Wednesday, 22nd June.

Decision Time

As it came in as a statutory road closure, councillors have to decide if there’s still a need for it to continue and, if so, if any amendments to it are required. If returned to two-way it would take three to four weeks approx to remove the bollards and road markings.

The elected representatives’ decision was due at their monthly meeting two weeks ago but they postponed talking about the issue to give themselves time to take part in workshops examining options.  These took place this week after which they’ll focus on the issue at a special meeting.

That takes place today and, in reality, while many think the result will bring an end to the process it’s actually only the start.

Future Planning

That’s as Kilkenny County Council is also separately looking to the future. Director of Services Tim Butler previously told KCLR News that “We’re really going to look at city mobility and how Kilkenny City is going to develop having regard to the hierarchy of pedestrians, cyclists, public transport and motorists and everybody needs to be catered for but also we need to be thinking about Town Centre First, climate action, air quality, noise pollution so all those things will come into it as well”.

He added “We have a good opportunity here in Kilkenny City because we have a fantastic city, it’s maintained quite well and we really can make it better for everybody into the future but we need everybody to come on board and be part of that sustainable mobility plan which will be developed over the next year to year and a half”.

That long-term plan will require full public consultation and engagement with all stakeholders so there’ll be opportunities for everybody to have their say.

Opinion Divided

Opinion over the last two years has been divided (see here and here and here) – some believe it’s been bad for businesses and adds to travel times choking up the city centre, others say it’s better hailing their ability to better traverse the streets and enjoy all they hold.

Kilkenny County Council carried out two surveys – one on the Business Response,the other on the Wider Community Response While Kilkenny Chamber carried out its own – John Hurley outlined its findings to our Sinéad Burke in December 2021 (hear that here).

What the councillors are now thinking and what they’ve learned will be outlined today.

These locals have been telling KCLR News what they would like to say to them before that meeting: