Controversial traffic flow plans to be enforced by Malahide schools

by Rebecca Ryan

A one-way system and no-car zone are being introduced outside two Malahide primary schools on a pilot basis despite concerns expressed locally.

Fingal County Council is forging ahead with its School Streets initiative in a bid to improve the safety of pupils attending St Oliver Plunkett’s and St Andrew’s.

The traffic measures for the first scheme of its kind in the country will be put in place for 18 months following lengthy debate which has divided the local community.

Under new traffic rules, which were voted in by area councillors, a section of Grove Road will become a designated car-free, cycling zone from November 18.

Access will be restricted at school dropoff and collection times during school terms.

The local authority says the measures are necessary to address school gate congestion, unsafe parking and blocking of footpaths, road safety risks due to vehicular movements, children being exposed to excess air pollution, and car-dependent children being less physically active.

Disabled Badge holders, if living within the zone, and residents with permits living on Grove Road between Church Road and The Rise, will be exempt from restrictions.

Free ‘Park & Stride’ facilities will be provided for parents and children of both schools at Bridge Field car park, Back Road car park and Seabanks car park, which are all within a 10 to 15-minute walk of the schools.

Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Eoghan O’Brien (FF), said: “The School Streets initiative is a bold plan. The current situation outside both St Oliver Plunkett’s and St Andrew’s schools is unsustainable.”

Cllr O’Brien, who grew up in Malahide and lives in nearby Kinsealy, said he hoped to see the scheme rolled out across Fingal if it proves successful.

He called on parents, children, residents and businesses to support it. A total of 51 submissions were received by Fingal County Council during a public consultation period – some in favour, but the majority opposed to the move.

The council amended the proposed 24/7 oneway system to a no right turn/no left turn from the Mall to the Rise for two and a half hours from Monday to Friday.

In his submission, Deputy Alan Farrell (FG) warned that while the plan would improve pedestrian safety, it would impact traffic on Church Road and most likely result in gridlock – an argument which was echoed in several other submissions.

One long-time resident of Grove Road who supported the scheme said it would put an end to cars using the route as a “rat run” to avoid the village – many of them speeding at more than double the 30kph limit.

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