Members of a combined residents association representing Cornamagh, Lissywollen, Cornamaddy, Garrynafela, and Williamstown have written an open letter to Westmeath County Council in protest against the proposal to install a cycleway crossing at the White Gates.
The association says that the plan to place a traffic light system - toucan crossing - where the cycleway intersects with the Ballymahon Road at the White Gates, coupled with proposals to introduce a westward one-way system on Church Street, will lead to increased traffic at the already busy Crescent Junction.
“These two developments above are set to make the White Gates a big choke point on our road,” the letter reads.
“To simply run the cycleway across the Ballymahon Road - Athlone’s busiest road - defies logic. As the cycleway proceeds westward and attracts more visitors and locals, the potential for traffic disruption and queues can only get worse,” it adds.
The letter also asks the council to consider the effect the increased traffic on the Ballymahon Road will have on CIE’s bus service. “The bus station is on one side of the White Gates while the M6 and the northern and southern routes are on the other. Their buses will be caught up in queues on both sides of the White Gates, hardly good for their timekeeping.”
The residents voiced their support for the cycleway, but not at the expense of traffic congestion in their locality. In this vein, they suggested the addition of a footbridge to run over the road as the solution.
“In light of the traffic disruption that lies ahead, we are now calling on you not to proceed with the proposed intersection at the White Gates but to press ahead with our alternative proposal for a narrow (the cycleway is 12 feet wide ) light steel bridge (no significant loading on it ) with long inline wings to give a gradient for the cyclists.
“Leave us, please, with our Ballymahon Road as we know it, blighted as it already is by six sets of lights and stop-start traffic.”