The vote against the proposed Menlo Park/Headford Road junction is not a rejection of plans to improve traffic flow in the area, but an opportunity to deal with it in a better, more imaginative manner.
This is the view of Labour councillor Billy Cameron who is calling on city officials to meet with Alan Kelly, the Minister of State at the Department of Transport, to discuss new road and traffic plans for the Headford Road, and on retaining funding from the National Roads Authority.
This follows a proposal put forward by Cllr Michael Crowe at Monday night’s Council meeting to reject the proposal to vary the city development plan to facilitate a new junction to replace the roundabout.
City Hall’s plans to replace major roundabouts in the city with signalised junctions came to a halt at Monday’s city council meeting when all 15 councillors voted against a proposal to replace the five exit Menlo Road/Headford Road roundabout with a four set signalised junction.
City officials warned councillors that voting against the plans would result in losing NRA funding set aside for the project. However councillors supported resident’s concerns that the plans, as they currently stand, will only serve to increase the area’s already heavy traffic flow and adversely affect local businesses.
Labour councillor Billy Cameron, believes the vote allows time for more consultation and a better plan for future road developments to be drawn up for the area. To this end he is seeking to facilitate a meeting in City Hall this morning between city officials and Minister Kelly on the issue.
Following an hour long debate on the controversial plans on Monday, councillors voted unanimously to oppose the upgrade, following an active campaign by residents, which included some 900 submissions to City Hall on the plans.
City Hall officials were critical of the councillor’s decision, accusing them of going for the “do nothing” option.
However, Cllr Cameron proposed that City Hall should not see this as a “do nothing” result, but instead proactively engage with the NRA and argue that funding should be maintained and other options on how to improve traffic flow in the area be explored.
Cllr Michael Crowe said that he confirmed sometime back that he was withdrawing support for the proposed layout of this particular junction to replace the roundabout.
“I have been a long-time advocate of the new system in the city.
‘I have proposed all of the changes heretofore and as a result traffic in the City is flowing better but I’m afraid that there was outright local opposition to what was been proposed here and therefore we had no option but to abandon current plans and see if an alternative could be agreed in the future.