The partial pedestrianisation of West Street in Drogheda – from Stockwell Street to the Tholsel building – could be implemented by the end of the summer, with Louth County Council understood to have already undertaken a comprehensive consultation and consideration process.
Councillors voted to formally support the pedestrianisation of the busy shopping area at Monday’s Drogheda Borough Council meeting, held at the Barbican Centre in the town, following a motion tabled by Mayor Kevin Callan.
The local authority first started liaising with Drogheda BIDs’ on the project back in May and have met with Trevor Connolly on a regular basis since then. They have also held talks with Drogheda Chamber of Commerce.
Among the factors that need to be considered by all parties to implement the pedestrianisation of the 175m stretch of street are the town bus service that runs through West Street seven-days-a-week, disability access, timetables and access for deliveries to businesses in the area and access for emergency vehicles.
These factors were raised by Borough Council members at their meeting, as was the provision of additional seating, bins, public toilets and bike racks as part of some say should be improved streetscape in the area. In Dundalk this week, Dundalk BIDs – in conjunction with the council – introduced a new ‘Parklet’ onto Crowe Street in the town (below). These are among the items in consideration for Drogheda.
— Chris (@chrisgasoga) July 5, 2020
A parklet is a footpath extension that provides more space and amenities for people using the street, usually in place of existing parking spaces. Parklets offer a place to stop, to sit, and to rest while taking in the activities of the street – in the case in Dundalk, if offers outdoor seating to 23 Seats. A Click-and-Collect bay is also under consideration, we understand.
LouthNow.ie understands a survey is currently being taken with members of the business community in the West Street and greater area, aimed at identifying needs and wants as part of the pedestrianisation.
The pedestrianisation would likely be implemented only for daytime hours to allow for delivery windows to businesses, as well as waste collection, and to allow free movement of taxis and Garda and ambulance vehicles during busy night time periods.
Any move to pedestrianisation would likely see a vast increase of tables and chairs from on-street cafes, restaurants and pubs onto the existing footpath areas. It is understood that the local authority are currently dealing with applications in relation to this, stemming from businesses’ reaction to Covid-19 social distancing guidelines.
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Speaking on Monday, Mayor Callan said: “For me, we have an opportunity here on West Street to move towards pedestrianisation. This is something we all do together. It can’t be the way it was 20 years ago – where one or two traders say no and it doesn’t happen. We have an awful lot of stakeholders in Drogheda.
“I include in that the parish and people with disabilities, tourism, the traders, people of the town. There is a very clear process that should be started. We have a chance here.”
Sinn Féin’s Joanna Byrne added: “The general consensus back in May was that everyone was behind this. I think it is timely to put pen to paper and put it in black and white. It probably won’t come to fruition overnight but I’d like to see us but a plan in place to start it and build on it.
“Disability access has to be at the forefront of anything being implemented.” She also called for strategic street furniture, additional bins, public toilets and bicycle racks to be included in any future development of the streetscape. “It’s one area in which we’re severely lacking in the town.