A truck exits Liberty Square onto Parnell Street, Thurles as a car goes in the opposite direction.
Noel Dwyer runs the rule over the traffic situation at Parnell Street, Thurles
The project to revamp Liberty Square in Thurles will cost €8m or thereabouts and hopefully will turn out to be a great success from an aesthetic point of view at any rate.
However, it is very important for the powers that be to realize that Thurles is a town which, by the very nature of the number of schools being serviced, by busses delivering and taking home the students each day of the school term, and all the other traffic consisting of workers delivery vehicles and service vehicles and HGVs heading to the Midlands, there are bound to be times of the morning and evening when congestion is inevitable.
It is therefore very important that all HGVs in particular heading towards the midlands can exit Liberty Square in as quick and unobstructed a manner as possible.
If that is to be achieved, the only way to do it is to make Parnell Street one-way exiting the Square which would prevent large trucks being held up at the pinch-point at ‘Bookworm’ as can be seen from photo (A) and this would mean that parking could be facilitated from the Credit Union all the way up to Hanafins’ Corner; with Cuchullain Rd. also being made one-way from Parnell Street to the Templemore Road with a ban on all HGVs negotiating Cuchullain Rd. and directed to use the Jimmy Doyle Rd. instead.
The one-way system would also do away with trucks coming from Nenagh being sandwiched between cars exiting Parnell Street and parked cars on the other side with the obvious danger to wing-mirrors and bodywork.
The repeated striking by long trucks of the gable wall of the Phone shop (formerly Bonnars’ Pub) at the exit from Rossa Street onto the Square can be rectified very easily by removing the trees and kerbing opposite this exit to afford long trucks sufficient room to turn. A set of traffic lights at this junction synchronised with another set at the entrance to Slievenamon Road would enable traffic from Templemore to enter the Square at regular intervals.
I remember a town council meeting when Tom Barry was Town Manager, during yet another of the many debates on traffic management in the town he said. “Our big issue is how we use road space and we have to try and do this as best we can. With the way things are in Thurles, we are getting close to having to implement traffic demand similar to what is in place in Dublin…..Even if we had a by-pass in the morning we would still have congestion at peak times; and we are at a time when we need pretty radical decisions.” I agreed wholeheartedly with that appraisal of the situation. The trouble is however, no radical decisions were implemented, although many solutions were suggested.
The Junction at Bowe’s pub (Abbey Road/Friar Street)is actually crying out for a small flat roundabout, and no matter what excuses are put forward by the executive for not putting one there; it is obvious from how effectively the roundabouts on Cathedral St. and the Mill Road junctions are controlling traffic at those busy locations, that a roundabout is the most effective, albeit under-utilised means of traffic disciplining available. Photo (C)
This type of traffic management should require very basic work and cost to implement and in my opinion, if half of the effort and cost put into “traffic-calming” on Cathedral Street and the Templemore Road by installing kerb-build-outs, had been directed towards implementing safer and faster traffic-flow throughout the town, to the best degree possible, it would be more beneficial for everyone.
Hopefully, some of the gigantic sum of money earmarked for the Square will be utilised to put the few basic measures in place to achieve maximum throughput of traffic as quickly as possible ex the Square toward the Midlands; and perhaps also take the cut of dereliction of some of the Square’s arterial streets. Because, if it isn’t the money set aside for this project will be more or less wasted on cosmetic solutions.