Stop the speeding: Cork northsiders say road is 'like Mondello Park'

Stop the speeding: Cork northsiders say road is 'like Mondello Park'
Residents protested at Harbour View Road, Cork where they are looking for traffic calming measures to be implemented in their area. Included were, Don O'Sullivan and secretary Barbara Szecsenyi, and Valerie Haynes wh0se niece Kimberly O’Connor was killed on the road earlier this year. Picture Dan Linehan

The aunt of road traffic victim Kimberly O’Connor is one of a number of residents in the Harbour View Road area who are pleading for traffic calming measures to be implemented on the stretch of road that’s “like Mondello Park” at night.

Residents held a protest in the area today following a number of serious or fatal collisions in the area in recent months.

Valerie Haynes told The Echo that her hope was to save another family from having to go through the pain that her family did, when her 16-year-old niece passed away.

“We’re trying to get measures put in place to slow down traffic, day and night. The road is basically being used as a motorway. It’s a gateway to all parts of the city.

“At night the road becomes a racecourse,” Ms Haynes said, citing a mixture of stolen cars and so-called ‘company’ cars as contributors to this.

It was in one of these ‘company’ cars Ms Haynes’ niece Kimberly was a passenger in the night she was killed in a horror crash.

“It’s like Mondello Park. We’re just calling for something to be done before someone else is killed,” she said.

Another accident, which had the potential to be just as serious as the one Kimberly O’Connor lost her life in, happened on the same stretch of road just weeks ago.

A car, believed to have been stolen, flipped over on Harbour View Road after smashing into a vehicle driven by a pizza delivery man, who was taken to the Mercy University Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Four youths fled from the scene following the incident.

“It was around the same time (of night) that my niece was killed. It just brought it all back up again. It opened up scars that were just fresh.

“They have no respect, these young lads. But, what we’re saying is if there was something put in place to slow them down, it might save some family from going through what we’re going through,” Ms Haynes said.

The protestors spoke to the Lord Mayor Councillor John Sheehan who attended the protest about the need for speed ramps, as well as a number of other local politicians who attended including Councillors Tony Fitzgerald and Mick Nugent, and Deputy Thomas Gould.

“We don’t want to go out and make noise and protest in a negative way. We just stood there voicing our concerns that something needs to be done to the road,” Ms Haynes said, adding that following a survey in the area, some people admitted to being afraid to even cross the road during the day.

“They want to see traffic lights put in there, and zebra crossings. I know at night when they’re speeding they’re not going to slow down for zebra crossings but something will have to be done.

“At the end of the day when they’re going out in these cars, they have to be held accountable for the danger that they are causing as well,” Ms Haynes said.

Sinn Féin councillors Mick Nugent and Kenneth Collins submitted a question on the issue at this week's full council meeting asking what can be done in terms of traffic-calming both in the interim and longer-term on Harbour View Road.

A response from the Executive stated that in the medium term the road is set to be narrowed within the regeneration zone, which they say will naturally encourage road users to slow down.

They have also confirmed the road is on the list for traffic calming measures.

“Roads Maintenance, on an annual basis bring forward to the Members of the Local Area Committees all requests for traffic calming and locations are selected by the Members subject to funds being available.

“As part of the Covid-19 response, cycle lanes are proposed to be extended over further areas of the road in question. Again, this measure will naturally encourage road users to slow down.”

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