A GRATTAN Street resident has said that city council is failing in its duty to protect locals, amid claims they can’t open their windows due to overpowering car fumes.
Chairman of the Middle Parish Community Centre, George Patterson said that he would “not be averse to legal action” if air monitoring results support his claims.
Mr Patterson said that the volume of traffic has been overwhelming since the Patrick Street car ban - to reduce traffic congestion - diverted vehicles to other routes. It has been three years since restrictions were put in place to prohibit traffic on Patrick Street from 3pm to 6.30pm with the exception of emergency vehicles, taxis and buses.
George said that the fumes and traffic congestion on Grattan Street have been a nightmare ever since.
He added that the so-called robot trees - introduced to combat air pollution on Patrick Street last month - would have been better suited to a residential area. The €350,000 structures boast in-built sensors to gather air quality data and TV screens to share information about air quality in the city.
“They are putting these expensive filters in the high street when all they really are is decor,” George said. “The fact is that Patrick Street is closed to motorists from 3.30pm every day. However, these fumes are affecting people living in a residential area. We don’t have these robot trees, yet we are probably the ones who need them the most.
“Traffic queues are forming all day long. They are stopped for ages outside our doors and when vehicles accelerate it only amplifies the level of pollution that is being released.”
He said that locals are not having their voices heard.
“Neighbours are complaining that they are sick of straightening the pictures hanging on their walls as a result of the vibrations from the passing vehicles. If this continues and nothing positive is done, then the threat of legal action will always be there. I have a lot of respect for the council but some of the actions they’re taking are very wrong.
“By introducing the robot trees into Cork city they are effectively admitting that Cork has a pollution problem. If this is correct then it’s hard to believe that all the cars have been diverted from Patrick Street to our residence and we aren’t getting the same treatment.”
Mr Patterson said the situation has left him with a bad taste in his mouth.
“We’re not sure when these fumes will be filtered out of our lives but as it stands we can’t leave our windows open.
“Because we are in a valley they sit there. You can taste the car fumes.”
Mr Patterson said he plans to obtain his own air monitoring device to measure the extent of the problem.
“Once we’ve gathered our own information we will then know what further action to take or if we need to look into legal action.”
The Echo has asked City Council for comment.