School parking ‘has hit the fan’

County Hall has only just started measuring traffic in Portlaoise around the town’s new schools where parents face traffic jams while dropping off their children.

County Hall has only just started measuring traffic in Portlaoise around the town’s new schools where parents face traffic jams while dropping off their children.

The news emerged at last week’s Portlaoise Town Council meeting, in response to a request from Cllr Matthew Keegan.

He asked for information on the traffic management plan at the site of Educate Together, the Gaelscoil Portlaoise and Maryborough NS. The schools are located off the new link road in Summerhill.

“The other morning there were 350 to 400 cars that simply couldn’t get in or out and the council is only now doing an analysis, it should have been done before this,” he said.

“Where does the planning department expect them to park? We’re doing planning in reverse. The proverbial sugar has hit the fan, there was no forethought,” said Cllr Keegan.

However, Mayor of Portlaoise, Cllr Willie Aird said there were simply “teething problems” at the moment.

Welcoming the opening of the new schools, Cllr Aird pointed out that the morning in question was the first day of school when there were no buses running and parents were required to go into the schools with their children.

“I would hope, as the days go by, it will alleviate itself,” said Cllr Aird, before adding a note of caution.

“Wait until two years’ time when every single school child, except those in Knockmay, will convene there,” he said.

Cllr Aird pointed out that permission had been granted for the site on condition that a traffic management plan was included.

“I would hope in the next six months it will alleviate itself,” he said.

“There’s no point in letting this drag on,” responded Cllr Keegan. “Where are these 400 cars to go?”

Cllr Kathleen O’Brien compared it to the situation on the Borris Road, where there was “murder” over the poor management of traffic at the schools.

“We should be able to talk to the management of schools, parent should be able to drive in and drop their children,” she said.

“It’s not the principals of the schools, it’s the Department of Education you need to talk to,.

“The same thing will happen at the extension of Knockmay School, we should make sure parking is provided at Knockmay,” said Cllr Aird.

Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald added that the Timahoe Road also needs to be looked at.