Leitrim County Council has agreed with local traders to postpone the pedestrianisation of Carrick-on-Shannon's Main Street at weekends
The Council met with traders' representatives this week after the initial pilot came to a conclusion over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
The local authority had initially hoped that the pedestrian-only access from Friday nights until Monday mornings would take place from July all the way to the end of September.
However, a protest by some traders on Friday July 2nd, the first night the bollards were due to be erected, forced a compromise where the pilot would only last until the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Traders had suggested that the town centre would suffer significantly due to the lack of passing traffic, while the Council was hopeful that creating a car free zone would encourage a more welcoming and family-friendly atmosphere in the town.
Shannonside FM understands that following a meeting between senior council executives and a traders' representative this week, the pedestrianisation plan has been postponed for the remainder of the trial period.
The decision has been taken it is understood due to the feedback of traders as well as taking into account ongoing roadworks which has added to traffic congestion
It's understood that the scheme may be revisited next year with a negotiation expected on what form another trial pedestrianisation may take.
Leitrim County Council has issued the following statement in relation to the pilot:
Leitrim County Council has now completed the pilot phase of the pedestrianisation of Carrick-on-Shannon Town Centre in accordance with agreement reached recently.
The pilot phase operated from 1pm on Saturdays through to 8am on Monday mornings over the last four weekends concluding on Monday the 2nd August.
The area of Main Street included in the pilot was from the junction of Main Street with Church Lane/St Mary's Close to the junction with St George's Terrace.
The purpose of the pilot phase was to establish to what extent the experience of visitors and shoppers on the street could be enhanced through providing opportunities for space to be used differently to support the vibrancy and welcoming feel of the town centre.
Secondly the pilot phase focused on the potential to generate greater footfall in the area of the town centre. In addition, each weekend the Council supported the initiative with an imaginative, but limited due to meeting Covid related restrictions, animation programme.
As the Council outlined at the initiation of the pilot phase the trial was kept under review over the last four weekends. In general, the outcome of the pilot phase demonstrated that the town lends itself well to the concept of pedestrianisation and that the experience of those visiting the town was enhanced while families availed of the laid-on initiatives particularly aimed at children.
However, on balance, and taking into account the necessary restrictions arising from the pandemic, the level of increased footfall arising from the initiative was lower that what would be required to justify the continued pedestrianisation pilot this year. Consequently, the Council has decided to conclude the initiative at this stage for the current year.
Going forward the Council will take the learning from this pilot into account as it considers, in conjunction with other stakeholders, future initiatives including elements of pedestrianisation aimed at the continued strengthening of the town centre of Carrick-on-Shannon.