New car parks set to be built for local greenway users
Two new car parks are set to be built to cater for people using the Grand Canal Greenway in the Tullamore area.
Following negotiations with Waterways Ireland, Offaly County Council is moving ahead with plans to construct new car parks at Ballycommon Bridge and Digby Bridge for the large numbers of walkers, runners and cyclists now using the Grand Royal Greenway.
Work is set to get underway on both projects in the coming months.
The news has been welcomed by the Leas Cathaoirleach of Tullamore Municipal District, Cllr Tony McCormack.
Speaking to the Offaly Independent on Thursday, the Fianna Fail representative said that the provision of new car parks at both locations is much needed due to huge numbers of people using the greenway on a daily basis over the past year.
“The greenway has been such a success that unfortunately with that brings parking problems. It is something that has been highlighted by people in the areas that have been affected.
“Farmers have been in situations where they have had to wait up to two hours for vehicle owners to come back so that they can actually cross a bridge to do their work. This isn't on.
“The car parks will alleviate this problem but in the meantime, they will be putting up signage to make users aware that they can't park in certain areas.”
Works are also being carried out Clara Road due to the increase in Greenway-related traffic.
“There are markings being put on the road, which will prevent accidents from happening and will make sure that people don't park where they shouldn't,” Cllr McCormack says.
“While everything to do with the greenway is very positive, when it is as successful as it is, it brings up issues. I am also working with the council to put some toilets on the route. Some of the areas from one lock to the other are quite a distance and you could be gone two and a half miles before you have somewhere to relieve yourself.”
Also the chair of Tullamore Triathlon Club, Cllr McCormack says that one of the biggest positives to come from the pandemic is that the repeated lockdowns have given people a new appreciation of the amenities that are on their doorstep.
“I use the greenway I'd say five days out of every seven. I use it for running, walking and sometimes I even get into the canal for a swim. I know the amount of people who are using it and I see the happiness that it brings people.
If we didn't have it they'd be walking the same area the whole time and going around in circles.
At least on the canal you have nature and every day is different. It is beautiful and it is something that we are so lucky to have.”