Why close off Gray’s Lane, it is a very handy and much used short-cut

The Argus - - OPINION -

TRAF­FIC is­sues at Gray’s Lane were dis­cussed at monthly meet­ing of Dun­dalk Mu­nic­i­pal Area last week.

The lane, be­tween the for­mer Toolfix/ Rogers Garage build­ing and Park Street, is a nar­row two-way car­riage­way which shouldn’t work, as two cars can­not pass each other at the top of the lane.

It is for this very rea­son that many mo­torists avoid it, rather than risk hav­ing to re­verse back down the lane.

Traf­fic emerg­ing from the laneway of­ten cuts across the road to ac­cess ei­ther Park Street or Anne Street.

By the strictest in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the rules of the road, such a move­ment shouldn’t be al­lowed.

How­ever clos­ing the laneway would se­ri­ously im­pact on traf­fic flow around this part of town.

The laneway is close to this news­pa­per of­fice, so it is an area that I am very fa­mil­iar with and I use the lane quite reg­u­larly dur­ing the work­ing week and I con­fess to criss-cross­ing the Dublin Street/Park Street junc­tion to ac­cess Anne Street.

In vir­tu­ally ev­ery as­pect the laneway shouldn’t work, but it does work, very well.

The vast ma­jor­ity of mo­torists who use the lane, are lo­cals and they know full well that it is a nar­row pas­sage and that they might have to re­verse out of the lane if met head on by an­other car.

It is a short-cut that works very well and pre­vi­ous pro­pos­als to close the lane to ve­hic­u­lar traf­fic were de­feated.

Coun­cil­lors have ex­pressed their con­cerns about the traf­fic sit­u­a­tion and sug­gested that the traf­fic is­lands at the traf­fic lights be ex­tended to stop ve­hi­cles cut­ting across the junc­tion.

Why, what real harm are ve­hi­cles us­ing Gray’s Lane do­ing?

They are not caus­ing ac­ci­dents. They are not speed­ing. They are not a dan­ger to pedes­tri­ans.

Are there a spate of ve­hic­u­lar ac­ci­dents at this junc­tion that would jus­tify the clos­ing of the lane to traf­fic?

In all my years us­ing Gray’s Lane, cy­cling through Dublin and Park Street on my way to school over three decades ago and ever since I have started driv­ing shortly after­wards, I can barely re­mem­ber an ac­ci­dent in the area.

There are sev­eral straight-for­ward T-junc­tions around the town where you see sim­ple rear-end­ing col­li­sions al­most on a weekly ba­sis.

All of those ac­ci­dents are down to ex­ces­sive speed ap­proach­ing the junc­tion, fail­ing to stop in time or driv­ers not pay­ing suf­fi­cient at­ten­tion to the road.

No one is call­ing for mod­i­fi­ca­tions to those junc­tions and quite rightly so.

Mo­torists us­ing Gray’s Lane ap­proach with cau­tion, they know the laneway is nar­row and can be tricky to nav­i­gate but they still use it ev­ery sin­gle day, be­cause it is a short-cut from one side of the town cen­tre to the other with­out hav­ing to face the long tail­backs in River Lane or Sta­ple­ton Drive.

Leave Gray’s Lane as it is. The ad-hoc sys­tem works well as it is.

A van en­ters the nar­row Gray’s Lane junc­tion from Park Street.

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