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Traffic congestion and lack of parking in Armagh raised with roads chiefs

'Negative impact' of high number of parking penalties also raised with Permanent Secretary

Public anger at a lack of action over two dangerous junctions in the Armagh area has been highlighted during a meeting with the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Infrastructure.

And traffic congestion in both Armagh and Newry – as well as the high number of parking tickets being issued to motorists – have also been highlighted during the course of discussions.

A delegation from Sinn Fein met with Katrina Godfrey to raise a number of issues which they say are impacting on both cities.

Newry and Armagh MLA Cathal Boylan referred to “ongoing concerns in relation to the hazardous junctions on the Monaghan and Newry Roads”.

These, he said, are viewed by most as “accident blackspots”.

And Mr Boylan added: “There is anger at what is seen as the failure to take any decisive action to address the dangers arising from the problems.

“We also discussed the need for ensuring smooth traffic flow throughout both Armagh and Newry cities.

“This along with adequate and accessible parking will encourage people to visit city centres.

“Fears that the high number of traffic parking notices handed out to motorists will negatively impact on our cities were expressed.

“A balanced approach involving enforcement common sense – to ensure the sustainability of our city centres whilst enhancing the visitor’s experience – is needed to be part of the car parking policy.”

Party colleague Megan Fearon described the meeting – also attended by fellow MLA Conor Murphy – as “useful and robust”.

She said: “Our discussions focused on a range of issues including rural  road conditions, budget allocations for road maintenance, traffic calming measures and road improvement schemes.

“We also conveyed our concerns at the poor communication and information provided to the public and all stakeholders in general.

“There needs to be major improvements in ensuring regular feedback to  those reporting faults and effective communication between the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) and all stakeholders.

“Unfortunately poor communication in this Southern zone has harmed relations and ultimately wastes money.

“An effective communication system is essential for a good standard of delivery of service and it is imperative that a coherent policy is put in place.”

Conor Murphy, meanwhile, highlighted the A1 Newry to Belfast “upgrade and safety measures”.

He said: “The process to close the gaps along the route has been frustratingly slow and now there needs to be action taken and work started to reduce the dangers.

“We described once again the deep frustration of many motorists, pedestrians and residents  about the condition and maintenance of our roads.

“Whilst we understand the budgetary pressures faced, we emphasised to the Department Permanent Secretary and officers their responsibility to the public in terms of providing and ensuring safety and delivering the highest standards of services.”

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