Streets for people, not just for cars!

Avondhu Blackwater Partnership’s Landscape Architect Cathal O’ Meara has worked closely with the residents’ associations and Tidy Towns committee in recent times and outlines a fundamental flaw in how we interact with our town.

Briscoe Terrace, Fermoy

Cathal explains, “Fermoy town has, like many Irish towns suffered a decline in the quality of its urban environment since the swell in the number of cars. Our physical environment has been continually altered to facilitate an ever-increasing number of vehicles at the expense of the pedestrian environment. Currently businesses in many small towns throughout the country are finding it increasingly difficult to survive with competition from out of town stores.  What ewill happen to the smaller stores when larger retailers offer lower prices and more car parking?  In order for our small towns to not just survive but to thrive we need to recognise what they offer and that is more than parking and passing through?”

Sketch Design of Briscoe Place by Cathal O' Meara

Cathal makes the argument that what we love about going to France or Spain is how people friendly the towns are, the café culture that exists there, how the locals can sit and enjoy a meal or a coffee and this allows the urban space to be used to its full potential, thus helping businesses.

He continues “with Fermoy we need to recognise the rich architectural heritage that contributes to this beautiful natural setting and we need to re evaluate our town not just as a place to pass through or to carry out essential services, but also as a place to actually be. Take the library for example. There is a patch of ground next to it that would cost very little to plant and turn into a tiny pocket garden. Ideas like that would add tremendously to Fermoy

Essentially Fermoy town offers something unique in this regard, and its streets need to be seen as not just thoroughfares, but places in their own right.  The streets need to accommodate us as people and not just as cars.  Throughout Patrick Street and Mc Curtain Street look how many parking spaces we have for cars. But then look at how few seats we have for people

Lack of seating in Fermoy

Cathal’s hope is to train peoples eye to start to seek out those little out of the way places where a seat, a little planting or a splash of paint will work wonders. And so in the following weeks we at the Avondhu Blackwater Partnership in conjunction with the Avondhu Newspaper hope to reopen a debate on our town of Fermoy. What would you love to see happen to our town? More seating? Wider footpaths? More street trees? More pocket gardens? We would welcome any ideas people would like to submit, the bigger the better and lets see where we can go!

We hope you join in!

For more information on how you can begin the process please contact Cathal on 025 33411.


One thought on “Streets for people, not just for cars!

  1. Pingback: Favourite news stories of the Week – June 13th 2011 |

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