Green light on ‘Streets Ahead’ plan

TRIAL Cavan Town centre to be pedestrianised over last two weekends in July

Cavan town’s main street will temporarily transform into a pedestrian-friendly zone for the last two weekends of the month.

One hospitality sector leader predicts the trial weekend initiative will be “good for the town”.

The ‘Streets Ahead Cavan’ pilot pedestrianisation scheme will make two stretches of streetscape free of traffic from 7-11pm on Friday and Saturday evenings and from 3-9pm on Sundays on the last two weekends of July.

Donal Keogan, the owner of the Imperial Bar and night-club at Main Street said of the scheme: “I think it will be good for the town going forward.”

The local authority say the partial pedestrianisation is a trial weekend initiative aimed at creating a welcoming, vibrant, and safe atmosphere for those enjoying retail, outdoor hospitality, and other socially distant activities in the county town.

The pedestrianised area stretches from Main Street’s junction with Thomas Ashe Street as far as the junction with Town Hall Street, and from the top of Bridge Street to the bottom of the Fairgreen Hill.

“The idea behind the ‘Streets Ahead Cavan’ pilot scheme, which has been developed in consultation with local businesses, is that this temporary pedestrianisation of Cavan’s Main Street will help lead the way in building confidence in our town centres as our society moves ahead with the re-opening of the hospitality sector,” Council Chief Executive, Tommy Ryan explained.

The first two weekends of the initiative, commencing on Friday, July 23 and continuing on Friday, July 30, will see on-street entertainment organised throughout the pedestrianised zone, helping to create a welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere for those wishing to avail of outdoor hospitality, safe socialising, or simply to enjoy a quiet walk through the town centre at the weekend.

“Everything is worth trying. Anything that can bring more footfall into the town is a welcome measure,” Eddie Coleman of Cavan Gifts at the town’s Main St said of the move.

Live performances

As the country continues to re-open, pending the easing of Government restrictions, more on-street entertainment is planned, with a number of ticket-only live performances set for the town’s historic Abbey grounds in August. Audio from these concerts will be streamed throughout the town’s PA system in order that it can be enjoyed by patrons across the pedestrianised zones without the need for large congregations.

Mr Keogan says it’s a much-needed boost for the hospitality sector: “We are on our knees. It’s disappointing more local publicans didn’t take advantage of the support for outdoor dining, it could have made a really nice job of Cavan Town, when you see the way other urban areas like Cork, Limerick or Dublin transformed with the grants available.”

He says the Cavan County Council pilot scheme could promote businesses to emulate the efforts of their city counterparts.

“Perhaps this initiative will encourage more businesses. When they see the pedestrianisation and the flow of people up and down the street with no traffic it could encourage more business to put tables and chairs out.”

“The weather makes the whole thing, but we have to get on with our business while we deal with the pandemic. Cavan County Council have facilitated the outdoor dining, which is brilliant, and this pedestrianisation will be good for the town as well,” Mr Keogan concluded.

This scheme will run in tandem with the Government’s plan for re-opening and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, with the safety of the public paramount at all times.