Accessibility in Ennis
Ennis is a medieval town with certain physical constraints. As a result, there are some streets, laneways and ground contours that may not allow for complete compliance with all age-friendly and accessible standards and guidelines. However, Clare County Council is committed to equality of access for all citizens and visitors and, in compliance with The Disability Act 2005, has an established policy to ensure that all of its services are structured to meet the requirements of all citizens equally, irrespective of visual, physical, intellectual or other impairment. Clare County Council has a full-time Access Officer.
Clare County Council has completed a draft walkability study of Ennis town. One of the aims of this audit was to assess how easy or difficult it is to get around Ennis. The results here will allow Clare County Council and other key organisations to initiate actions to improve the accessibility of the town of Ennis. This will, of course, be a benefit to users of all abilities. While accessibility and age-friendly principles go hand-in-hand to a degree, there are other additional elements that must be factored into the age-friendly design
Ennis MD is in the process of drafting an ‘Age-Friendly Town Plan’, designed to engender a culture in which older people are actively involved in social, economic and cultural life and in creating a better local environment, to everybody’s benefit.
All works undertaken by Ennis MD are pre-assessed by an established group of “Age-Friendly” representatives, whose individual and unique perspectives are taken into consideration before the design stage of any project. The Ennis Public Realm Works project, in Parnell Street and adjoining Laneways and Bow-ways are being delivered with full accessibility, shared surfaces, tabletop crossing points, dropped kerbs and seating areas. This public realm project has benefited from the Age-Friendly audit carried out at the design stage. The feedback on completed works in Parnell Street has been very positive. The results from a follow-up age-friendly audit is being used to inform future public realm enhancement works.
The works proposed under the National Transport Association funded 'Active Travel' schemes will provide greater accessibility. The items listed in the Age-Friendly walkability audit and previous accessibility audits are being examined and works scheduled. Active Travel schemes will deliver a range of 'accessibility-focussed' projects throughout the District, including:
- Connecting and Co-creating Ennis – a series of varying level walking trails to include continuous access from Clarecastle in the south to Ballymaley to the north of town.
- Pedestrian infrastructure – various locations throughout town will benefit from traffic-calming, puffin & zebra crossings and associated drop kerbing, as well as replacement of worn brick-paving.
- A mobility plan for Ennis will include the provision for a bus service.
- A cantilever bridge at the Club Bridge.
- Cycle routes to be established for all main approach roads.
- Drehidnagower – pedestrian/cycling link and crossing of River Fergus.
- Installation of bin storage areas in town to allow clutter-free lanes and bow-ways.
Level 1 works approved under the Connecting and Co-creating Ennis project include the installation of age-friendly seating, repair/level tarmacadam footpath and new kerbing, the installation of dropped kerbs, repairing concrete / damaged section of footpaths as well as resurfacing concrete paving and the repairing, levelling and draining of existing paving.
The Ennis MD are presently undertaking drop kerb adjustments to footpaths at crossing points in town. A review is currently being undertaken of disabled parking spaces in Ennis Town Centre, to re-locate or re-design spaces to ensure they meet current standards.