Malahide is set to become the first area in Fingal to see a new pedestrian zone introduced in the centre of the village which aims to bring an open air, European-style feel to the heart of the village.
New Street, which is home to shops, boutiques, restaurants, cafés and bars, is set to be transformed into a pedestrian-friendly area during the 10-week pilot initiative.
Walk Bike Fingal is an initiative being rolled out across the county and which seeks to encourage and facilitate social distancing for citizens going about their daily business. The contractor has been appointed and work will commence today and will allow retailers, café and restaurant owners expand their business onto the street.
Additional parking is being provided at the nearby Bridgefield Car Park at the entrance to Malahide Demesne. Free parking will now be available at this location for a two-hour period. The Council has also installed a number of Age Friendly parking spots in the town centre.
During the Covid-19 pandemic there has been a significant drop in traffic, combined with a resurgence in walking and cycling across Fingal, and this new area plans to allow pedestrians move safely and freely while going about their day-to-day business.
Fingal County Council has met with stakeholders in the village and the plan has been backed by Malahide Chamber of Commerce, Malahide Community Forum and Malahide Tidy Towns. Councillors on the Howth-Malahide Area Committee also approved the pilot initiative following a briefing from Council officials.
Welcoming the intiative, The Mayor of Fingal, Cllr. Eoghan O’Brien said, "The scheme is to ensure that people can adhere to social distancing guidelines while going about their lives in as safest a way possible. As a community in Malahide and Fingal we are going to have to change the way we do things in our towns and villages to adhere to social distancing so as to ensure that COVID remains suppressed and people can go about their lives safely."
Malahide Chamber of Commerce president, Derek Fowler added, "The pedestrianisation allows for socially distanced queuing outside shops and business premises while at the same time providing a space for retailers to conduct their business in a safer environment out in the public space by permitting trading/facilities on the street and to accommodate queuing outside of retail premises, while pedestrians pass comfortably."