18th October 2013, Friday
In recent times, Midleton has taken a lead in putting ‘accessibility’ centre-stage through its participation in an EU wide pilot accessibility project called ISEMOA. Improving accessibility of pedestrian, cyclist and public transport services and facilities is at the heart of the project to enable all citizens to adopt a less car-dependent lifestyle.
Significant upgrade work was carried out by Midleton Town Council, and the town now boasts a model infrastructure for accessibility in Ireland and the EU.
“Midleton Town Council and SECAD have worked tirelessly as part of this pilot programme, which involves 18 sites across Europe”, explains Toni McCaul, SECAD and Irish lead ISEMOA auditor.
“The accessibility improvements benefit everyone, young and old, those with visual, hearing or mobility challenges, families with young children and pushchairs, and users of public transport. The key issue is that everyone can enjoy easy access to the streets, shops and facilities that Midleton offers.”
Midleton is the only town in Ireland to receive the ISEMOA accreditation, and is one of less than twenty designated areas across the EU to participate in the project. Midleton Town Council was instrumental to the town’s involvement with this ambitious and unique quality management project in 2012, together with the local Development partnership, South & East Cork Area Development (SECAD).
“This project was particularly exciting for Midleton as the only Irish participant in the programme” said Cllr Margaret Trundle, Midleton Town Council.
“In line with the programme requirements, we reviewed accessibility in Midleton town from a door-to-door perspective, looking closely at the entire journey people make daily. Each journey is composed of several elements that together make up the “mobility chain”. It is crucial that the whole mobility chain is accessible; if there is a barrier in one of the elements, then the whole mobility chain does not work.”
A budget of €1.5 million has been invested in the development to continue work on the access upgrade work, to take place on the remainder of the main street. The upgrade work is set to include an upgrade of the accessibility of surface, including seating areas, pedestrian crossings, tactile paving, raised pedestrian thoroughfare, and disabled parking bays. This is an acknowledgement of the importance of the accessibility work in the town.