THERE have been calls for traffic calming measures on the narrow roads leading to the canal towpath at Ballymagorry.
The newly-refurbished recreational walkway has become increasingly popular in recent months with walkers, joggers and families all keen to experience a bit of fresh air during lockdown.
While the use of the facility has been welcomed, it has also created a new problem.
The increasing footfall has lead to an increase in traffic with both the Greenlaw and Park/Bog Roads leading to the towpath experiencing heavy congestion.
Steep ditches on either side of Greenlaw Road, with limited passing opportunities, has also resulted in a number of accidents.
Coupled with the traffic jams, the nearby car park can only hold a small number of vehicles, with many visitors having to park on verges and along the equally narrow Park Road.
Local elected representatives say the time has now come to have some form of traffic calming measures implemented in the interests of health and safety.
The SDLP's Jason Barr said he had requested a site meeting with road officials discuss the issue, with the meeting due to take place this week.
Councillor Barr said: "With the increased traffic during good weather to our outdoors areas, I have asked DfI Roads for a site meeting for the possibility of traffic calming measures of extending the car park and to explore other safety options on the Greenlaw/Bog Road.
“I urge those driving on this road to be careful of the steep ditch on either side of the narrow road and to be mindful of walkers and cyclists.
"And, if you’re walking your dog, make sure you clean up after it.”
Sinn Féin's Michaela Boyle has similarly raised the issue, as well as concerns over the need for more rubbish disposal facilities.
"I have written to council's chief executive and DfI management seeking a meeting about the ongoing issues at the Canal.
"It is fantastic to see so many locals using this amazing facility.
"However, with large crowds comes traffic problems and additional rubbish," she said.
Councillor Boyle added that she has requested the installation of additional bins along the walkway and a cleaning strategy, additional car parking spaces and a traffic management strategy put in place to ensure the road leading to the canal is made fully accessible and safe for road users and pedestrians.