"Commuter parking is a big problem in this area, its time something was done about it. This community is not a carpark, why should we suffer when the people of the Malone Road don't have this problem"

Market Resident


>> 98%

Of residents believe that commuter parking and road safety is a major problem for the community.

>> Human Rights Indicator

The Market Community Demands a reduction in this figure from 98% to 47%.

>> Action

Introduce a residents parking scheme throughout the area and take all necessary measures to ease traffic and maximise pedestrian safety on Cromac Street and other high traffic routes around the area.



The right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family…and to the continuous improvement in living conditions.

– Article 11 UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966)

A right to a healthy environment which seeks a sustainable balance between industrial development and the environment – Article 18.1 European Charter for the Safeguarding of Human Rights in the City (2002))

The local authorities recognise the right of the citizens to have a transport system in keeping with the desired tranquillity of the city. – Article 20.1 European Charter for the Safeguarding of Human Rights in the City (2002)


What you said:

“Cromac Street traffic lights need to be sorted before someone is killed”

“Commuter parking is getting worse instead of better, and this isn’t helped by some residents taking payment for multiple commuters to park”

“Zebra crossing on Cromac Street”

“More Parking Facilities” “People parking is a big issue. Sometimes I can’t even get parked outside my own house”

Footpaths are often impassable due to over parking and traffic saturation

Footpaths are often impassable due to over-parking and traffic saturation.

A Road Safety Sacrifice Zone

Writing in 2003, the internationally renowned planning scholar Cliff Moughtin noted that Cromac Street ”before redevelopment tended to act as the focus for the whole community and at that time was not the physical barrier it now has become” and that this is further compounded by “East Bridge Street [which] runs along the northern boundary of the area and is another major traffic route which poses a serious threat to environmental standards.”47 A more recent study reinforces the same point

Figure 2 – Cromac Street – the most congested street in Belfast -is the main link between Ormeau Road and Ann Street (Source: BBC News)

The Market:

As well as the negative health impact of pollution, two other serious road safety issues emerge as a result of the volume of traffic the area is exposed to:

As late as the mid 1970s, 45 shops and services and a number of pubs were located along this street and within the now demolished Cromac Square. For most of the century Cromac Street was an asset to the area, helping to bring in trade. It had acted as a 'seam' joining both parts of the district. .. However, thirty years later Cromac Street is simply used as a means to funnel heavy traffic through the district. The car park fronting on to this street reinforces the barrier. .. between the Lower and Upper Markets ... Although the area is on the edge of the city centre, it is not convenient to reach on foot. Accessibility is poor due to two major traffic routes, Cromac Street and East Bridge Street, which wrap around two sides of the estate.48

Today the Market remains a road safety and pollution sacrifice zone – an area “required to make disproportionate health and economic sacrifices that more affluent people can avoid”49 – and is one of the most congested traffic areas in the developed world. A recent study of traffic congestion recently ranked the Ormeau Road to Ann Street – Cromac Street being the key thoroughfare linking the two – as 9th in the “UK’s Top Ten Most Congested Roads in 2016.”50 The INRIX report lists the UK as the 4th most traffic congested developed country in the world – placing Cromac Street among the worst roads on the planet. Despite this, it is still not officially designated as an arterial route. The report also found that such congestion costs motorists themselves a staggering £30 billion a year.51 Traffic congestion doesn’t just cause inconvenience to resident’s daily lives, it also has serious long term health impacts. One 2018 Canadian study found that “traffic congestion has a substantial impact on human health and the economy,”52 while a 2012 report found that “combustion exhausts across the UK cause nearly 5,000 premature deaths each year.”53 We can only guess at how many residents suffer impaired health and premature death as a result of one of the world’s most congested roads cutting through the heart of their community, but the impact of such car-centric infrastructure on communities is well documented and runs much deeper than inconveniencing residents and the obvious health impact of poor air quality: 

Where car infrastructure dominates, roads can split communities, create noise, pollution and danger, and limit active transport options. Time spent commuting is time away from leisure, social activities, and sleep. Stressful commutes are associated with stress, anxiety, aggression and poor sleep. Commuter stress is highest for car drivers, moderate for public transit­users and lowest for walkers and cyclists. There is also evidence of links between air pollution and autistic spectrum disorders in earlier life, and cognitive decline and psychotic disorders in later life. Air pollution is unequally experienced, depending on factors such as city, country, socioeconomic group, ethnic group, and age of people exposed. 54

Commuter Parking:

this is a longstanding issue in the Market community, and has been a serious concern for residents for over two decades. The concerns are not caused by a simplistic “not on my doorstep” attitude, but by the complete blockage of certain streets and roads by commuters, hindering the ability to walk through the area for parents with young children, the disabled, children returning from school and seriously hindering the response time of the emergency services and bin collections etc. 

Cromac Street:

as noted above, Cromac Street is one of the busiest thoroughfares on the planet. Despite the high volume of traffic, and the fact that 

it intersects directly a densely populated residential area, no traffic calming measures in place. Excessive speed limits, poor signage, minimal time for pedestrian crossing all combine to make it a serious danger to residents young and old. 

Safe Streets, Clean Air:

Our Actions for Government

The Market has suffered as a result of bad traffic management for decades. Residents have waited patiently for a just resolution to the issue, only to see it intensify with each passing year. It is a problem which can be easily solved with minimal effort, and has been in other parts of Belfast. Our community therefore demands the introduction of a residents parking scheme throughout the area, and that all necessary measures are taken to ease traffic and maximise pedestrian safety on Cromac Street and other routes surrounding the area.

Have you been affected by any of these issues?

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