Submission on Royal Canal (Confey to Maynooth)

Maynooth Cycling Campaign submitted the following as part of the Part 8 Public Consultation process on the Royal Canal (Confey to Maynooth).

17 February 2016

 Submission on Royal Canal Greenway (Confey to Maynooth)

Maynooth Cycling welcomes the proposal for the development of a Greenway along the Royal canal from Maynooth to  the  Dublin County  border.  Together  with  the  Greenway  west  of  Maynooth, currently  under  development,  this  will  be  a  huge  boost  to  active  and  sustainable  transport  in  our area. Since it will allow people of all ages to cycle safely and conveniently between Maynooth and Leixlip, it has the potential to offer a real alternative to the car, leading to improved public health and reduced congestion and pollution.

The Greenway will be part of the Dublin to Galway national cycle route, which in turn is part of the EuroVelo 2 Galway to Moscow route. It will attract significant numbers of tourists to North Kildare towns, giving a welcome boost to the local economy.

We are nonetheless concerned that the proposed scheme is not of an adequate standard to fully capitalise on these potential benefits. In particular, the proposal to finish much of the route in dust, rather  than  black-top  tarmacadam,  will  deter  its  use  by  commuters. Many residents of Maynooth and Leixlip commute to work, between the towns themselves and toward the city. A largely off road, sealed-surface, cycle track will encourage cycle use among these commuters. A dust surface can be appropriate for a pure leisure facility with limited range.  However,  for  commuters  and  those travelling  more  than  a  few  kilometres  a  dust  surface  which  creates  dirt,  puddles  and  potholes  is wholly  unsuitable.  Additionally,  as  noted  by  Sustrans  in  their  documents,  Cycle  Path  Surfacing Options,  unbound  surfaces  are  at  least  50%  more  expensive  than  bound  surfaces  to  lay  and maintain.

The grass verge will limit the ingress of some dust into the canal, but it will not prevent dust being carried by the wind into the water. The environmental report does not provide consideration of dust movement into the water.

Recommendation 1:  A bound surface should  be provided along the length of the proposed greenway to  facilitate  the  large  number  of  commuters  potentially  using  this  route.  At  a  minimum  a  bound surface should be provided between the towns of Maynooth &  Leixlip.

The proposed width of the Greenway is 3 metres. We consider this to be inadequate for safety and comfort  of  both  cyclists  and  pedestrians;  4  metres  is  more  appropriate.    The  NRA  Rural  Cycling Design  Standards  document  TD300/14  specifies  3 metres  as  the  MINIMUM  standard  for  a  shared low-volume facility.  Given its route through the most densely populated area of the country, high volumes should be expected.

Whilst  the  available  corridor  is  narrow  as  some  points  along  its  length,  additional  land  could  be compulsory  purchased  to  ensure  adequate  width.  Where the removal of  vegetation  would  be necessary to construct a 4 metre wide track, additional land acquired could be planted with native species  and,  when  it  matures  sufficiently,  existing  vegetation  removed  to  widen  the  track  to  4 metres.

Recommendation 2: A 4 metre wide track should be provided along the length of the greenway.

The proposed scheme does not set out any objectives in terms of modal shift or number of users. In order to properly assess the scheme, its projected contribution to the government target of 10% of commuters using bikes should be considered. In this context a cost benefit  of analysis of dust versus sealed surface and 3 metre versus 4 metre width should be carried out.

Recommendation  3:  Further consideration should be given to the design of the scheme in terms of government objectives for commuter modal shift.

The default position of the proposed access controls at Straffan Road and Deey Bridge may create an obstacle to tourists and leisure cyclists with large panniers or child trailers. We appreciate that these are a considerable improvement on the barriers currently on the Grand Canal between Adamstown and Inchicore, but question the need for such restrictive barriers.

Recommendation 4: Bollards to be used instead of access gates at all access points.


Yours faithfully,




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