Celbridge Road Needs High Quality Cycle Facilities

Election time is an opportunity by cycle campaigners to reassess progress and to set out new goals for the future. From earlier this year, we identified one glaring omission in Kildare County Council’s proposals for Maynooth – the failure to provide for cycling facilities to the two primary schools on the Celbridge Road. Planning for these schools commenced nearly twenty years ago with little or no consideration on how children would cycle to school and last year, Kildare County Council’s Area Engineer was quoted as stating that there was no room for cycle facilities.  As it turned out, draft plans have recently been drawn up to provide cycle facilities on the Celbridge Road and we are grateful to Cllr. Tim Durkan for informing us. However, the use of the terms “provide” and “cycle facilities” is somewhat arbitrary. The proposed cycle track does not connect with the Straffan Road cycle track and doesn’t extend as far as either of the two schools. It is also discontinuous at Laurence’s Avenue and its effective width is 1.5m which puts it in the category of low quality. The County Council seems to think that cyclists have need to travel in one direction only as the cycle track is unidirectional. Overall, it is an appalling design and once again the council is “ticking the box” for cycling but doing nothing to enable people who want to cycle. Maynooth Cycling Campaign proposes a 2m footpath and 2m cycle track with 1m buffer either side of a 6m road, requiring an overall width of 16m. The existing cross-section of the Celbridge Road varies along its length but there is generally an available width of 14m. So where does the other 2m come from?

Existing Cross-section adjacent to Rockfield

At Rockfield Estate, the 2m could be made up from grass verge on the Laurence’s Avenue side.  Between Rockfield and the Maynooth Educate Together School, it will be necessary to acquire a strip of land at the front of two properties either by agreement or through the use of a Compulsory Purchase Order. Compulsory purchase orders are a normal procedure for providing new roads and it is proposed to used the procedure as part of the Bus Connect project to acquire additional space.

Proposed Cross-section (Typical)

It is accepted that close to the junction with the Straffan Road a pinch point does exist which will require an imaginative solution. The location of two bungalows close to the road complicates the use of CPOs and while there is also a lack of space at Maxol, only a short length is affected. Consequently, a reduction in standards over a short length or, alternatively,  a reduction to a single traffic lane with flow in one direction (after the construction of the relief road between the Celbridge and Straffan Roads) may be acceptable. A detailed survey of the area will allow all options to be considered. Discussions will be required with adjacent residents as part of the design process. However, this must be balanced against the needs of the wider community and government policies on climate and health. High quality cycling facilities on the Celbridge Road is supported by Maynooth Cycling Campaign. It also has the support of the Parent Teacher Association of Maynooth Educate Together and the Parent Association of Gaelscoil Uí Fhiaich. For some twenty years, Kildare County Council has been providing low quality cycle infrastructure which has had negligible impact on levels of cycling. If it continues to provide such quality, there will be negligible change in the next twenty years. Maynooth Cycling Campaign proposes to lobby candidates for the Maynooth Municipal District to support high quality cycle facilities on the Celbridge Road and to publicise the results in advance of the election.

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