A number of Moyglare Abbey residents have complained about the proposed narrowing of the entrance to the estate from the Moyglare Road as part of the provision of cycle facilities to the new school campus.
Arising from issues raised, Kildare County Council undertook to carry out a review of the proposed junction and in a letter the Senior Executive Officer stated that
With reference to the entrance to Moyglare Abbey, the proposed works to the entrance are to ensure compliance with DMURS.
This statement is incorrect. The internal roads of Moyglare Abbey were designed at a time when engineers considered that wide roads were beneficial for road safety reasons. It is now realised that on the contrary wider roads encourage faster speeds which makes it more dangerous particularly for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.
The Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets (DMURS) sets out current thinking on the design of urban roads and streets. The emphasis is on the design of “streets” in urban areas as the word “streets” suggests multi users as opposed to “roads” which suggests priority for cars and motorised traffic. Leaving aside the term streets, roads are categorised as either arterial roads, link roads or local roads. Internal estate roads like in Moyglare Abbey are local roads – they cater for local only as opposed to through traffic. Section 4.4.1 of DMURS includes Figure 4.55 which gives widths for different categories of roads. The following, an extract from Page 102, defines the widths for local roads ranging from 5 to 5.5m:
If the entrance was in accordance with DMURS, it would be within this range. Instead it is 7m wide which is narrower than it was but which shows how badly designed, by current standards, many of our existing roads and junctions are. If councillors are interested in road safety, they should ask three questions:
- What Is the width of the junction and where is it set out in DMURS as being applicable for a local road?
- What are the the kerb radii and where is it set out in DMURS as being applicable for a local road?
- Does the junction design prioritise cars or pedestrians and cyclists as set out in the DMURS hierarchy of road users?
The Moyglare Abbey access road is different from many other estates in that it also serves a farm. As the entrance must also work for the farm, councillors should ask a fourth question :
4. What is the width and frequency of “farm” traffic.
This may lead to a wider entrance than specified by DMURS but an increase should be reasonable. It should not, as in the past, be designed for the widest vehicle.
Photograph showing Entrance to Farm off Moyglare Abbey
Those who oppose the narrowing of estate junctions increase the risk to children and other vulnerable road users. The Moyglare Residents Association erected the sign below to alert drivers of the presence of children but in deciding on speed most drivers take their cue from the road form rather than from road signage. At the end of the day, people have to decide what do they love more – their cars or their kids?
Postscript – The road/laneway to the farm is only 2.45m so the entrance to a residential estate is nearly three times the width of a road for farm machinery. Crazy!!!