July Stimulus Funding: Response to Projects & Proposed Motions in relation to Parson Street

The Department of Transport/National Roads Authority has allocated €55M to local authorities to promote increased walking and cycling.

It has to be said that Maynooth Cycling Campaign is underwhelmed by some of the approved projects and the amount of funding which Kildare has received as a result, compared to similar councils in Wicklow, Meath and Fingal.

When the UK Department of Transport offered funding to their local authorities, it pointed out that filtered permeability was the cheapest and easiest method of improving conditions for pedestrians and cyclists. They also informed the local authorities that work would have to be completed within three months. In Ireland, nearly six months after the outbreak and after traffic levels has increased to close to pre-Covid-19 levels, nothing in Kildare has been implemented so far.

The proposed schemes are as follows:

1. Parson Street – Covid Funding (temp works) €50,000 – Work entails trialling traffic management & shared space for cycling.

Maynooth Cycling Campaign strongly supports this measure and is opposed on health and safety grounds to the retention of two lanes of motorised traffic. In general, we support Part 8 public consultation and approval by elected councillors but this measure stems from the global pandemic. As the works are temporary and it is more than five months since the lockdown was announced, it does not appear that bringing this proposal to Part 8 is treating the issue as an emergency. 

2. Rathcoffey/Beaufield/Newtown – Covid Funding (temp works) €50,000 – Work entails trialling traffic management & reallocation of road space to cycling (& walking)
Maynooth Cycling Campaign strongly supports this measure.

3. Dublin Road – Covid Funding (temp works) €10,000 – Work entails trialling segregated cycle lanes.
Maynooth Cycling Campaign strongly supports this measure.

4. Mill Street – Covid Funding (temp works) €15,000 – Work entails reallocation of road space from cyclists to pedestrians, and cyclists “taking the lane”
Mill Street is a key transport corridor. The Rye Bridge is particularly narrow with inadequate footpaths and pedestrians stepping off the footpath onto the cycle path. It is proposed to improve conditions for pedestrians at the expense of cyclists. Maynooth Cycling Campaign recommends that pedestrians and cyclists continue to share space as the consequences of a pedestrian/cyclist collision is significantly less rather than the consequences of a cyclist/vehicle collision.

5. Celbridge Road – Covid Funding (temp works) €15,000 – Work entails an additional entrance to the Gaelscoil and indicative cycle lanes on Celbridge Road.
Maynooth Cycling Campaign supports the opening of an additional entrance but does not support indicative cycle lanes on the Celbridge Road. The Celbridge Road is a regional road which is used by all forms of traffic including HGVs and is above the AADT threshold of 2,000 vehicles per day which Irish and international guidance recommends for sharing. Indicative cycle lanes on this type of road are only suitable for “brave” cyclists and are not AAA standard – for all ages and abilities. Paint does not safeguard vulnerable road users.

6. Main Street – Covid Funding (temp works ) €15,000 – Work entails worsening conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.
Maynooth Cycling Campaign supports the reallocation of space for business but is opposed to worsening conditions for pedestrians and cyclists. On Main Street, there is provision for two-three lanes of live traffic and two parking lanes. Cycle facilities are poor quality and discontinuous. In contrast to what the Council claims, the cycle facilities are well used for both north south and east west movement. The Design Manual for Roads and Streets (DMURS) established a road user hierarchy with pedestrians at the top followed by cyclists and with private cars last. Despite this, the proposal is to increase space for adjacent cafes and restaurants by removing cyclists from dedicated (albeit poor quality and discontinuous) tracks and provide shared space between pedestrians and cyclists.  Shared space is a low quality solution – bad for both pedestrians and cyclists. Maynooth Cycling Campaign supports the allocation of additional space for businesses but instead recommends that the cycle lanes should replace the the limited number of parking spaces . There is ample room where there is two lanes of traffic ie between Straffan Road and the Old Dunboyne Road. A detailed design is required for the section between Straffan Road and Mill Street because 1990s design prioritised three traffic lanes.   Provision would also have to be made for business deliveries and disabled parking using the lanes or alternatives.


7. & 8. Maynooth Town Centre & Celbridge Road Design – permanent works (longer term)
Maynooth Cycling Campaign welcomes these proposals but will reserve an opinion on them until we get an indication of what is proposed.

Maynooth Cycling Campaign strongly supports trials where feasible. They are widely used internationally to convince politicians and communities of the overall benefit of active travel schemes. The vast majority of them subsequently were made permanent and changed the minds of many of, though not all, former opponents.The trials should be given a fair chance, If they don’t work, they can be scrapped but if they are a success there will be multiple benefits to road safety, air quality, physical and mental health, and the climate crisis.

So in summary, of the six Covid-19 measures, Maynooth Cycling Campaign supports the three trials and half the Celbridge Road proposal. The two other proposed measures will worsen conditions for cyclists.

 

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