COVID-19 – RESPONDING TO AN EMERGENCY

Last January, the WHO declared the Covid-19 outbreak as a global health emergency. When it spread to western Europe in February and March, most governments imposed lockdowns, and encouraged people to avoid crowds and observe social distancing. They also encouraged people to walk or cycle where feasible and provided funding to improve facilities for active travel.

By the end of March, the Dutch engineering consultancy Mobycon, had produced guidance  Making Safe Space for Cycling in 10 Days: A Guide to Temporary Bike Lanes from Berlin. The title came from the time required for a German local authority to provide temporary bike lanes.

During the summer, the Irish government through the National Transport Authority provided funding to improve facilities for walking and cycling and invited applications for suitable schemes. Kildare County Council were awarded funding for a number of schemes for Maynooth and other Kildare towns which included temporary cycle lanes. The funding was conditional on the work being carried out by the end of November. (In reality, councils knew that they have until the end of January to complete them.) However, in the four months since July, no Covid works have taken place in the town. In contrast, Dublin City Council publishes progress reports on Covid-19 schemes on a monthly basis.

One would hope that in the case of an invasion, that the army in Kildare will react faster to an emergency than the council.

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