In Response to an Article in the Leinster Leader by Paul O’Meara

It is not about bikes and parking. The issues are congestion, inactivity in the community, obesity , air and noise pollution and sustainability. This is not to mention the road fatalities and serious accidents in Kildare and 1200 premature deaths nationally according to the EPA. Bicycles and cycle facilities are just tools which will address (not solve) all these problems whereas more cars will just worsen them. Smart cities and towns realise that cars need a disproportionate amount of space for moving and parking and are investing in space efficient modes of transport ie in walking and cycling. Believe it or not, people actually cycle in the snow and rain and some people with disabilities use bicycles as a mobility aid. In relation to current usage of cycle lanes, if roads were low quality, disappear without warning and only cover about 1% of the journeys people want to make, car travel would be at the same level as cycling currently is.

Maynooth Cycling Campaign -June Notes

(This article first appeared in the June 2016 edition of the Maynooth Newsletter)

Bikeweek 2016

Bikeweek 2016 runs from the 11-19th June and as in previous years, Maynooth Cycling Campaign has organised a number of events. Last year the Heritage Cycle went from Leixlip to Celbridge along the first part of Arthur’s Way, the Arthur Guinness heritage trail. This year we propose following the second half from Celbridge to Oughterard on the 12th June. Please note that we will be starting from the Main Gates of Castletown House at 2:30pm. On Sunday, 19th June, the Family Cycle will start from Courthouse Square in Maynooth at 2:30pm and visit the Arcadian Gardens at Larchill.

Correction to May Notes

In the May Notes, we stated that in the vote on the Part 8 Proposals for the Naas Dublin Road Corridor Scheme, there was all-party support for the proposals. This was a mistake as the voted was passed with cross-part support. Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Sinn Fein voted in favour with other parties opposing the proposals.

New Website!!!

Maynooth Cycling Campaign has launched a new improved website. It includes additional articles that have not generally been released and can be found at the following location: https://maynoothcyclingcampaign1.wordpress.com/ or a link on our Facebook page.

Stop Climate Chaos

Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network which is the umbrella for Irish local cycling campaign groups, has joined STOP CLIMATE CHAOS, an alliance of organisations which wants the Irish government to seriously address the problem of climate change.

Royal Canal Greenway – Public Consultation

Maynooth Cycling Campaign strongly supports the development of the Royal Canal as a greenway. However, we recommend that any decision on the current Part 8 proposals be postponed until outstanding issues have been addressed particularly the clarification of the proposed width.

This greenway is an important element of the national and EuroVelo cycle network and has the potential, if properly designed, to reduce congestion in Maynooth/Leixlip/Celbridge, develop the region’s tourism potential and provide a fantastic amenity for the residents of North Kildare.

Kildare County Development Plan 2017-23

Kildare County Council has launched the public consultation for the new County Development Plan 2017-23. The public has until 13th July to make observations.

Maynooth North Ring

Meath County Council has also commenced public consultation on part of the northern ring road around Maynooth between Moyglare Hall and the Dunboyne Road. The consultation period lasts until 5th July. Note that submissions must be forwarded to Meath County Council and not Kildare as is usual.

Maynooth Cycling is a non-party political cycling advocacy group. Its aims are to promote cycling as a healthy leisure pursuit and as a safe, enjoyable and efficient mode of transport for everyone in the Maynooth area.

It is affiliated to Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cyclist Advocacy Network and through it to the European Cycling Federation.

Maynooth Cycling Campaign – May Notes

(This article first appeared in the May 2016 edition of the Maynooth Newsletter)

Councillors Approve New Cycle Corridor in Naas

Maynooth Cycling Campaign congratulates the councillors of the Naas Municipal District on cross-party approval of the Dublin Road Cycle Corridor Scheme which involves removing right hand turns and a number of car parking spaces in the town centre. The approval includes significant improvements proposed by our colleagues in the Naas Neighbourhood Greenways. This is the first time that Kildare County Council has accepted any improvement suggested by a cycling group, and despite the availability of significantly less space, Naas councillors have approved a scheme which will provide a higher quality cycling facility than the Maynooth North South Corridor Scheme. Perhaps the Maynooth councillors might look at and learn from their Naas colleagues.

Kildare Cycle Forum

In a related development, Maynooth Cycling Campaign has joined with Naas Neighbourhood Greenways in calling on the political groups in Kildare County Council to convene a meeting of the Kildare Cycle Forum.  Government policy on cycling is to adopt a collaborative approach giving cycling representatives input into the development and implementation of cycling policy. Maynooth Cycling Campaign accepted an invitation to join the Forum and is looking forward to playing a full part in its work.

Galway Cycle 2016

Congratulations also to the Galway Cycle 2016 for raising over €100,000 for their nominated charity which this year is Down Syndrome Ireland.

Bikeweek 2016

This spring has largely been windy and cold. May is now upon us so we are hoping for more spring like weather. We have also begun to plan for Bikeweek 2016 which runs from 11th to 19th June. Next month’s Newsletter will have full detail of events.

Celbridge Road

Maynooth Cycling Campaign is opposed to the proposed NTA expenditure of €100,000 on a missing section of footpath on Celbridge Road, as it will copperfasten a situation where over 1000 children have no facilities to cycle to school. We call on councillors to ensure that this work does not proceed without a clear plan on how cyclists will be catered for and the timescale involved. Otherwise money will be wasted on a short term measure which will have to be undone in the future.

Railpark

Like a number of locations in Maynooth, Railpark suffers from rat-running with drivers using Railpark to avoid delays at the Celbridge Road junction. If the problem was one of speeding, the solution would be traffic calming. However, it is a traffic management problem and the solution is filtered permeability with no through route for motor vehicles.  This would involve motorists having to enter either from the Straffan Road or the Celbridge Road side, but pedestrians and cyclists would continue to use it as at present. It is also a road safety issue as allowing traffic to rat-run in a residential area is contrary to good road safety practice and needlessly increases the risk to adults and children who live there.

Maynooth Cycling is a non-party political cycling advocacy group. Its aims are to promote cycling as a healthy leisure pursuit and as a safe, enjoyable and efficient mode of transport for everyone in the Maynooth area.

Maynooth Cycling – Feb Notes

(This article appeared in the February 2016 copy of the Maynooth Newsletter)

In the November issue of the Newsletter, there were three items which referred either directly or indirectly to cycling.

The first was the Tidy Towns Adjudication Report for Maynooth. The judges reported that ‘It is great to be in a town with so many clear, good quality cycle lanes and to see so many people using them.’ Maynooth Cycling takes issue with the statement in relation to ‘good quality cycle lanes’ and with ‘so many people using them’.

At that time of the judging, the surface of the cycle track on the Straffan Road was extremely poor and even Kildare County Council accepts that upgrading was overdue. In the 2011 Census, the level of level of bike use was 2.2% for commuting purposes.

We appreciate the fact that the judges include active transport as one of their judging criteria. We are mindful also that the country is starting from a very low base in relation to cycle infrastructure and while we accept that judges bring a wide range of skills to the job of adjudication, we consider that they should be given some guidance on high quality infrastructure and levels of cycling. Maynooth Cycling contends that Town Reports should detail

  • the level of service of existing cycling facilities and any upgrading proposals
  • the level of cycling in the community – at minimum it should include 2011 census figures or other indicator of level of cycling in the community, and
  • progress, if any, towards the government target of 10% of trips by bike by 2020.

The second issue was a concern expressed at the previous Community Council meeting over Moyglare Road traffic at the Kilcock Road junction being disadvantaged. If traffic from Moyglare Road is to be prioritised, it would imply that other traffic or pedestrians would have a lower priority which begs the question of who should loses out? Maynooth Cycling contends that Moyglare Road is not disadvantaged by traffic signals – it is disadvantaged by too much traffic, especially by people who could use alternative modes of transport for short trips.

The third issue referred was concern over the lack of cycle lane road markings at the RC Church. Maynooth Cycling contends that the lining should have been renewed several years ago – if for no other reason than its close proximity to St. Mary’s Boys School. The pupils complained to the Council about the markings in 2010 but their complaints have been ignored.

Finally, in the December issue of the Newsletter, the Community Council notes reported that ‘common sense prevailed’ in relation to the decision on the North South Corridor. As a group which is in favour of an active community, is against traffic congestion and does not welcome fines for failure to meet climate change targets, common sense did not prevail.

Maynooth Cycling is a non-party political cycling advocacy group. Its aims are to promote cycling as a healthy leisure pursuit and as a safe, enjoyable and efficient mode of transport for everyone in the Maynooth area.

Encouraging Cycling?

(This article appeared in the October 2015 edition of the Maynooth Newsletter)

Maynooth Cycling welcomes new developments, especially ones that include partial construction of the ring roads around the town. Development on a green site should give an opportunity to provide cycle facilities in line with best international practice.   However, Maynooth Cycling has a number of concerns about what developers propose for the site between Lidl and Griffin Rath.

 Firstly, the proposed houses are mainly suburban residences with a front garden and space for car parking.  This creates potential conflict between reversing cars and cyclists using the cycle tracks. It will also lead to potential conflict between cars on the ring road and drivers exiting their property – think of reversing onto the Straffan Road. Best international practice for such a green field site would be either to have cyclists use a parallel road servicing the houses in question or to have an urban (as opposed to suburban development) without driveways to individual houses.

Secondly, the proposed cycle tracks stop at each side road junction which is not in line with current Irish design standards.  The method of prioritising cyclists over motorised traffic on side roads is currently a hotly debated subject in countries with low levels of cycling and one where Ireland lags behind best practice.

Thirdly the plans lodged with the council do not give any width for the cycle track so it is difficult to see how the council can adequately assess the quality of provision for cyclists.

Will these proposals encourage many people to take up cycling in Maynooth?  Regrettably, at a time when traffic congestion is increasing, demand on the health services is rising and the consequences of climate change are becoming more apparent, the answer is NO.

Maynooth Cycling is a non-party political cycling advocacy group. Its aims are to promote cycling as a healthy leisure pursuit and as a safe, enjoyable and efficient mode of transport for everyone in the Maynooth area. It recently made a submission on the North South Corridor and will be making a presentation on the deficiencies of the proposed Corridor at the October meeting of the Maynooth Municipal District.