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.


The 1979 Delft Cycle Plan


Delft was the third city in The Netherlands to experiment with modern cycling infrastructure, aided by the national government. After the experiments in Tilburg and The Hague in the 1970s, where they built one very good (but also very expensive) cycle route, that had mixed results but didn’t lead to more cycling overall, Delft took a different and innovative approach. Delft wanted to improve the city’s existing cycle network, which had a lot of missing links. The reason for this area-wide experiment was the increasing modal share of private motor traffic. The city clogged up and couldn’t cope with all those cars, it certainly wouldn’t be able to accommodate even more cars in the future. Cycle expert André Pettinga, who worked for the city of Delft at the time, summarises the need for the Delft Cycle Plan in just a few words: “The local government wished to increase the modal share of cycling!”. This cycle plan was a direct answer to the mainly car-driven Traffic Circulation Plans that had been made for many cities in the Netherlands, including Delft, in the 1960s. The execution of those plans was stopped oneafter the other, because of opposition of the public and changed ideas regarding urban planning……………….

via The 1979 Delft Cycle Plan


Rear_View copy

The Carton Walk Preservation Society (CWPS) has recently commented on the new cycling and walking link from Limetree Hall to the adjacent Carton Walk.

In particular, a spokesperson has been reported as stating that no-one would want a cycle link. Maynooth Cycling Campaign strongly support the provision of cycle facilities between the residential estates and Main Street as it would be a safe route for children attending the nearby school. The alternative route on the Dublin Road has no cycle facilities and would involve a road crossing. Judging from the above photograph, the pupils at Presentation Girls School would appear to agree with our view.

The CWPS also argue that there has been no consultation on the proposal. The proposed walking/cycling link was shown in the Maynooth Local Area Plan 2013–2019 which went to public consultation and was subsequently approved by county councillors. The work is not of a scale which warrants a separate public consultation so Kildare County County got it right this time. Opposition to improved walking and cycling is both mean spirited and detrimental to a more active community.

Submission on Royal Canal (Confey to Maynooth)

Maynooth Cycling Campaign submitted the following as part of the Part 8 Public Consultation process on the Royal Canal (Confey to Maynooth).

17 February 2016

 Submission on Royal Canal Greenway (Confey to Maynooth)

Maynooth Cycling welcomes the proposal for the development of a Greenway along the Royal canal from Maynooth to  the  Dublin County  border.  Together  with  the  Greenway  west  of  Maynooth, currently  under  development,  this  will  be  a  huge  boost  to  active  and  sustainable  transport  in  our area. Since it will allow people of all ages to cycle safely and conveniently between Maynooth and Leixlip, it has the potential to offer a real alternative to the car, leading to improved public health and reduced congestion and pollution.

The Greenway will be part of the Dublin to Galway national cycle route, which in turn is part of the EuroVelo 2 Galway to Moscow route. It will attract significant numbers of tourists to North Kildare towns, giving a welcome boost to the local economy.

We are nonetheless concerned that the proposed scheme is not of an adequate standard to fully capitalise on these potential benefits. In particular, the proposal to finish much of the route in dust, rather  than  black-top  tarmacadam,  will  deter  its  use  by  commuters. Many residents of Maynooth and Leixlip commute to work, between the towns themselves and toward the city. A largely off road, sealed-surface, cycle track will encourage cycle use among these commuters. A dust surface can be appropriate for a pure leisure facility with limited range.  However,  for  commuters  and  those travelling  more  than  a  few  kilometres  a  dust  surface  which  creates  dirt,  puddles  and  potholes  is wholly  unsuitable.  Additionally,  as  noted  by  Sustrans  in  their  documents,  Cycle  Path  Surfacing Options,  unbound  surfaces  are  at  least  50%  more  expensive  than  bound  surfaces  to  lay  and maintain.

The grass verge will limit the ingress of some dust into the canal, but it will not prevent dust being carried by the wind into the water. The environmental report does not provide consideration of dust movement into the water.

Recommendation 1:  A bound surface should  be provided along the length of the proposed greenway to  facilitate  the  large  number  of  commuters  potentially  using  this  route.  At  a  minimum  a  bound surface should be provided between the towns of Maynooth &  Leixlip.

The proposed width of the Greenway is 3 metres. We consider this to be inadequate for safety and comfort  of  both  cyclists  and  pedestrians;  4  metres  is  more  appropriate.    The  NRA  Rural  Cycling Design  Standards  document  TD300/14  specifies  3 metres  as  the  MINIMUM  standard  for  a  shared low-volume facility.  Given its route through the most densely populated area of the country, high volumes should be expected.

Whilst  the  available  corridor  is  narrow  as  some  points  along  its  length,  additional  land  could  be compulsory  purchased  to  ensure  adequate  width.  Where the removal of  vegetation  would  be necessary to construct a 4 metre wide track, additional land acquired could be planted with native species  and,  when  it  matures  sufficiently,  existing  vegetation  removed  to  widen  the  track  to  4 metres.

Recommendation 2: A 4 metre wide track should be provided along the length of the greenway.

The proposed scheme does not set out any objectives in terms of modal shift or number of users. In order to properly assess the scheme, its projected contribution to the government target of 10% of commuters using bikes should be considered. In this context a cost benefit  of analysis of dust versus sealed surface and 3 metre versus 4 metre width should be carried out.

Recommendation  3:  Further consideration should be given to the design of the scheme in terms of government objectives for commuter modal shift.

The default position of the proposed access controls at Straffan Road and Deey Bridge may create an obstacle to tourists and leisure cyclists with large panniers or child trailers. We appreciate that these are a considerable improvement on the barriers currently on the Grand Canal between Adamstown and Inchicore, but question the need for such restrictive barriers.

Recommendation 4: Bollards to be used instead of access gates at all access points.


Yours faithfully,