Archive for the 'Cycling' Category

Provision for cycling within the new Fingal Development Plan

Throughout October, myself and the other Fingal councillors were voting on amendments to the new draft Fingal Development Plan.

One issue which got a lot of public attention was some decisions taken about the provision of cycling facilities across Fingal. Myself and my Green Party colleague, Cllr. David Healy, had put forward a proposal that when new schools are being built, the Council should acquire any pieces of land around the schools that would be necessary to create a safe walking or cycling route to that school.

We saw this as both important from the point of view of road safety, but also that it is more sensible to try and secure safe routes at the point when a school is being built, as opposed to trying to retro-fit walking and cycling routes onto an existing school.

After a long and fairly contentious debate (you can watch here), our motion was defeated 19 – 16. I was both surprised and disappointed by this. While many councillors who voted against the motion stated they were in favour of safe cycling, I was deeply unconvinced by their reasons for rejecting it.

Subsequently, a majority of councillors rejected a second proposal from Cllr. Healy and myself to place restrictions on HGVs around schools at drop-off times.

On the other hand, we were successful in getting a requirement for a 30kmph zone in proximity to primary and secondary schools, which can be implemented once the draft Development Plan is passed in March 2017. I also had an objective inserted promoting cycle route linkages between Castleknock village with both the Phoenix Park and Blanchardstown village.

Fingal commitment to improve road safety measures at Scoil Cholim NS is welcome

Story 4 (pic)

I’ve been in touch with parents and teachers at Scoil Cholim NS regarding road safety concerns for children arriving and leaving the school each day. I recently visited Scoil Cholim during the morning school run along with some parents to see the issues for myself.

There is significant concern that some people are parking outside the entrance to the school by pulling up on the cycle path that many parents and children use each morning. This causes a real risk as it blocks lines of sight and forces pedestrians and cyclists back onto the footpath. I’ve requested the installation of bollards to prevent motorists being able to park up on this cycle lane.

I’ve also requested that the pedestrian barriers at the Porterstown Road – Diswellstown Road cross roads be extended. This is now an extremely busy crossing point with students going to both Scoil Cholim and Luttrellstown Community College. The current barriers are very short and really do nothing to control the movement of students across the point at busy times. Something similar was done at St Mochta’s NS last year and it made crossing significantly safer.

Fingal County Council have committed to examining the traffic issues that I have highlighted and to look at the provision of funding for these measures in next year’s Budget. I will be arguing strongly that these measures are implemented, as there are now two busy schools on the Luttrellstown campus and it is essential we take all measures to make access to it safe for students and parents.

Carpenterstown Road Traffic Calming: Public Submissions

Carpenterstown Road -Proposed Traffic Calming Scheme.

Following pressure over the last year from myself and other councillors, the Council has agreed to undertake traffic calming measures at the Carpenter Pub roundabout and have provided the necessary funding for these.

The proposal includes a number of ramps between the Carpenter roundabout and the Coolmine Station roundabout, and also between the Carpenter roundabout and the entrance to Burnell Park estate.

The plans are on display in the Fingal offices in Blanchardstown, and will also be available online.

If you want to make a submission about the proposal, write to Mr. Michael Carroll, Administrative Officer, Operations Department, Fingal County Council, Grove Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15.

Submission must be made before 4:30pm, Friday 17th July.

Royal Canal cycleway to open from 20th June

Nearly there! Royal Canal cycle and walk way to be open by 20th June

During the election campaign and since, many residents of Blanchardstown and Castleknock have been asking when the Royal Canal tow path will be reopened. The path has been closed since October 2013, as work is undertaken to upgrade it as a pedestrian and cycle route.

I’ve contacted officials in the Fingal County Council Planning Department and they confirm that it will be open for use from the 20th June. The final sections have recently been surfaced and all that remains at this point is the installation of lights.

The new path will offer cyclists and walkers a much smoother and safer route along the Royal Canal. It will increase the Canal’s long term potential as a recreation and tourism resource for Dublin 15. I look forward to it being open for our use soon.

Cycle lane submission: No turning restrictions for Mill Road

Last week I made my submission to the public consultation on the Blanchardstown to Phoenix Park cycle lane. I welcome this proposal as it will make cycling between Blanchardstown, Castleknock and the Park significantly safer. However, there are a number of elements that I believe should be altered to improve the overall effectiveness of the lane and ensure that it does not impact too greatly on existing faculties. These formed the basis of my submission.

A number of residents of Blanchardstown village raised concerns with me that the removal of the right hand turning lane onto Mill Road driving away from town may indicate that the Council intends to completely ban a right hand turn at this point. Such a development, if it should occur, would be hugely burdensome on the people living along Mill Road and the surrounding estates. I would strongly oppose such a ban and I hope that the rumours that it is proposed are incorrect.

The proposal as it currently stands requires the removal of several mature trees along the Castleknock Road at Laurel Lodge in order to make way for the construction of the cycle ramp. It has been indicated that the Council accepts that these trees are not currently requiring removal and have a medium term life span. As such, I would support the routing of the cycle lane ramp around these trees, rather than seeing them removed.

I strongly welcome the proposal to widen the footpath linking Roselawn Road to Castleknock Station along the Granard Bridge. It is important that the new cycle/pedestrian bridges over the canal and the railway are designed in a way that is sympathetic with the existing stonework. I would suggest that painting the new metal work in an olive green colour (as is used on the metal work along the Grand Canal cycle way near Leeson Street Bridge) is preferable to the metallic look on the pedestrian bridge at Coolmine and Clonsilla stations.

Within Blanchardstown village, the creation of the cycle lane is going to require the removal of at least 11 car parking spaces along the Main Street. While it is not strictly in the remit of this consultation, it is vital that the Council act to secure affordable car parking in the village, to encourage people to shop here and to prevent housing estates off Main Street being used for car parking.

Finally, it is important that the new cycle lane is integrated with existing cycling infrastructure. This is particularly significant at the Snugborough Road junction, which can be difficult for cyclists to navigate and where the existing cycle path is significantly less developed than this proposal. I would also emphasise the need to develop further cycle lanes in the Carpenterstown area. I think one travelling from the Blanchardstown Town Centre, though Coolmine, down the Coolmine Road and then along the Carpenterstown Road under the M50 and onto White’s Road would be beneficial as it would link the area to the Phoenix Park and also create a safe route for children cycling to Castleknock College.

Phoenix Park to Blanchardstown cycle lane

Fingal County Council are currently undertaking a public consultation on their proposal to develop a bicycle lane running from the Phoenix Park gates to Blanchardstown Garda Station, which will pass through Blanchardstown and Castleknock villages.

The detail of the plan can be seen in the Fingal CC offices in the Blanchardstown Town Centre or you can access them online here. The main features include:

1. The construction of new cycle tracks and improved pedestrian facilities along the route.

2. The removal of some elements of the bus lane through Blanchardstown village and the upgrading of existing bus stops.

3. The removal of some parking spaces along Blanchardstown Main Street.

4. A 30kph speed limit zone along Blanchardstown Main Street between the entrance to Ramor Park and the junction with the River Road.

5. A new crossing point over the old Navan Road between the Bell Pub and the Woods End apartments

6. Widening of the footpath along the Granard Bridge towards Castleknock Train Station, an underpass for those using the Royal Canal and the provision of two pedestrian/cyclist bridges paralleling the western side of Castleknock Road.

7. Landscaping works and tree planting along the route to replace some trees that will be removed, including a number along the Castleknock Road at Laurel Lodge.

The deadline for public submissions is 5.00pm Thursday 13th March 2014. Please send your submission to ‘Senior Executive  Officer,           Planning       & Strategic Infrastructure Department, Fingal County Council, Main Street, Swords, Co Dublin’ or e-mail devplan@fingal.ie.

While the overall scheme of the proposal is positive, there may be elements that need to be fine tuned in light of public views. If you are planning to make a submission, I would appreciate if you could send me a copy of your views at rodericogorman@gmail.com

Fingal CC should seek funding for bridge over River Liffey to promote cycle tourism in west Dublin

 

Last year, Fingal County Council undertook a public consultation about the future of St. Catherines Park, and included on their list of proposed developments a pedestrian bridge over the Liffey. However, in the new public consultation document published this year, no reference is made to a pedestrian bridge. When I enquired why the bridge was omitted from the more recent consultation, Fingal County Council confirmed that this decision was made due to a lack of available funding sources.

I’m calling on Fingal County Council to seek funding from Government sources to finance this bridge. The Council has already been successful in obtaining funding from the Department of Transport to finance improvements along the Royal Canal between Blanchardstown and Ashtown.

Constructing this bridge would allow a key element of a Regional Cycle Route for Dublin to be completed. This would act as a major draw for cycling tourists, who more and more are choosing Ireland as a holiday destination. While building this bridge would be a large capital spend, we have to invest wisely in long term tourist infrastructure which will encourage people to holiday in Ireland.

We need to make the M50 Pedestrian bridge cyclist friendly

Existing gates are unsuitable for bikes and buggies

I’ve called on Fingal County Council to undertake works to make the M50 Pedestrian bridge between Beechpark Avenue and the Old Navan Road more cyclist and pedestrian friendly.

I believe that the Council needs to replace the gates at both ends of the M50 Pedestrian bridge and improve the lighting and surface along it. The gates that currently exist are hugely unsuitable for cyclists or pedestrians using buggies. Further, the lighting along the tunnel could be significantly improved and the surface is cracked in places and needs replacement.

I made these suggestions as part of my submission to Fingal County Council on their Royal Canal Greenway study, which proposes to build a cycle and pedestrian path from the 12th Lock to Ashtown. The current draft of this study recommends the replacement of the gate at the Navan Road end of the Pedestrian bridge, but think they need to go further.

The M50 Pedestrian bridge is important to the success of the Greenway, as it will be the primary means whereby people coming from the Castleknock village will be able to access the Canal. As such, the opportunity and funding should be taken now to improve the gates on both sides of the pedestrian bridge, and also to improve the lighting and the surface along it.

Tunnel at Castleknock end needs improved lighting