This evening I made a submission on behalf of the Dublin West Green Party into the public consultation being run by Fingal CC on the Ongar-Castaheany Cycle Network. This makes proposals for linking existing cycle tracks around a number of schools in the Ongar area. It’s a positive initiative to integrate the existing cycle tracks into a more systematic network. Hopefully this will be followed in other areas of Dublin 15.
As part of my submission, I again called on Fingal CC to begin work on drawing up a ‘Safe Routes to School’ strategy for Fingal. I have proposed this a number of times before – as part of the Development Plan process and also during the 2009 local election campaign.
A Safe Routes to School strategy would see safety audits being undertaken of the routes to all schools in Fingal, to see where improvements could be made. In some areas, this may require alterations to speed limits, or the addition of more pedestrian crossings. Schools would create a Safe Routes to School Committee, which would bring parents and teachers together to liaise with the Gardai. Finally, improved bicycle infrastructure, such as rack etc, could be provided to schools.
More and more parents want their children to cycle to school because of the significant health and independence benefits it provides. Where parents and kids want to cycle, it is up to Fingal County Council to provide the environment where they can safely exercise their choice. Creating a Safe Routes to School strategy across Fingal would be a significant step in this direction.