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.