Barrack Bridge and Caves marsh boardwalk in Malahide

Barrack Bridge is situated on Old Yellow Walls Road and crosses the Gaybrook stream just before the stream enters Cave’s Marsh. It is 2km from Malahide & 4km from Swords. People from Seabury (a large estate in Malahide) mainly use it to go to & from Malahide & also by school kids who use it to attend local schools.

 Why this is a current issue??

Safety for Schoolchildren Children from Seabury, Waterside & Kileen use this bridge to get to Pope John Paul II School & Saint Sylvester’s School. A recent survey showed that 92% of parents felt Barrack Bridge is unsafe for school children. There are numerous anecdotal accounts of accidents and a worry that the road is dangerous for pedestrians, particularly when buses pass.

Swords to Malahide & beyond It is also on the Swords to Malahide estuary route, FCC are making significant progress with plans already in place for the Swords Malahide Estuary Cycle between Seatown Road and Estuary Road. Also, there plans are in place for the Broadmeadow way linking Donabate to Malahide. We feel that this stretch of road is a pinch point on this route & there would be safety concerns for families trying to use this road.

 Previous Proposals There have been numerous discussions at Council Level regarding Barrack Bridge, and over the years different proposals have been put forward to make this area safe for pedestrians & cyclists

Proposal 1 – Make Barrack Bridge Safer In 2003, a proposal was put forward to improve car movements could be restricted in favour of improved pedestrian and cycling facilities.

In 2004 Clifton, Scannell, Emerson and Associates, Consultants undertook a study of the Yellow Walls Road, in particular in the vicinity of Barrack Bridge & devised three options 1. A proposed one-way system at Barrack Bridge which would reduce traffic levels by a half and be safest for pedestrians and cyclists 2. The second option was to continue with the existing two-way arrangement with calming traffic measures, in the shape of raised platforms, placed at 50 to 75-metre intervals along Yellow Walls Road. 3. The third option presented in the report was to have a two-way system except for a short stretch at Barrack Bridge, where a shuttle light system would operate.

Option 2 was implemented but some of the problems still remain. Since then our Councillors have been trying to make this road safe & have brought in some short term safety measures such as improving safety signage in the area & requesting Bollards & Vehicle Activated Signage to be installed.

Proposal 2 – A Boardwalk over Caves Marsh An alternative to using Barrack Bridge to get to school is via a boardwalk over Caves Marsh to enable children to safely walk or bike to and from school. Caves marsh is the strip of land directly in from of Barrack Bridge towards the estuary. A wildlife study carried out in 2007 on the ecosystem of this conservation area recommended that any crossing be situated as far south as possible. This location was chosen to minimise the impact to breeding and feeding birds and other wildlife. It is unlikely that this recommendation would be overturned.

This proposal was put before Fingal County Council in 2006. The main advantage of this route  Safe access to Seabury Park/Estuary Park for children from Milford and beyond & safe access to school for children from Seabury & beyond.  Children will be less likely to use Barrack Bridge  A reduction in the number of cars using Barrack Bridge, as walking/cycling to school via the boardwalk would be both safer and 200m shorter than the existing route over Barrack Bridge  A birdlife/wildlife sanctuary on our doorstep This option was not pursued in 2006 because it would lead to children crossing the road at Barrack Bridge, which is unsafe. This problem still exists &, the other access point to the proposed boardwalk would add 20 mins to some student’s journeys which is counterintuitive. For this option to work in terms of active travel for school children, there must be a safe & quick way to access the proposed boardwalk.

Why Now?  Government Funding The programme for Government commits cycling and pedestrian projects will be set at 20% of the 2020 capital budget (€360 million) per year for the lifetime of the Government  Fingal County Council Fingal County Council prioritises the promotion of Active Travel as part of its ongoing commitment to Climate Action. In 2020, an Environment, Climate Action and Active Travel Department was set up  We have some Progressive Councillors in our area There are Councillors in the Howth Malahide Area who have a commitment to active travel. Thanks to them we have the wonderful Baldoyle to Portmarnock facility & there is potential for a similar scheme to be introduced here.

What can you do? If you would like to get involved, why not:  join the Fingal Cycling Campaign or  join the Malahide Community Forum or  join the Parents committee of a local school or  Contact our local Councillors

In Summary, there are two potential options to make the route from Seabury to Pope John Paul II safe for active travel:  car movements on barrack bridge could be restricted in favour of improved pedestrian and cycling facilities or  A boardwalk is built over Caves Marsh which has safe & quick access for Schoolchildren

Sunday, 14 February 2021 - 4:00pm

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