Submission on Broadmeadow Way by Skerries Cycling Initiative
Skerries Cycling Initiative made the following submission on the proposed Broadmeadow Way.
THE SKERRIES CYCLING INITIATIVE WELCOMES THIS EXCELLENT PLAN
Not only is this cycleway/trail a highly desirable objective on its own merits, but it is also a crucial component of a more ambitious plan of Fingal Co. Council (FCC) which is : the Fingal Coast & Castle Way (FC&CW). This point is clarified below.
THE NAME OF THE TRACK In the text you refer to the “Fingal Coastal Way which is a longstanding objective of the county development plan.” As we understand it, Fingal Co.Council (FCC) has modified this name to The Fingal Coast & Castle Way (FC&CW), as discussed by the April 2nd 2013 Transportation SPC (ref. Michael Lorigan FCC, Paul Cantwell FCC, Cllr. Ciaran Byrne). This, more recent name, incorporates the older “longstanding” project (Fingal Way) but which now embraces both cycling and the local amenity and heritage connections which powerfully raise the tourism profile of the cycleway. The FC&CW concept stretches from the Meath border to Sutton where it links to the Sutton-to-Sandycove Cycleway (S2S), enabling cyclists to reach the city off-road to the South or Howth to the North (onroad). The NTA has allocated funds to FCC for 2014 to explore a cycling upgrade of the R106 from Malahide to Sutton.
The cycletrack which is due for construction this year on the R127 between Balbriggan and Barnageeragh would also be a component of the FC&CW, with links to Ardgillan and Skerries Mills. Ditto the Broadmeadow Way which is the subject of this consultation. The overall name is important and the modification (inserting the phrase “Coast & Castle”) is intended to draw attention to the recreational and heritage attractions along the cycleway. There is a bigger picture here. We have got to get this right, from the start, so that Fingal tourism can benefit from the FC&CW and so that the correct signage is prepared.
It should also be borne in mind that the National Transport Authority refers to a long-term cycling project for the East coast of Ireland in the cycling plans for the Greater Dublin Area. This project is called The East Coast Trail. We assume that the FC&CW would be the Fingal element of the East Coast Trail and that the Broadmeadow Way which is the subject of this consultation, is also component of the East Coast Trail.
Conclusion : signage must not be limited to “Broadmeadow Way” but must also assure the cyclist/pedestrian that s/he is also utilising the Fingal Coast & Castle Way. Reference to The East Coast Trail would also be a requirement albeit only occasional.
SECTION 1 : MALAHIDE DEMESNE
The “emerging preferred option” listed, Option 3, has a drawback in that cyclists cannot immediately cycle onto it when leaving the car park. This threatens trouble in that many cyclists will not be aware that they have to walk their bikes for a distance, and others will be frustrated by it and will ignore this requirement. Option 5 is more attractive than Option 3 as it skirts the section of Option 3 which carries higher pedestrian density? Options ½ should also be considered as they are cyclable for their entire length? We would question why the idea that an option offers “the most direct route” is all that important in the context of enjoying the environment of a park on a bicycle. Options ½ exposes the cyclists to a large section of this beautiful park. We believe that the park generally should be available to cycling families, especially with small children, for whom a circular cycle in the park itself would meet their needs. Options 4/6 should be rejected because of the entrance chosen and also because the entrance is further away from Hanlon’s Lane than the other options (see next point).
SECTION 2 : R106 DUBLIN ROAD
The “emerging” option 4 , exiting at Hogan’s Gate, crossing the road directly and turning West down a 3.2 metre “dedicated off-road shared surface” looks attractive initially until one considers the “shared” aspect. Is this essentially a footpath with a painted line down the centre? If so, it has to be emphasised that such shared facilities cause conflict between pedestrians and cyclists as well as injuries on both sides wherever they are created. This would NOT be attractive either to cyclists or pedestrians for obvious reasons. Ask the elderly or parents with prams what they think. BUT, if you provide simple segregation between the pedestrians and cyclists - then that’s fine. Segregation can be provided easily by putting the cycle track at road level, segregated from traffic on the Northern side of the road by a kerb, and segregated from the pedestrians North of the track who are up on the raised footpath.
SECTION 3 : O’Hanlon’s Lane to Bissett Strand : agreed.
SECTION 4 : BISSETTS STRAND TO THE NORTH SHORE OF THE MALAHIDE ESTUARY
This section is fine except for one reservation about “kissing gates”. The text reads : “Access will be restricted by the use of kissing gates and barriers which will restrict vehicle access but allow pedestrians and cyclists (including prams and wheelchairs) to continue their journey.” Local Authorities are becoming increasingly aware of the high nuisance factor associated with “kissing gates” on cycleways and greenways. It is very frustrating to ride on a beautiful cycleway while constantly having to dismount in order to pass through such obstacles. We note favourably that you will be allowing for access to “prams and wheelchairs” but we need assurance that the entrance to the viaduct section will be easy to negotiate and that this ease-of-access philosophy is adopted throughout the project.
SECTION 5 : NORTH SHORE OF MALAHIDE ESTUARY TO R126 HEARSE ROAD
All options shown are acceptable and FCC is to be commended for the work that they have put into this. The reasons given for selecting Route Option 3 are good, especially the reference to the route being very scenic and the most direct route - which is vital to encourage utility cycling between Donabate and Malahide. However, the SCI would like to make two comments:
1. The chosen junction with the R126 is with the Kilcrea Rd. opposite the Newbridge House entrance. That’s good for tourist/recreational cyclists. However, utility cyclists coming from Donabate village on the R126 will reach the Corballis road first. This is a natural access road to the rail line to the East. It is also the natural route to be followed if cyclists travelling North want to go straight to Donabate village. This means that Route Option 4 is more ideal for utility cyclists while retaining much of the scenic value and directness. If Route Option 4 were chosen, which eventually reaches and parallels the Corballis Rd., and if a simple access point were provided onto the Corballis road for utility cyclists not turning left along the R126 to Newbridge House, then this slightly modified Route 4 might be superior.
2. The route options shown deliberately avoid using the Kilcrea Rd. and the Corballis Rd. as part of the Broadmeadow Way. These roads carry very light traffic indeed. They are quite acceptable as part of the track in themselves. Money can be saved by using them fully. Hence, here is our ideal Route Option 4 Modified : the route runs from the South, at the viaduct, as shown, until it reaches the Corballis Rd. It then continues on the Corballis Rd. to the R126. At the junction, signage is provided to Donabate village to the right. For cyclists proceeding to Newbridge House, a short track, as shown in green on the plans, takes the cyclists down to the Kilcrea Rd./Newbridge Hse. junction.
SECTION 6 : agreed.
The SCI are delighted to welcome the Broadmeadow Way project. We wish to see it deliberately placed within the wider context of the Fingal Coast & Castle Way and the East Coast Trail. We advise FCC to avoid “cyclists dismount” scenarios where at all possible e.g. in Section 1 by choosing Options 5, or ½ to get the cyclists from the main car park to an exit. In Section 2 we strongly urge avoiding shared use with pedestrians by use of simple segregation. We also urge caution when installing “kissing gates” based on the negative experience of cyclists with these structures. We appreciate the work done on the more difficult Section 5 and we suggest choosing Option 4, modified to take account of utility cycling to/from Donabate village and the train station. The designation of the project as a “Greenway” is understandable but there is a danger of forgetting the utility cycling value of the track e.g. school children or adult commuters travelling from Donabate/Portrane to Malahide.
Raymond Ryan, Chairperson, Skerries Cycling Initiative.
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