(This article appeared in the October 2015 edition of the Maynooth Newsletter)
Maynooth Cycling welcomes new developments, especially ones that include partial construction of the ring roads around the town. Development on a green site should give an opportunity to provide cycle facilities in line with best international practice. However, Maynooth Cycling has a number of concerns about what developers propose for the site between Lidl and Griffin Rath.
Firstly, the proposed houses are mainly suburban residences with a front garden and space for car parking. This creates potential conflict between reversing cars and cyclists using the cycle tracks. It will also lead to potential conflict between cars on the ring road and drivers exiting their property – think of reversing onto the Straffan Road. Best international practice for such a green field site would be either to have cyclists use a parallel road servicing the houses in question or to have an urban (as opposed to suburban development) without driveways to individual houses.
Secondly, the proposed cycle tracks stop at each side road junction which is not in line with current Irish design standards. The method of prioritising cyclists over motorised traffic on side roads is currently a hotly debated subject in countries with low levels of cycling and one where Ireland lags behind best practice.
Thirdly the plans lodged with the council do not give any width for the cycle track so it is difficult to see how the council can adequately assess the quality of provision for cyclists.
Will these proposals encourage many people to take up cycling in Maynooth? Regrettably, at a time when traffic congestion is increasing, demand on the health services is rising and the consequences of climate change are becoming more apparent, the answer is NO.
Maynooth Cycling is a non-party political cycling advocacy group. Its aims are to promote cycling as a healthy leisure pursuit and as a safe, enjoyable and efficient mode of transport for everyone in the Maynooth area. It recently made a submission on the North South Corridor and will be making a presentation on the deficiencies of the proposed Corridor at the October meeting of the Maynooth Municipal District.