Open Letter to KCC : CHANGE OUR STREETS – MAKE SAFER STREETS FOR ALL

NOTE If you like the NEW NORM with reduced traffic and more Kildare people walking and cycling, we invite you to email maynoothcycling@gmail.com (or Shamrock Spring at shamrockspring@gmail.com) to demonstrate your support for Change Our Streets. We will add your name to the list of supporters.

Make Walking And Cycling Safer To Go To Work, To Shops And Pharmacies, To Volunteer And To Exercise


Dear Mr. Carey,

We are an alliance of Kildare groups and residents, led by Maynooth Cycling Campaign and Kildare Environmental Network. We live, work, trade or shop in Kildare. We want our Council to urgently Change Our Streets by reallocating space for people on foot and on bikes during this long COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

We want to express sympathy with those who have died of COVID-19, their families, friends, and colleagues. Using our expertise in road safety to help ease social anxieties around social distancing, we wish to give support to people with an added reason to walk or cycle.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says that ‘whenever feasible, consider riding a bicycle or walking to provide physical distancing and daily physical activity’ during the COVID-19 emergency. In Ireland, we have seven exceptions to the ‘Stay at Home Order’, including exercising within 5 km from home.

We want safer streets for all ages and all abilities in our ‘new normal’. We are supported by doctors, nurses, health professionals, resident associations, community groups, businesses and associations. [Note: health professionals – to be finalised]

We have two requests to reduce preventable deaths and injuries, and create pedestrian- and cycle-friendly streets:

1.    Reallocate road space to people walking and cycling.
2.    Temporarily lower the speed limit to 30 km/h in urban areas.

We ask that Kildare County Council arranges a Transport SPC meeting as a matter of urgency and that the agenda be devoted to Change Our Streets. [Note: This paragraph to be finalised]

How COVID-19 Impacts on the Use Of Public Space

  • An increasing number of Kildare residents live in apartments with no access to a private garden. Over 9% of households in Kildare do not have access to a car. Children need 60 minutes of daily exercise. Access to green and blue spaces has detectable mental and physical health benefits.
  • There is an increase in individuals and families walking and cycling in their local areas, whether for exercise or essential journeys. 
  • Healthcare workers and other essential workers have reported incidents of feeling unsafe while walking or cycling to work.
  • There is a lack of space for social distancing across the county for people walking and cycling. Narrow footpaths and painted cycle lanes do not provide the space to adhere to HSE social distancing guidelines.
  • There are road safety issues with the reduced vehicle traffic. Most significant of which is speeding but also red light breaking and phone use by motorists.
  • People queuing outside shops that have in-store limits, are lining up on narrow footpaths next to wide roads with multiple parking and driving lanes.
  • Public transport numbers are down as people stay home. There is a risk that levels of private car traffic may increase sharply in the intervening period before a vaccine is found and widely distributed.
  • With an increase in unemployment, and good summer weather ahead, the bicycle offers an affordable transport option to many who may not have considered cycling to date.
  • The demand for parking has drastically reduced.

Kildare County Council has closed or restricted access to playgrounds, skateparks and outdoor gyms, even to people living within 5 km. Residents of places with natural beauty are concerned that people in groups are travelling by car to these pleasant places for exercise.


Make Safer Streets for All – Reallocating Road Space to People Walking and Cycling
Expedient, wide-ranging action will reconfigure Kildare’s public spaces to decrease public health risk, social anxiety and the risk of increased traffic levels as the restrictions begin to be lifted over the coming months and years.

These types of measures have already been rolled out internationally, especially in the German capital Berlin. In Ireland, Dublin City and Fingal County councils have started to reallocate road space.

We ask Kildare County Council to implement temporary measures, including:

  • Install temporary cycle lanes along the key traffic routes where feasible.
    • Example: Main Street Newbridge, Main Street Celbridge, Newbridge Road Naas and Dublin Road Maynooth
  • Widen or introduce footpaths using cones on busy streets, outside lines of shops or areas with queues, or thoroughfares to shops and essential businesses. This may need the reallocation of space from on-street parking and loading bays.
    • Example: SuperValu Main Street South, Naas.
  • Temporary use of cones, bollards and planters to filter through-traffic in housing estates, and so make roads safe for children playing and people exercising.
    • Examples: Laurence’s Avenue and Rail Park Maynooth, and Monread Naas.
  • Automate pedestrian signal crossings during daylight hours and increase pedestrian crossing times in urban areas. Add signage to prevent people pressing the buttons.
    • Example: as Greystones Municipal District and other councils have done.
  • Temporary suspension of extra lanes alongside roads with shared walking / cycling facilities or narrow footpaths. Turn the extra lane into a barrier / cone-protected cycle lane and, if shared facilities are present, temporarily designate the shared facilities as pedestrian-only.
    • Examples: New Caragh Road Naas adjacent to the Newbridge Road.
  • Removal of turn right lanes where footpaths are narrow and/or there is no cycle facility.
    • Example: New Caragh Road Naas adjacent to Newbridge Road
  • Revise traffic management arrangements in order to change a two way road with no cycle facilities with a one way road and two cycle lanes (one a contra-flow cycle lane).
    • Example Newtown Road, Maynooth
  • Temporary pedestrianisation of roads and creating ‘quiet streets’ to connect residences and essential destinations.

Lower the Speed Limits
In relation to urban areas, we request the introduction of a temporary blanket 30 km/h speed limit on all local and regional roads during the pandemic. In addition, drop the speed limit on roads with 60 km/h areas to 50 km/h and 80 km/h to 60 km/h. This will make walking and cycling more pleasant, reduce the risk of collisions, and reduce the severity of injury on impact, should any collisions occur. Professor John Crown of St Vincent’s University Hospital has made a similar call.

The Isle of Man introduced a temporary speed limit island-wide to 40 mph at the end of March, following NHS doctors stating that this is the number one action to ‘lower the baseline’ of critical care admissions.

Brussels will introduce a city centre speed limit of 20 km/h from May 1 until the end of August. Milan’s ambitious Strade Aperte (Open Streets) plan has 20 km/h speed limits at its heart. This is to make living in urban areas more pleasant during the coronavirus.

Change Our Streets – Make Safer Streets For All
The Minister for Health says that physical distancing measures will be with us until a vaccine is available. We know that this will, at least, be months from now.

In general, please:
• Keep stable or expand the resources budgeted for footpath and cycling schemes.
• Bringing forward of timelines for National Transport Authority cycling schemes.
• Include footpath widening as part of footpath repair schemes.
• Include reallocation of space as part of road maintenance schemes.

This COVID-19 crisis offers a unique opportunity to implement and trial low or zero-cost solutions for a more resilient, pleasant and accessible public realm in Maynooth and other urban centres in Kildare. We can create a liveable city whose streetscape is designed with empathy and flexibility for the mental and physical wellbeing of all who live here.

We, the undersigned, strongly request that you consider, plan and implement these measures in the interests of public health and safety.


CC Mr. Tadhg McDonnell, Director of Services for Transportation



Change Our Streets


Hello – You are invited to the following event:  CHANGE OUR STREETS

Event to be held at the following time and date:

                            Tuesday, 5 May 2020 from 19:00 to 19:45 (BST)

Tickets on Eventbrite – https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/lets-change-our-streets-tickets-104165200920?

Let’s Get Moving

          Tune in – Tuesday’s meeting is devoted to Sustainable Transport solutions

 We invite you to watch IN ADVANCE a short film (15mins) by Streetfilm        https://vimeo.com/76207227 on Groningen best cycling city in the world.

          Then from 7:00pm on Tuesday, we will meet on Zoom to discuss ways to                                #ChangeOurStreets to more sustainable future.

         *    What drives Dutch bike culture, socio-economic rewards of cycling, health                           effects of clean air and bonus lower noise pollution brings.
          *   How complementing wider investment into cycling infrastructure can help                          create  more  value in future.
          *  Lessons for Kildare

 Do share this event on Facebook and Twitter.

We hope you can make it.

All the Best,

Gerry Dornan, Maynooth Cycling Campaign

Deirdre Lane, ShamrockSpring 

Press Release – Provide Safe Space for Pedestrians and Cyclists during the Current Crisis

The Irish Pedestrian Network and Cyclist.ie call on the national government to provide safe, usable space across the country for people to shop, exercise and commute by walking and cycling during the Covid-19 crisis as a matter of urgency.

While current lock-down restrictions are in place until May 5th, the Minister for Health Simon Harris has stated that social distancing measures may stay in place to some degree until a coronavirus vaccine has been found. A substantial percentage of Irish people shop on foot or by cycling, and physical exercise is vitally important to both physical and mental health.

The Irish Pedestrian Network and Cyclist.ie propose that while motor traffic is reduced, space on streets must be reallocated to walking, running, cycling and playing to ensure safe social distancing within communities – a reallocation that is already taking place internationally.

Speaking for the Irish Pedestrian Network Ailish Drake says, “The New Zealand government has empowered local communities to create more social distancing space by providing 90% funding for new footpaths and widen existing ones, and to create pop-up bike lanes. These measures can be put in place in a matter of hours or a few days using paint, blocks or planters.”

Damien Ó Tuama spokesperson for Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, says,
“Over sixty towns and cities worldwide, in recognition of this new reality, have quickly installed low-cost temporary measures by using cones to widen footpaths and repurposing full vehicle lanes to cycle lanes. Dublin has now joined Berlin, Washington DC and London in reallocating road space to ensure safer social distancing is possible. We want other councils to do the same.”

The Irish Pedestrian Network and Cyclist.ie welcome efforts by many local Councillors and TDs in seeking additional space for social distancing across Irish cities and in particular the progress made in Dublin where Dublin City Council will begin implementing emergency distancing measures from Monday 20th April.

The IPN and Cyclist.ie now call on the government to implement a nationwide program as follows:

      1.   Make social distancing easier for those walking or cycling to shops or essential work
       2.   Automated pedestrian crossings so people do not have to manually press signal buttons.
       3.   Introduction of a default speed limit of 30km/h on all urban and suburban streets
       4.   A proportionate reallocation of road space to pedestrians and cyclists, to make walking and cycling safer for those who are exercising within their 2km zone, especially those with prams or wheelchairs
       5.   Local authorities to prioritise temporary widening of footpaths, pop-up cycle lanes, quietways in cities and/or closing road lanes and specific streets to motor traffic (for example: by the temporary application of DMURS standards to existing streets)
       6.   New space to be allocated fairly and with consideration of universal needs across city centre, suburbs, towns and villages to avoid people ‘flocking’ to centralised areas
       7.   Dedicated teams in each local authority to enable local residents and interested groups to plan and design temporary footpaths and cycle lanes in their locality
       8.   Rapid implementation of said routes with a design strategy to clearly indicate new routes to users and motorists.

Orla Burke, spokesperson for Pedestrian Cork explains, “Families in Cork, denied the opportunity to drive to their favourite walking spots, are coming face-to-face with the poor provision for walking in their immediate neighbourhoods. Quick wins are available to our councils but this requires thoughtful leadership. This could be a time for simple yet effective improvements to facilitate walking. We call on our local authorities to rise to the challenge of Covid-19 make our streets safe for all.”

Anne Cronin of Cycle Bus Limerick added, “For children that live in the city or suburbs, jumping on their bike with a parent, is their only way to connect with a space outside of their home. Many children are forced to cycle on the road as opposed to the footpath and therefore are at risk without segregation. The increase in the numbers of children cycling in our city is remarkable at the moment and children should be protected and supported to remain doing so.”

Ailish Drake added that “these temporary actions in response to the Covid-19 emergency, would be strategic in creating a positive culture change to make our towns and cities more liveable and contributing to a much needed boost in footfall required to aid the economic recovery when we move beyond the current crisis. This is in line with current government policy for both urban and rural regeneration development funds (URDF & RRDF).”

END


The Irish Pedestrian Network is a national advocacy group working to deliver a public realm that is inclusive and ambitious for all. The Network has rapidly grown since its foundation in 2019, and now has affiliated groups in Dublin, Limerick and Cork. Twitter @IrishPedestrian

Maynooth Cycling Campaign is a member of Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network.

 

Cycling for All – Kildare Supporters

Maynooth Cycling Campaign, on behalf of Cyclist.ie (the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network), contacted candidates running for election to Kildare County Council and sought their commitment to high quality cycle facilities through support for Cycling for All.  Maynooth candidates were asked a further local question – to support high quality cycling facilities to two primary schools on the Celbridge Road serving some 700 pupils.

Well the election is now imminent – so what is the position on cycling of candidates? One canvasser said in response to a query “Isn’t everyone in favour of cycling?” Well actually no.  All or practically all are in favour of cycling but support ranges from strong to very soft.

The candidates who pledged support for high quality cycle facilities by endorsing Cycling for All are listed in Table 1 below. We wish them all well in the election and hope that you, the voter, will remember them in the polling booth.

Electoral DistrictNamePartySupport for High Quality Cycling on Celbridge Rd Maynooth
MaynoothPeter Hamilton Green PartyYes
MaynoothCllr. Tim Durkan Fine GaelYes
MaynoothRioana Mulligan Fine Gael 
AthySamantha Kenny Soc Demsn/a
CelbridgePhilip Slattery Fine Gaeln/a
CelbridgeCllr. Brendan Young  Independentn/a
ClaneCllr. Padraig McEvoy Independentn/a
ClaneEoin Hallissey Green Partyn/a
KildareDeclan Crowe   Independentn/a
LeixlipCllr. A. Larkin  Independentn/a
NaasCllr. Sorcha O’Neill Independentn/a
NaasBill Clear Soc Demsn/a
NaasCllr. Carmel Kelly Fianna Fáiln/a

In the report entitled International Cycling Infrastructure Best Practice Study on behalf of Transport for London, consultants identified a number of characteristics of locations where cycling was either strong or where there was strong commitment to increasing the level of cycling. The first characteristic was

There is strong, clear political and technical pro-cycling leadership which is supported through all parts of the lead organisation.

Strong clear political leadership is generally lacking in Ireland but support for Cycling for All shows that that is now changing. More than 120 candidates  have signed up which includes representatives from Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Fein, Labour, Green Party, Social Democrats and People Before Profit as well as Independents.  

What Do They Love More – Their Cars or Their Kids?

Screenshot 2019-05-18 at 14.30.25

A number of Moyglare Abbey residents have complained about the proposed narrowing of the entrance to the estate from the Moyglare Road as part of the provision of cycle facilities to the new school campus.

Arising from issues raised, Kildare County Council undertook to carry out a review of the proposed junction and in a letter the Senior Executive Officer stated that

With reference to the entrance to Moyglare Abbey, the proposed works to the entrance are to ensure compliance with DMURS.

This statement is incorrect. The internal roads of Moyglare Abbey were designed at a time when engineers considered that wide roads were beneficial for road safety reasons. It is now realised that on the contrary wider roads encourage faster speeds which makes it more dangerous particularly for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.

The Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets (DMURS) sets out current thinking on the design of urban roads and streets. The emphasis is on the design of “streets” in urban areas as the word “streets” suggests multi users as opposed to “roads” which suggests priority for cars and motorised traffic. Leaving aside the term streets, roads are categorised as either arterial roads, link roads or local roads. Internal estate roads like in Moyglare Abbey are local roads – they cater for local only as opposed to through traffic. Section 4.4.1 of DMURS includes Figure 4.55 which gives widths for different categories of roads. The following, an extract from Page 102, defines the widths for local roads ranging from 5 to 5.5m:


If the entrance was in accordance with DMURS, it would be within this range. Instead it is 7m wide which is narrower than it was but which shows how badly designed, by current standards, many of our existing roads and junctions are. If councillors are interested in road safety, they should ask three questions:

  1. What Is the width of the junction and where is it set out in DMURS as being applicable for a local road?
  2. What are the the kerb radii and where is it set out in DMURS as being applicable for a local road?
  3. Does the junction design prioritise cars or pedestrians and cyclists as set out in the DMURS hierarchy of road users?

The Moyglare Abbey access road is different from many other estates in that it also serves a farm. As the entrance must also work for the farm, councillors should ask a fourth question :

    4.  What is the width and frequency of “farm” traffic.

This may lead to a wider entrance than specified by DMURS but an increase should be reasonable. It should not, as in the past, be designed for the  widest vehicle. 

Screenshot 2019-05-18 at 14.41.10

Photograph showing Entrance to Farm off Moyglare Abbey

Those who oppose the narrowing of estate junctions increase the risk to children and other vulnerable road users. The Moyglare Residents Association erected the sign below to alert drivers of the presence of children but in deciding on speed most drivers take their cue from the road form rather than from road signage. At the end of the day, people have to decide what do they love more  – their cars or their kids? 

moyglare

Postscript – The road/laneway to the farm is only 2.45m so the entrance to a residential estate is nearly three times the width of a road for farm machinery. Crazy!!!

Celbridge Road Needs High Quality Cycle Facilities

Election time is an opportunity by cycle campaigners to reassess progress and to set out new goals for the future. From earlier this year, we identified one glaring omission in Kildare County Council’s proposals for Maynooth – the failure to provide for cycling facilities to the two primary schools on the Celbridge Road. Planning for these schools commenced nearly twenty years ago with little or no consideration on how children would cycle to school and last year, Kildare County Council’s Area Engineer was quoted as stating that there was no room for cycle facilities.  As it turned out, draft plans have recently been drawn up to provide cycle facilities on the Celbridge Road and we are grateful to Cllr. Tim Durkan for informing us. However, the use of the terms “provide” and “cycle facilities” is somewhat arbitrary. The proposed cycle track does not connect with the Straffan Road cycle track and doesn’t extend as far as either of the two schools. It is also discontinuous at Laurence’s Avenue and its effective width is 1.5m which puts it in the category of low quality. The County Council seems to think that cyclists have need to travel in one direction only as the cycle track is unidirectional. Overall, it is an appalling design and once again the council is “ticking the box” for cycling but doing nothing to enable people who want to cycle. Maynooth Cycling Campaign proposes a 2m footpath and 2m cycle track with 1m buffer either side of a 6m road, requiring an overall width of 16m. The existing cross-section of the Celbridge Road varies along its length but there is generally an available width of 14m. So where does the other 2m come from?

Existing Cross-section adjacent to Rockfield

At Rockfield Estate, the 2m could be made up from grass verge on the Laurence’s Avenue side.  Between Rockfield and the Maynooth Educate Together School, it will be necessary to acquire a strip of land at the front of two properties either by agreement or through the use of a Compulsory Purchase Order. Compulsory purchase orders are a normal procedure for providing new roads and it is proposed to used the procedure as part of the Bus Connect project to acquire additional space.

Proposed Cross-section (Typical)

It is accepted that close to the junction with the Straffan Road a pinch point does exist which will require an imaginative solution. The location of two bungalows close to the road complicates the use of CPOs and while there is also a lack of space at Maxol, only a short length is affected. Consequently, a reduction in standards over a short length or, alternatively,  a reduction to a single traffic lane with flow in one direction (after the construction of the relief road between the Celbridge and Straffan Roads) may be acceptable. A detailed survey of the area will allow all options to be considered. Discussions will be required with adjacent residents as part of the design process. However, this must be balanced against the needs of the wider community and government policies on climate and health. High quality cycling facilities on the Celbridge Road is supported by Maynooth Cycling Campaign. It also has the support of the Parent Teacher Association of Maynooth Educate Together and the Parent Association of Gaelscoil Uí Fhiaich. For some twenty years, Kildare County Council has been providing low quality cycle infrastructure which has had negligible impact on levels of cycling. If it continues to provide such quality, there will be negligible change in the next twenty years. Maynooth Cycling Campaign proposes to lobby candidates for the Maynooth Municipal District to support high quality cycle facilities on the Celbridge Road and to publicise the results in advance of the election.

The 1979 Delft Cycle Plan

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Delft was the third city in The Netherlands to experiment with modern cycling infrastructure, aided by the national government. After the experiments in Tilburg and The Hague in the 1970s, where they built one very good (but also very expensive) cycle route, that had mixed results but didn’t lead to more cycling overall, Delft took a different and innovative approach. Delft wanted to improve the city’s existing cycle network, which had a lot of missing links. The reason for this area-wide experiment was the increasing modal share of private motor traffic. The city clogged up and couldn’t cope with all those cars, it certainly wouldn’t be able to accommodate even more cars in the future. Cycle expert André Pettinga, who worked for the city of Delft at the time, summarises the need for the Delft Cycle Plan in just a few words: “The local government wished to increase the modal share of cycling!”. This cycle plan was a direct answer to the mainly car-driven Traffic Circulation Plans that had been made for many cities in the Netherlands, including Delft, in the 1960s. The execution of those plans was stopped oneafter the other, because of opposition of the public and changed ideas regarding urban planning……………….

via The 1979 Delft Cycle Plan

Cycle Tracks Should Be Laid In Red Asphalt — The Ranty Highwayman

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Ever since my first visit to the Netherlands in the summer of 2015, I have been obsessed with the use of red asphalt for cycle tracks (OK, the Dutch do design quite well generally).The main reasons are that using a coloured surface helps to provide visual priority in situations such as cycle tracks crossing side…

via Cycle Tracks Should Be Laid In Red Asphalt — The Ranty Highwayman