kerry COMMUNITY needS your help!

Kerry County Council wants to amend a publicly owned greenway route and the local community are looking for support.

Local community campaigners in Kerry have alerted us to the proposal by Kerry County Council to divert an agreed greenway route (Tralee to Fenit) around a private property, despite the actual agreed route – the former railway line – being in public ownership.

They are asking you to submit your objection to Kerry County Council – [email protected] – by latest this Friday, 4th September.  You can check out the details in Cyclist.ie’s draft submission below, and feel free to copy any or all of the points in our submission into your own (and amend as you see fit). Do please let us us know at [email protected] if you made a submission.

For all the documents regarding the scheme itself, go to: https://www.kerrycoco.ie/part8-greenway-bawnboy/.

4th September 2020

Part 8 – Tralee-Fenit Greenway (Bawnboy) Submission [draft]

Cyclist.ie is Ireland’s national cycling advocacy network, and the Irish member of the European Cyclists’ Federation. Our vision is that everyday cycling becomes a normal recognised transport mode here in Ireland.  

We are extremely disappointed to have to make this submission to Kerry County Council in relation to the proposed Bawnboy diversion of the greenway from Tralee to Fenit.  We write this on behalf of the thousands of cyclists throughout the country.  In July 2018 we made a considered submission in good faith to Kerry County Council . Overall Cyclist.ie were supportive of the proposals outlined, with a number of caveats, which we described in the submission.  

To now discover that Kerry County Council propose to introduce a major diversion to the originally agreed route, subsequently ratified via the original Part 8 process, is more than disappointing.  It would appear not to be in the best public interest for the following reasons:

  • It flies in the face of the decision made by Kerry County Council to approve the original Part 8 proposal, as stated in both the EIA and AA statements and described as – ‘the previously approved and assessed Tralee to Fenit greenway’
  • It diverts unacceptably from the original railway line path, which is in public ownership
  • It adds an extra 700metres to the length of the greenway with no obvious public benefit, or practical reason.
  • It rewards the illegal use of public land by an unauthorised business.
  • It delays the construction, and adds to the cost, of the original agreed greenway route.

Cyclist.ie, on behalf of cyclists nationwide objects in the strongest possible terms to this Bawnboy amended greenway route and the capitulation by Kerry County Council to a private individual, which goes against the general public benefit and sets an unfortunate precedent.

We urge Kerry County Council to revert to its original decision to use the original alignment of the Tralee to Fenit railway line.

Yours

____________

Colm Ryder
Chairperson
Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network
℅ Tailor’s Hall
Back Lane
Dublin 8
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 087-2376130
www.cyclist.ie 

CYCLIST.IE SUBMISSION – Greenway from Omeath Pier to National Border

Earlier today Cyclist.ie made a submission to Louth County Council in regard to their ‘Part 8’ planning application for the Greenway from Omeath Pier to National Border. See below.

The location of the greenway can be seen in this map taken from the Route Corridor Assessment report. The full documentation on the Council website can be found here: Part 8 – Omeath Pier to National Border.

Louth County Council,
Town Hall,
Crowe Street,
Dundalk,
Co Louth,
A91 W20C

1.0 Introduction

Cyclist.ie is Ireland’s national cycling advocacy network, and the Irish member of the European Cyclists’ Federation.  We are delighted to make this submission to Louth County Council in relation to the proposed greenway from Omeath to the Northern Ireland border, on behalf of the many thousands of everyday cyclists throughout the country.  Cyclist.ie’s vision is that everyday cycling is the norm in Ireland

This proposed scheme has the potential to increase active tourism levels even further in the area, to encourage greater levels of walking and cycling locally in the immediate vicinity, and in particular to revitalise the village of Omeath as a desired destination, in particular when the full stretch of greenway between Carlingford and Newry is completed.  It should also help to increase the daily use of bicycles for a variety of uses.  

We commend the Objectives for this project as outlined in  the ‘Project Brief’ below 

• inspire active travel; 

• meet local and regional strategies in terms of tourism and healthy and active living; 

• enable more sustainable forms of mobility on a cross-border basis;
• increase cross-border commuting by cycling or walking from 2.7% to 10%; 

• improve cross-border social cohesion; 

• improve cyclist safety through the construction of a predominantly ‘off road’ shared cycle/pedestrian network; and 

• reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions

If these objectives are adhered to, and the results measured following the building of the project, it can help to build information and research and feed into future planning of routes such as this. It will also encourage a wide range of different users of all ages and abilities.

It is also worth noting in the recently published National Greenway Strategy that situations such as this are specifically referred to in the section on ‘Focus of the Strategy’ where it states

‘the development of ‘Greenways’ relates to the development of Greenways of scale i.e. for new developments or extensions of existing Greenways that are more than 20k or shorter distances where it is proposed to join a number of existing Greenways to form a longer, more strategic route.’

This additional section of the Carlingford Greenway supported by EU Interreg funds, can eventually link a longer strategic cross border network of safe segregated cycle routes for all users.  

Overall we are supportive of this scheme, although we await some final design details, as these are not absolutely displayed on the available documentation . We commend Louth CC for advancing this proposal, but have a number of suggestions and comments to make, and seek clarification in relation to some minor posted documentation.

2.0 Particular Points

Greenway Width
We note the proposal, to provide a 2 – 3m wide greenway along this corridor.  Cyclist.ie suggests that while 3 metres is ‘minimum’ standard width for a low volume route as defined in Table 4.1 of TII’s ‘Rural Cycleway Design’ guidelines, 2 metres is not acceptable for a national cross border route as proposed.  Unfortunately no cross section details are supplied in the online documentation in regard to particular locations on the greenway route itself so the level of variation in width is difficult to determine.  And, this route if promoted well, would be expected to have a High Volume of users, and thus the width should be increased where possible and especially closer to amenities and destinations.  It is disappointing that a more ambitious general width target has not been chosen.

Surface Type
We, on behalf of cyclists, would prefer to see a bituminous tarmacadam surface for the greenway surface.  This type of surface is the preferred surface for cyclists in general, but also for wheelchair, pram, scooter, and other users – in other words for people of all ages and abilities.  There is a mistaken belief that a ‘dust’ surface is more natural, but it also makes the use of the route more difficult for users with disabilities on wheeled vehicles.  A bituminous finished surface as outlined in Section 8.4 of the TII Rural Cycleway Design (DN-GEO-03047 ) document is the preferred surface finish and will support the inclusion objectives of this project more directly.

Fencing
We note the proposal to fence along both sides of the proposed route.  We regard this as unnecessary and restrictive, and it also reduces the quality of the visitor experience.  We recommend a review of necessary fencing, and particularly recommend the removal of fencing on the seaward side of the route, to enhance the visitor experience, and reduce that ‘hemmed in’ feeling.  Along this route the views across the waterway are hugely attractive and fencing will detract from this.

Circuitous Route Section
We note that the section of the route from approximately Chainage 1740 to 2820, a distance of more than 1km, is circuitous and winding with a number of sharp turns.  While appreciating that this ‘diversion’ is required to circumvent private housing, every effort should be made to improve the alignment and reduce sharp turns, as they are potential collision locations.

Bike Parking
We note the outline of proposed individual design of Sheffield style bike parking racks on the Construction Details Drawing.  While we are happy with the basic proposed designs, it is critical that the spacing of the individual racks is kept wide enough apart to accommodate different bicycle types comfortably.  In particul;ar along this scenic greenway tourist stretch, many bike users will be carrying pannier bags and equipment and need more space.  Also bikes with trailers, and the occasional cargo bike will appear.  This needs to be considered when installing parking. You might like to check out Dublin Cycling Campaign’s Bike Parking Guide for more information on this. 

Flood Protection
We note the specific attention rightly paid in the design to potential future rising sea levels, and the effect this might have on the greenway at particular times, despite the lack of detailed local information.  The actual proposed methodology for warning users of flooding issues should be more clearly outlined.  We are also unclear from the online documentation, why specific construction elements are not proposed in the areas where this possible flooding is envisaged?

Chainage 3470
In the General Arrangement Plan at Chainage 3470 there is a reference that states ‘Greenway passes under L7002’.  This reference does not appear to make any sense in the context of the location and drawing.  Please clarify.

Public Art
Very long stretches of greenway through some (unchanging) surroundings can create a less than ideally stimulating environment. Canal-side and railway line cycle and walking routes can suffer particularly from this weakness. It is for this reason that public art is an essential element of the UK National Cycle Network. It is strongly recommended that the Council and the design consultants reflect on the great potential for enhancing the visual interest and place-making dimensions of the route by incorporating quality public art and other design features into the scheme. See Artworks and art trails on the National Cycle Network.  

3.0 Summary/Conclusion

Cyclist.ie overall is happy that this proposed project is progressing.  It will undoubtedly encourage greater levels of cycling and walking in the area if properly promoted, and should help to boost the development of facilities alongside the route.  However as mentioned above we request Louth County Council to:

  • Increase the greenway width (unless there is a very good reason not to at a particular location)
  • Install a bituminous surface along the full length of the route
  • Remove fencing on the seaward side of the route where possible
  • Use public art to further enhance the facility

We further look forward to the proposed development of the greenway linkage across the Northern Ireland boundary, which will create a link to a network of safe cycle routes north and south.

Supplementary Note
It was disappointing that Louth CC did not include either a survey link for observers to complete, or a basic email submission detail in the material posted online. In these times that omission is regrettable, and hopefully will not be a feature of any ongoing public consultations. 

Yours

​___________________

Colm Ryder
Chairperson, Cyclist.ie
Tel  00353-87-2376130
Email  [email protected]
www.cyclist.ie  
19th August 2020

Get to school on your own fuel

This August 15th – 29th 2020 – Practice Walking, Cycling, Scooting or Kite-Surfing to your school – with events happening around the country and a nationwide ‘scavenger hunt’ style competition there is plenty of opportunity to show that kids like you want to be able to get there safely and on their own steam! Find out about events near you by getting in touch with your local cycle advocacy group, find them on our interactive map here.

The Nationwide ‘Get to School on your own Fuel’ Competition

As long as it’s human powered you can play the game!

How to play : Start by registering your team of 1-8 participants (primary or secondary level students), once registered you will be redirected to a print-friendly Competition Scorecard. Each item on the score card has a point value, the more points you score, the more likely you are to win our hamper of bike-y goodies!  

Register your team here

What’s involved: Some items on the list require you to post photos to our facebook, like a photo ‘along your route’ or ‘with your group in front of your school’. Others are tasks like ‘create a route map’ or ‘count the bike parking at your school’! Full details are on the print-friendly score card. (If you are under 13 you will need adult supervision on all your cycles, and use of a parent/guardian’s facebook account.)

Preview the scorecard here

When you are done : Post your final score on our Facebook (tagging #gettoschool @cyclistie) total by Friday 28th August at 12pm – the top 3 teams will invited to submit a photo of their completed scorecards and some evidence of items completed – a winner will be declared Saturday 28th of August by 5pm and we will post out your big hamper of bike-y goodies! 

We are looking forward to seeing your photos!

Photo Credit Anna Groneicka

cyclist.ie submission on remote working

In response to the public consultation run by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation to inform the delivery of guidance on remote working for both employers and employees, Cyclist.ie sent in the following short submission.

Dear Sir / Madam, 

I wish to make this short submission in regard to your consultation on Guidance for Remote Working, as per 
https://dbei.gov.ie/en/Consultations/Public-Consultation-on-Guidance-for-Remote-Working.html.

Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network is the umbrella body of cycle campaigning and advocacy groups in Ireland – http://cyclist.ie/. Our vision is that cycling becomes a normal part of everyday life for all ages and abilities in Ireland. We take a particular interest in the commute to work – especially (i) the quality of conditions along the route for those wishing to cycle and (ii) the facilities at the workplace to make life easier for those using ‘active travel’ modes to get to work. 

Focusing only on the nature of ‘hubs’, we wish to stress in this submission the importance of hubs having:

  1. plentiful, conveniently located, high quality, secure cycle parking facilities, both for employees and visitors – see here for guidance on cycle parking:  https://www.dublincycling.com/cycling/dublin-city-bike-parking-guidance  .
  2. adequate showers, drying rooms and lockers for those using active travel to get to the hub. 

These points are aligned with existing national government policy – for example:

They are also aligned with broader HSE and Transport for Ireland COVID-19 guidance for commuters to maintain physical distancing while getting to and from work – https://www.transportforireland.ie/news/covid-19-information/

In short, at this especially sensitive time for all of us, we would like to the stress the importance of creating the conditions to make it as easy and as safe as possible for workers to choose the healthier option and cycle to / from work (where distances per permit). 

I would be very grateful if you can incorporate these points into any updated guidance produced. 

Yours faithfully,

Dr. Damien Ó Tuama
National Cycling Coordinator 
Cyclist.ie http://cyclist.ie/ and An Taisce https://www.antaisce.org/
The Tailors’ Hall
Back Lane
Dublin D08 X2A3
Ireland
E:  [email protected]

Sligo Cycling Campaign Family Cycle marking the launch of the Rural Cycling Collective

“A VISION FOR CYCLING IS A VISION FOR THE FUTURE”

During the lockdown period of restricted movement, it was exciting so see so many families out walking and cycling on strangely quiet roads. Bikes sold like hot-cakes and shops ran out of supplies. Now people of all ages are keen to hold on to their newly experienced sense of autonomy and freedom.

To tie in with the nationwide Launch of Cyclist.ie’s Rural Cycling Collective Vision Statement, Sligo Cycling Campaign held a family fun cycling event recently in Cleveragh and Doorly Parks. The event was supported by Councillor Donal Gilroy (FF), Chair of the Council’s Environment and Infrastructure Committee, and by Councillor Marie Casserly (Independent), long-time supporter of cycling and of Sligo Cycling Campaign. Before the cycle began, Sligo Cycling Campaign’s Secretary and PRO, Gemma Woods (a qualified Cycle Right training instructor) did a short training and bike-check session with the young cyclists.

Afterwards, the peloton set off through the park and along Doorly Park to finish on the grounds of County Hall, Riverside. Mayor of Sligo Municipal District, Councillor Rosaleen O’Grady was there to welcome the party. The children displayed the posters and letters they had done showing why they loved cycling and how they would like to be able to cycle more places more often.

Chairperson of Sligo Cycling Campaign, Joan Swift, thanked the Mayor, Councillors and especially the participants. “It’s wonderful to have safe amenities such as Cleveragh Park and Doorly Park for cycling, but these children want to be able to cycle to school, to the library to their Granny’s “said Swift. “We are campaigning for a fair distribution of transport funding to regional parts of the country to make cycling for all ages and abilities a reality”.

According to the rural cycle collective the co-benefits of more people cycling more often include improvements to health, safety, congestion, air-quality, noise levels, and the public realm.  More cycling will also help us to meet our climate change obligations.

Photo above kindly provided by Edel Moran.

For more information on Sligo Cycling Campaign, visit their Facebook page

Greenways Coming to a Location Near You!

Minister Announces Start-Up Grants for Greenways Nationwide

Minister Eamon Ryan, our new Minister for Transport and Climate Action, recently announced a total of 26 grants of varying sizes, totalling €4.5mill for proposed greenway projects right around the country. A total of 20 County Councils, along with Waterways Ireland, have received funding varying from initial seed funding to explore a greenway idea, to funding to enable final design and consultations to take place. It is a welcome initiative that has made use of available funds from the Carbon Tax Fund. 

We understand that there were over 40 applications for this round of funding, and the wide geographical spread of the successful applicants bodes well for the range of potential future projects, if they are fully followed through. We are pleased that a number of the proposals in different counties appear to link up with other initiatives in adjoining counties, holding out hope for linked cycle and walking routes and networks in a number of regions. Additionally, a number of counties have been successful with multiple applications. The range of grants runs from a low of €45,000 to Donegal for a short 8km project from Muff to Quigley’s Point, to a high of €750,000 to Meath County Council for the proposed greenway from Drogheda to Navan.

L to R: Damien Ó Tuama, Mairéad Forsythe and Claudine Chen (from Cyclist.ie , Love 30 and Dublin Cycling Campaign respectively) on the Waterford Greenway.

For all local authorities involved we in Cyclist.ie will be closely monitoring the spending of these grants, hopefully within an agreed timescale, which at this point in time is unclear.  We do not wish to see a return to the false promises made in the past when various proposed schemes were unable to be advanced, despite commitments from the various local authorities concerned.

Overall this is a good news story for cycling development and recreational / tourism cycling in particular. It is now up to the local Councils to ensure these monies are well spent, and to see the projects advance. Cyclist.ie local groups will be keeping a close watch on the different projects, and we hope to keep our members and the general public up to date with what happens on the different schemes.

If you are particularly interested in the development of greenways in Ireland, and want to support Cyclist.ie’s work in this space, then Join Cyclist.ie or Contact us if you have any queries. 

Coming soon – Get To School On Your Own Fuel

National Cycle / Walk to School practice runs 15 – 29 August 2020

Cycling campaign groups from all over Ireland — members of Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network — today issued a call to parents, teachers, schools, sports clubs, local authorities and other groups and individuals to support a National Cycle / Walk / Scoot to School promotion to help families familiarise themselves with their school routes. It will run from Saturday 15th to 29nd August.

All through summer 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, children have been out cycling in their local neighbourhoods, going to parks, meeting friends, and enjoying the freedom and fresh air. With the return to classrooms in September, cycling and walking groups around the country are highlighting the opportunities for more children and students to cycle, walk, scoot or skate safely to school. This aligns with guidance from the Department of Education & Skills in which they will be supporting the National Transport Authority “in promoting various alternative means for children to get to school in a safe way, including walking and cycling and more generally in reducing the impact on the public transport system of school reopening” [1].  

Key to getting more children to get back to school ‘on their own fuel’ is the familiarisation of routes from home to school. Cycle campaign groups around the country will be running a range of local events to practise school runs over the coming fortnight, and can supply written guidelines for any interested groups that want to organise events. Working together with experienced cyclists, each family can find the routes safest and most convenient for them. School-children of all ages, primary and secondary, can participate. Ideally they will link with other families, with teachers, parent associations, and with local organisations to test and plan the safest routes from home to school for cycling and walking.

Promotions will also take place in many locations, with opportunities to get bicycles checked by qualified mechanics, as well as taking part in a national scavenger hunt competition (teams can register at www.cyclist.ie/school). Practice runs can be held on any days that suit the participants between 15th and 29nd August. To date, events have been scheduled for Clonakilty, Tralee, Limerick, Galway, Kilkenny, Bandon, Sligo, Wexford and Dublin. 

Information on route planning, how to maintain your bike, guidance on locking your bike correctly and details on the Scavenger Hunt competition will be provided on the day by each local event organiser. 

Photo Anna Groniecka Photography

Speaking on behalf of the national cycling campaign Cyclist.ie, Dr. Damien Ó Tuama said:

“there is no better time for children and parents to trial new, healthier, active travel ways to get to school. We have all long suffered the traffic jams, polluted air and general chaos of the school run by car. We will help people check their bikes over, plan a fun and safe route to school and demonstrate how to lock your bike correctly”.

“During the pandemic, young people have really enjoyed getting back on their bikes and these school practice runs will give them and their parents the confidence and impetus to use cycling and walking as the new normal way, the most fun and healthy way, to get to school happy and ready to learn”, said Ó Tuama.

Allison Roberts, a spokesperson for the Clonakilty Bicycle Festival, said

“Following on from the government’s urging of people to choose walking and cycling over other modes of transport, we want to help people make the first step. There has never been a better time for Local Authorities to accelerate the introduction of new measures to make ‘active travel’ as easy and as safe as possible. We are in a changed world, and we need to see changes on our roads and streets to make cycling safer all day, everyday for all ages and abilities.”

The network of campaign groups called on schools to provide space for secure bicycle parking. They will be contacting all local authorities and the National Transport Authority with a request to support and fund this initiative where possible. 

As set out in the Vision for Cycling in Ireland (http://cyclist.ie/ruralvision/), cycling groups want to see all agencies and organisations support the installation of safer, segregated cycle routes, remove barriers to cycling and walking through parks and housing estates, and develop direct routes away from motorised traffic. The groups will also be contacting all local authorities to ask that they implement as a matter of urgency 30 km/h speed limits in all urban areas especially around schools.

Photos kindly provided by:
– Galway Cycle Bus (top image)
Anna Groniecka Photography (image in the middle)

REFERENCES / NOTES

[1] See p19 of “Planning for reopening schools in line with the Roadmap for reopening society and business” published by the Department of Education and Skills –  https://www.education.ie/en/covid-19/planning-for-reopening-schools.pdf 

[2] A Vision for Cycling in Rural Ireland. https://cyclist.ie/ruralvision/

[3] We can provide high quality photos to go with any articles being produced if/as required. 

[4] Cyclist.ie’s Get to School on your own Fuel webpage – http://cyclist.ie/school/

Cycling Ireland Launches its New Strategy

Cycling Ireland (CI), the national governing body for sports cycling in Ireland, has just launched its new strategy for the upcoming four years to 2024. It is a concise and well presented high level overview of what they plan to do, and sets tough targets to meet in all sectors that it operates in. It is a document well worth checking out for anyone interested in the development of cycling in Ireland, and we in Cyclist.ie commend CI on its targets and aspirations.

It is divided into three main pillars: Participation, Performance, and Enabling. Of particular interest to us, as cycling advocates, is the Enabling section which relates to the development of cycling overall and includes advocacy. CI does envisage a role for itself directly in cycling advocacy, but it is not yet clear exactly what that means in detail, and this will need to be teased out between CI and Cyclist.ie as we work together over the coming years.  The ‘Participation Pillar’ also includes some aspirational targets in relation to ‘audit of facilities’, and ‘participation for all ages and abilities’.

As you may be aware, CI runs some really progressive cycle training programmes that are funded directly and indirectly by the state. The main training program is the national Cycle Right bike training initiative, but there are a variety of other often innovative programmes geared towards getting more people on bikes. It is good that there is a professional funded body helping to support these activities.

While naturally CI concentrates on competitive and sports cycling, as befits its national brief, it also places greater emphasis in this new strategy on ‘fun’ and ‘non competitive’ events.  It recognises that there is a wider potential membership who wish to simply cycle for utility or leisure reasons. And like Cyclist.ie, CI has a strong volunteering culture which it proposes to develop further. CI and Cyclist.ie will, we hope, continue to work together as part of CI’s proposed ‘advocacy partner framework’, as this will be critical in the development of a deeper and broader cycling culture, and Cyclist.ie already has a basic Memo of Understanding with CI. The work that we do in Cyclist.ie is supportive and complementary in helping to build the foundations for the growth of cycling countrywide.

CI will continue to work with many of the same ‘actors’ or agencies as Cyclist.ie.  We in Cyclist.ie look forward to enhancing cooperation across those links. All in all, the CI strategy is a challenging and worthwhile four year strategy doc with the different actors responsible clearly nominated, and timelines set. We in Cyclist.ie wish Cycling Ireland the very best with this new strategy and we look forward to increased and productive cooperation into the future.

Note: image above comes from the Axa Community Bike Rides.

750m cycle path costing €9 million opens along Dublin’s Royal Canal

A 750m long cycle path has been opened along the Royal Canal in Dublin’s North Strand at a cost of nearly €9 million.

The stretch is part of Dublin City Council’s Royal Canal “premium” cycle route, a 7km path running from the north quays to the city’s border with Fingal at Ashtown.

The first section of the route, a 500m stretch from Guild Street at the north quays to Sheriff Street, was completed more than a decade ago, but despite several announcements, work on the second phase to bring the path to Newcomen bridge at the North Strand only began in February of last year.

The newly opened section costing €8.9 million, consists of a segregated three-metre wide cycle track and two-metre wide footpath on a viaduct bridge alongside a linear park. The project also involved the realignment of the junction of Seville Place, Guild Street and Sheriff Street Upper and the provision of a pedestrian and cyclist crossing at its entrance with North Strand Road.

Full article (Irish Times)