Plan fails to address main issues raised with over half of submissions: segregated cycle lanes
Following the consultation for the Slane Public Realm Plan, Meath County Council has published the completed plan, along with a detailed Submissions Report (you can view Navan Cycling Initiative’s original submission here). The Slane Public Realm Plan sets out the future approach to the streets and spaces of the village.
A detailed submissions report accompanied the completed plan, and we are pleased to see that cycling was referenced in over half of the 23 submissions received. There were calls for segregated cycle lanes to be included in the plan from the likes of Slane Tourism, Alex and Carina Conyngham of Slane Castle, the Francis Ledwidge Museum, local community groups and several individuals.
Yet despite those submissions, the updated plan has not been amended to include any dedicated cycling infrastructure in the main two streets in the village. It states: “enhanced facilities for cyclists on the N51 are difficult to provide due to the limitations in width of the existing road space. Enhanced facilities for cyclists on the existing N2 are also challenging to deliver due to the width of the existing road space and current levels of traffic.” This despite there being two lanes for traffic, and two rows of car parking, retained. Segregated cycle lanes could easily be provided by removing car parking on one side of the road (there is also a new dedicated off-street car park being created on the main street, so no parking spaces would be lost).
On Mill Hill (from Slane bridge up to the village centre), in the new plan there is a segregated cycle lane on the left-side of the road (for north-bound cyclists only), but there is nothing on the other side of the road. South bound cyclists “will have the option of either dismounting and using the footpath or using the road sharing the downhill traffic lane with traffic”.
In other words, families visiting the Boyne Greenway from the village centre will be expected to mix on road with trucks, buses and cars to access the greenway. This is incredibly short-sighted considering huge benefits and huge number of visitors the Boyne Greenway will bring to Slane in the next few years.
For visitors and families cycling along the Boyne Greenway, there will be no safe access to Slane Castle*, to the Francis Ledwidge Museum, to the Hill of Slane, and to the many other cultural and archaeological sites in the area.
This is an extremely unambitious plan which fails to recognise the urgent need to encourage active travel, reduce car dependancy and tackle climate change. It fails to make the most of the Boyne Greenway. And despite a large number of submissions asking for segregated cycle lanes, the completed plan fails to implement this and fails the people of Slane most of all.
*Boyne Greenway Route dependent – see more information here