Meath County Council have revealed new plans for Bettystown, Laytown, Athboy and Oldcastle
New Public Realm Plans for Bettystown, Laytown, Athboy and Oldcastle have been published by Meath County Council in conjunction with BDP Consultants. The completed plans, along with Natural Impact Statements / Appropriate Assessment Screening Reports, are available to view on their website here.
It’s notable that there doesn’t appear to be any cycling infrastructure whatsoever built in to any of these plans. This is very concerning development in the future of our towns and villages.
A general theme throughout these plans is to ‘encourage walking and cycling through better links and provision’, yet none of them actually provide any cycle lanes. They say ‘Cycling is shared on the carriageway which is reduced in width.’
While measures like traffic calming and reducing vehicle speeds are welcome, saying cycling is shared on the carriageway won’t actively encourage people to cycle. Kids would still be mixing with trucks. Cycle lanes are needed.
If we are to be serious about tacking climate change and not just see it as a box-ticking exercise in plans like this we need to seriously start reducing car dependency to help reduce emissions. We need our towns and villages to do everything they can to encourage active travel and swap the car for the bike whenever possible. To do that people need to feel it’s safe to cycle.
The plans for Bettystown and Laytown are of particular concern. East Meath in general is seeing huge expansion in residential development as well as being a popular coastal hotspot. Yet it has no dedicated cycling infrastructure and badly needs a cycle network to make it safer and more accessible. Enabling more people to cycle will also help alleviate the traffic congestion seen on busy weekend periods.
Also, in the Bettystown and Laytown plans, there’s no mention of the introduction of a Greenway. With plans underway for the ‘Boyne Greenway-Mornington’ to the north and the ‘Fingal Coastal Way’ as far as Balbriggan to the south, this part will play a key link in the overall route (also known as the ‘East Coast Trial’ and ‘Newbridge to Newgrange’). Yet there is no mention of this Greenway at all in these plans. There is no future proofing.
In 2020 a Public Consultation was held for the Laytown/Bettystown Public Realm Plan, with a total of 5 submissions received, most of which called for cycling infrastructure. https://consult.meath.ie/ga/node/1419/submissions
In the plan itself, much of the feedback also supported cycling: “Cycling is not safe in either of the town. There are 2000 kids who would be delighted to cycle to school if cycling routes were available”.
Yet no plans for cycling were included?