View Navan Cycling Initiative’s submission for the non-statutory public consultation below
Submission by Navan Cycling Initiative
See more information here
We are writing to you on behalf of the Navan Cycling Initiative, a community-based group based in Navan advocating for improved cycling infrastructure. Navan Cycling Initiative is a member of Cyclist.ie (www.cyclist.ie), the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, which is the Irish member of the European Cyclists’ Federation (www.ecf.com). Our aim is to make cycling in Navan and surrounding areas safe, enjoyable, and popular. We hope to encourage people to use cycling as part of their normal daily transport as well as a leisure activity and help Navan to become a cycle-friendly town.
Navan Cycling Initiative (NCI) welcomes the new plans from Meath County Council’s Active Travel Office for the Convent Road Filtered Permeability Scheme Traffic Management Trial and look forward to see it developing. We welcome the opportunity to provide a submission on the trial and to help promote the benefits of cycling and walking as part of an active lifestyle. This scheme will encourage more people to cycle and create a safe route to Navan town centre, to local schools, and to access the Boyne Ramparts and upcoming Boyne Greenway.
The Convent Road Filtered Permeability Scheme will play a key role in completing the Athlumney to Trim Road Cycle and Pedestrian Scheme. The Athlumney to Trim Road Cycle and Pedestrian Scheme forms part of a larger network of plans known as the Navan Cycle Network. The Navan Cycle Network, which was first devised in 2013 as part of the National Transport Authority’s Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network Plan, remains largely incomplete and disconnected throughout Navan. At present, the largest concentration of cycling infrastructure is found in the area of Johnstown, yet it remains disconnected and cut off from the rest of the town. Implementing this trial will greatly help to address that and complete one of the key routes in the town.
Plans for the Athlumney to Trim Road Cycle and Pedestrian Scheme were first unveiled in October 2018. The original plans for the section at Convent Road were met with objections to widening of the road and so did not proceed as planned. The replacement notice agreed to proceed with the plans but simply omit the Convent Road section. Navan Cycling Initiative understands a total of 10 other options were explored, with an additional two further options under recent studies, with Convent Road emerging as the preferred and safest route. On the main Kentstown Road R153, there is insufficient room to implement dedicated cycling infrastructure due to the position of the Railway Bridge, which is a protected structure and does not allow for road widening. As a result, Convent Road remains the only option.
Therefore, in order to encourage and increase the levels of cycling in Navan, these filtered permeability plans at Convent Road remain the only option to successfully implement this full scheme. If not, the affected areas in east Navan will remain without a safe and accessible route into the town centre, which is unacceptable.
As these plans form a key part of the Navan Cycle Network in connecting the NA3 route with the NA2 and NA4, it is imperative that this scheme successfully allows for creation of a dedicated and safe cycling route. It will connect the areas of Athlumney, Johnstown, Farganstown and beyond to the town centre. At present, there is no safe route to connect these areas, so this will make it safer to cycle and no doubt encourage more people to do so. It is vital for the future development of Navan as a whole that it is properly connected and accessible for all, however one chooses to travel. It will also reduce the number of cars on the road which will help to ease traffic congestion, as well as reducing carbon emission and other considerable environmental benefits.
The Convent Road Filtered Permeability Scheme aims to prioritise the movement of sustainable transport modes (cycling and walking) over motor vehicles. This will greatly encourage cycling and walking as part of an active lifestyle and as a way to commute around Navan. Similar filtered permeability schemes have been implemented in places like Drumcondra, Grangegorman, Dundrum and Inchicore to much success.
Over the past 18 months, we have seen a huge increase in the number of people cycling in Navan. From people out exercising, for improved physical and mental health, to children and parents out enjoying a family spin, to people commuting to and from work, school or the local shops and cafes, it is clear that there is a big demand for cycling in Navan and surrounding areas. Over 26,000 people live within a 10 minute cycle of Navan town centre, and the vast majority of residential areas are within a 10 minute cycle. More and more people will choose to cycle if it is made safe to do so.
The scheme comprises filtering out through traffic on Convent Road to provide more space and a more peaceful, traffic-calmed environment for people walking and cycling, which will be a great addition to the area. Two-way traffic access between Kentstown Road and Riverside estate will still be maintained; a modal filter (road narrowing), to be located to the east of Riverside for a distance of approximately 270m. This will prevent motor vehicles from travelling towards Athlumney Castle but allow pedestrians and cyclists to pass. The existing one-way section on Convent Road will have no traffic (except for local access via the Athlumney Castle end) and the road space will be available for walking and cycling in both directions along this section. The removal of traffic on this section of the road also provides the opportunity to install landscaping planters.
Section 1 (Layout Sheet 1 of 2)
We understand the first section of the scheme will see Convent Road become a ‘shared street’. The carriageway width of 5.94m with footpaths on either side will not allow for the implementation of a cycle lane. A shared street will be of great benefit to all who use the route, as it will make it safer for pedestrians, cyclists and those commuting to work or school. It will also act as an added traffic calming measure, and make motorists more aware of those around them. The shared street will see painted bike logos featured on the road surface to identify that the carriageway has mixed usage between cyclists and motor vehicles. It is vital that these bike logos are very prominent on the surface to ensure that this is clear to all. On a shared street cyclists should cycle approximately where the bike logos appear, i.e. take the lane, and if motorists need to overtake it should be done in a safe manner in the opposite lane.
The proposed speed ramp will also help to keep speeds low and make sure it is safe, especially leading up to the entrance at St Michael’s Loreto Secondary School. We also are pleased to see the introduction of a proposed School Zone treatment area which has proven to be a great success in other parts of the country. School Zones are designed to encourage vehicles to slow down, reduce congestion and increase safety at the school gate, and we believe these could be a great addition at schools around Navan.
This scheme creates a key connection between Bothar Sion in Johnstown to Navan Education Centre, St Michael’s Loreto school, the Ramparts and Navan town via the pedestrian/cycle bridge.
This link enables safe travel from all areas around Johnstown, via segregated cycle lanes and “low-traffic neighbourhoods” (through housing estates with lower speed limits).
Section 2 (Layout Sheet 1 of 2)
Filtering out through traffic on Convent Road to provide more space and a more peaceful, traffic-calmed environment for people walking and cycling will have lots of benefits. Safety for pedestrians and cyclists will be enhanced by the reduction in motor traffic. It will encourage more people to cycle, provide a safe alternate travel option, help to reduce motor traffic and emissions, improve air and sound quality and therefore the environment in the area.
In addition to maintaining the existing boundaries and walls, it will also make the area a more attractive place to visit and improve the attractiveness of the Castle as a tourist destination. Landscaping planters, CCTV, and improved lighting will reduce the risk of anti-social behaviour. The installation of bike parking here just before the castle could also encourage more people to cycle here.
Greenways and Tourism
Not only will the Convent Road Filtered Permeability Scheme offer a viable, safe route from the surrounding areas to Navan town centre, it will also play an important part in accessing the Boyne Ramparts and soon to be Boyne Greenway when it is complete. Navan will soon have two high-quality greenways in the Boyne Greenway and the Boyne Valley to Lakeland’s County Greenway, and it is vital that they are properly connected to the town itself for walkers and cyclists alike. The Boyne Greenway in Navan will connect up not only at the existing Ramparts Car Park on the Boyne Road, but also at Andy Brennan Park, accessible at the Newbridge just beside Convent Road.
Greenways have huge potential to attract visitors to the town. A recent Failte Ireland survey showed 46% of all overseas holidaymakers to Ireland last year engaged in walking and cycling as part of their holiday experience. Navan and Meath are primed to be an ideal destination for cyclists to explore the many attractions of the Boyne Valley region. It is therefore essential that Meath County Council commits to the development of a network of safe cycling infrastructure in Navan itself to enable locals to access these Greenways and to encourage visitors to spend time in the town.
In 1986, more students cycled than went to school by car, which shows that cycling to school is possible when safe routes are provided. This proposed scheme enables a return to active travel for students, which provides numerous long-term benefits including improved health, attentiveness, and confidence.
Navan Cycling Initiative welcomes without reservation the new plans from Meath County Council’s Active Travel Office for the Convent Road Filtered Permeability Scheme Traffic Management Trial. We are pleased to see the plans progressing in a timely manner in order to complete the Athlumney to Trim Road Cycle and Pedestrian Scheme, which we strongly believe will encourage more people to cycle in Navan and make it safer for all.
Navan Cycling Initiative