New independent survey shows 70% of people in favour of Convent Road trial
A new survey on the Convent Road Filtered Permeability Scheme shows that the majority of people in Navan are in favour of the scheme. Last October, a 12-month trial period on the road created an enhanced route for cyclists and pedestrians, which included a shared street outside Loreto School, new traffic calming and landscaping measures, and the closure to vehicular traffic on a 270m stretch of road (with local access maintained).
The user sentiment survey – undertook independently in May 2022 by Interactions Research for Meath County Council – produced the following results (see screenshots below – click to make bigger):
- 80 interviewees took part
- 85% had favourable attitude towards active travel schemes in general
- 74% believed scheme provides easier access for pedestrians and cyclists
- 70% noted a more pleasant experience of using Convent Road due to the scheme
- 30% of people were not at all in favour of the scheme
When the trial first started, there had been objections from those who wished to maintain full vehicular access. The main point of contention was how vehicles could access the graveyard. However, vehicular access was always permitted as part of the scheme, as the information flyer stated: “Access to private properties and the graveyard will be accommodated via the Athlumney Castle end of the road during the trial period.” This perhaps wasn’t communicated enough by the Council, who have said additional signage may be needed to highlight this.
Benefits of the scheme
As the results of the survey show, the benefits of the scheme have been overwhelmingly positive. As is often the case with these schemes, those who are not in favour always make the most noise, while usually those in support remain quiet. Which is why this survey is so important. During the trial, we have seen 100s of people use the route daily as part of their walk or cycle, be it for leisure, to commute to the town centre, to the ramparts/greenway, or to local schools. It has also brought significant health benefits, with reduced carbon emissions, reduced traffic noise and congestion, as well as encouraging more and more people to use sustainable modes of transport.
It also can’t be stressed enough that this scheme is not just for Convent Road, but plays a key part in the overall plans for connecting the Navan Cycle Network. The Navan Cycle Network was first published in 2013, yet remains largely incomplete and disconnected throughout Navan. This scheme is part of the ‘Athlumney to Trim Road Cycle and Pedestrian Scheme’ and on a key route which will connect the areas of Johnstown, Athlumney, Farganstown and beyond to the town centre, as well as to the upcoming Boyne Greenway.
The original plans for this overall route date back to 2018, and alternatives have been extensively looked at in the past. These included the removal of the walls in Athlumney Castle, as well as a total of 9 other options studied and ruled out (source: Athlumney to Trim Road Cycle and Pedestrian Scheme, Part 8 Report, Dec 2018).
This scheme remains the last option to provide a safe active travel route for this area. A decision to make the scheme permanent will be decided by local councillors in December, and it cannot be stressed enough how rejecting this scheme would be a massive blow against active travel in Navan. Effectively, if you are against this scheme, you are against making Navan a better and more sustainable place to live.