The long awaited Draft Slane Public Realm Plan 2022 has been published
Meath County Council have unveiled the new plan for the village of Slane, designed by DDP. The plan, which is now open to pubic consultation until Friday 18 February, sets out the future approach to the design of streets and public spaces in the village. It includes proposals for the redesign of the junction on the square, the creation of a new village garden and improved recreational connections along the southern approach to the village.
Lack of cycling infrastructure
In Section 5.4 of the draft plan document, it states:
“Having reviewed segregated and integrated options for cycling, it has been determined that due to the space available, segregated cycle lanes will not be feasible.”
To improve the current situation, the design of the streets in the village centre should help minimise vehicle speeds and make for a more comfortable cycling environment. Cycling is shared on the carriageway which will be reduced in width. Crossing points will be improved with increased an provision of cycling parking facilities.”
This is incredibly short-sighted considering The Boyne Greenway will be going through Slane in the next few years. Slane has great potential to become an ideal visiting spot and hub destination along the route of the Boyne Greenway, with loops to the village centre, to Slane Castle, and to the many cultural and archaeological sites in the area.
Simply saying there isn’t enough space available for cycling, while at the same time keeping the same amount of road space for vehicles and parking is unacceptable. There is parallel parking included on both sides of the main N51/N2 roads in the village (marked in red on the image). Ample room for cycle lanes.
It should be noted this Plan proposes as number of measures which can only be delivered in the event of the construction of a new N2 Slane Bypass. So, in other words, even with (another) bypass for Slane, there still isn’t room for cycling infrastructure, which is quite unbelievable.
The plan states a key objective is ‘to be sustainable and promote measures to combat climate change’, while at the same time doing little to encourage cycling. Indeed, the first two objectives of the Public Realm Plan (see second image below) refer to cycling, yet it doesn’t actually provide any cycling infrastructure or any means to encourage or promote cycling in the town.
Essentially, what this plan is saying is that it expects children to cycle on roads alongside cars, trucks and buses, but that is ok because it will be shared on a carriageway with reduced width and speeds which will ‘increase comfort and safety’.
A prime example of this will be if a family exits The Boyne Greenway at Slane Bridge and then wishes to go up the hill to visit the village centre, they would be expected to cycle (very slowly, and if able – it’s steep!) up the main road carriageway, sharing with vehicles. The footpaths will be widened, but they are pedestrian only.
Overall, this is an extremely poor and unambitious plan which fails to recognise the urgent need to encourage active travel and tackle climate change. We would encourage people to make a submission calling for safe, segregated cycling infra in the village and links to the Boyne Greenway.