The new N51 Park and Ride facility does not prioritise active travel
The new Park and Ride facility, located just beside St. Patrick’s Classical School, consists of a new offline bus bay, new bus shelters, cycle parking and a 181 car parking spaces.
Last year, Navan Cycling Initiative made a submission asking for the following:
- pedestrians and cyclists have priority over vehicles (as per the National Cycle Manual & DMURS)
- cycle lanes be continuous and segregated, not shared with cars or pedestrians
- The design should afford cyclists safe entry and exit, when entering or exiting in either direction
Unfortunately, none of these were done. Not only that, but since the Public Consultation, Meath County Council (MCC) decided to further change the plans, changing a partly segregated cycle lane to a fully shared path, as can be seen in the video below.
When Councillor Emer Tóibín asked MCC why the original plans were changed, they replied:
“Following the public consultation as part of the Part 8 process for the N51 Park and Ride, a number of submissions were received highlighting the issue of physical segregation for cyclists through the bus stop area (i.e. providing a route at a different level through the area). Upon review of the submissions it was considered that the segregation of cyclists through the buys stop at this particular location may pose an increased risk to pedestrians given the proposed new environment (i.e. bus stop, footpath, cycle route, gradient, entrance to secondary school, P&R car park, etc.).”
“In particular it was noted the number of pedestrians crossing the cycle track may increase the risk of pedestrians walking in front of cyclists, particularly where cyclists believe they have right of way on the segregated cycle track. This could lead to pedestrian/cyclist collisions and personal injury.”
However, from looking at the submissions which were received for the scheme (three in total), none mentioned the issue of physical segregation for cyclists. It is still unclear why this was done, who requested these changes, and where these “number of submissions” came from.
IrishCycle.com also contacted MCC for comment on this, but did not receive a reply.
It makes very little sense to us to say a segregated cycle lane may pose an increased risk to pedestrians, while a shared path would not. If anything, the risk is greatly increased with the latter. Mixing cycling and walking in this location is a serious cause for concern. We all know shared paths do not work. Cyclists will not use this, not only with a shared path, but also having to give way to vehicles at two junctions in less than 100m.
Cyclists do not have priority across junctions. In addition, the corner radius of the junctions have not been narrowed to make it safer for pedestrians
It is very frustrating to see a brand new active travel funded project turn out like this. This will be a key route of the Navan Cycle Network. Not only is it located outside a very busy secondary school, but it also connects the town centre to the Park and Ride, to Blackwater Park, and the new BVLC Greenway. MCC made these changes, yet they do not prioritise active travel. We need to do better.