Navan Cycling Initiative recently made a submission on the proposed Dunshaughlin Public Realm Scheme
We are writing to you on behalf of the Navan Cycling Initiative (NCI), a community-based group advocating for improved cycling infrastructure. NCI 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.
At a time when cycling is more popular than ever and the demand for safe cycling infrastructure is at an all-time high, this is a great opportunity to provide safe cycling routes throughout Meath.
NCI welcomes the proposals for the Dunshaughlin Public Realm Scheme, and looks forward to seeing them implemented. Dunshaughlin is a growing satellite town, and the scheme will deliver some much needed active travel facilities, including pedestrian crossings and traffic calming, in a town which is sorely lacking in any.
While the proposals include dedicated cycle lanes on Main Street, from south of Dales Junction as far as Supple Park (image 1 below), it does not include any cycling infrastructure north of Dales Junction (image 2), to the scheme extent, just north of The Bungalows. It is unclear why this is, and why cycling infrastructure would be proposed on only half a street.
Figure 1: Image 1 and 2, showing Google Maps screenshots and Cross Sections of Dales Junction, Main Street, Dunshaughlin
From the cross section of Dales Junction heading north, there are three lanes for motorised vehicles – two carriageway lanes, as well as parking spaces for approximately 20 cars – with no proposed cycling infrastructure. This is clearly inconsistent with the county development plan and national policy.
Figure 2: Preliminary Design, Main Street
The National Transport Authority’s Greater Dublin Area (GDA) Transport Strategy states, in line with transport policies and objectives to reduce car dependency, and as a means of achieving reductions in carbon emissions, it is the intention to reallocate road space from its current use for general traffic to the exclusive use by walking, cycling and public transport. This includes “converting on-street parking to other sustainable transport and related uses.”
Measure Road 13 – Roadspace Reallocation, GDA Transport Strategy 2022
There are a number of public amenities, including a library, health centre, and a community centre, as well as two large supermarkets, a garda station, coffee shops and restaurants, all located in or around Main Street. All of these should be fully accessible by bike. In addition, having cycle lanes on only half of Main Street do not allow safe cycling from the large amount of residential estates in south Dunshaughlin to locations such as Dunshaughlin Community National School, Dunshaughlin Community College or Dunshaughlin GAA club.
We need more ambition to reimagine how our towns and villages should function. The main streets of towns should be welcoming and accessible for all, not dominated by motor vehicles. Street parking should not be kept on Main Street all for the sake of 20 car parking spaces (with the exception of disabled/age-friendly parking, which is provided beside the Garda Station). There is an off-street car park providing for over 70 parking spaces just beside the Dales/Main street junction, as well as several other car parks between the Dales and Supple Hall.
This road provides access to Supervalu and has a high volume of cars.
Figure 3 – Preliminary Design, The Dales
The “Existing” visualisation below is misleading. This area is routinely an area for illegal parking.
Figure 4 – Visualisation, The Dales
The actual street view looks like this:
It is imperative that double yellow lines, bollards and appropriate infrastructure are included to prevent illegal parking and deliveries in this location (see: https://www.rsa.ie/road-safety/campaigns/blocked-footpaths-cycle-lane-safety).
Additionally, an existing zebra crossing provides pedestrian priority, which has been omitted from the visualisation.
As the current proposals show, the cycle lanes on Main street terminate at Dales Junction (figure 6 below). It is unclear from the proposals what people on bikes are expected to do at this point, if they wish to continue north. Similarly, for cyclists coming from the north, it is unclear how they are meant to access the cycle lane here. The paths are not marked as shared paths (which we would not support), and do not allow for cycling. We note that if turning left onto the Dales, the road becomes a shared road, marked with bike symbols. However, if continuing north, it is not marked as a shared road, which is confusing to both cyclists and motorists.
Figure 6, showing Dales Junction, Main Street, Dunshaughlin
Dunshaughlin Cycle Network
The updated Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network plans were published in 2022, and included an updated Dunshaughlin Cycle Network (see figure 7 below). A key vision statement of the Cycle Network states that it ‘seeks to be an inclusive cycling environment that is safe for all cycling abilities and ages with strong functional and recreational connectivity between homes and key destinations.’
The Dunshaughlin Cycle Network provides a network of cycle lanes in the town, including on all of Main Street. However, the proposed Dunshaughlin Public Realm Scheme leaves out a key section of these cycle lanes (indicated by the red arrow below), which effectively cuts the Dunshaughlin Cycle Network in two.
Figure 7, part of the Dunshaughlin Cycle Network
We note the scheme does not include any bike parking. We propose it should include secure bike parking at suitable locations.
DMURS Quality Audit Report
The quality audit provided by Tobin Consulting Engineers fails to identify the discontinuous nature of the scheme for cyclists. It is inconceivable that this scheme will improve cycling modal share, due to sections where no segregated infrastructure is provided.
The report states “proposed facilities will enable future connection to cycling infrastructure existing and proposed on the outskirts of the village”, yet to traverse the centre of the town, cyclists will be expected to mix with motor vehicles.
Figure 7: The Dales, Actual Street View
The audit doesn’t address the fact that this street is routinely full of cars, yet is proposing that this will be a “shared space”. How will children on bicycles safely share this space? Similarly, from this junction heading north on Main Street, no provision for cycling is being provided at all.
The following problem is extremely concerning. The solution to vehicles driving close to cyclists is to remove what little cycle infrastructure has been included. This is irrational, and dangerous, in our view.
Meath County Development Plan
The Movement Strategy states the following:
Figure 8, Modal Share Targets for Dunshaughlin, Meath County Development Plan
We note that these targets appear to be inconsistent with the Climate Action Bill 2022.
Navan Cycling Initiative welcomes the proposed Dunshaughlin Public Realm Scheme, however, we have serious concerns as to why cycling infrastructure is not being proposed on all of Main Street.
The proposed scheme does not match up with the new Dunshaughlin Cycle Network, and is inconsistent with the GDA Transport Strategy, the county development plan and national policy. We would like to see cycling infrastructure included on all of this street, as the updated Cycle Network plans show, in order to provide a safe and continuous route for all.
Navan Cycling Initiative