Fingal residents asked to act now for cycle routes to schools

Residents of Fingal are asked to contact their councillors ahead of a meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) and ask them to support development plan motions for better planning of cycle routes.

The first of the motions — Motion 62 — covers cycle routes to schools and advanced planning of these when new school sites are decided, not leaving the planning of routes until when schools are busy with the school building planning process.

The second motion — Motion 22 — looks to map the local section of the Greater Dublin Area cycle network and other routes into the development plan for clarity and to protect the alignments of these routes before they are built.

Cllr David Healy (Green Party) is seeking support from fellow councillors.

“Obviously the provision of schools and the provision of routes to school should be integrated. It isn’t at the moment. The purpose of the motion is to try to make that happen,” said Cllr Healy.

The council manager’s response was that “the Council will continue to promote and encourage the provision of safe walking and cycling routes to all new school sites.”

But Cllr Healy said: “The reality is that it is the Council which has the necessary legal powers to provide these routes. Reference to the Council promoting and encouraging the provision of the routes indicates a lack of will to actual provide the routes.”

“In response to a submission about the the need for cycle routes to the proposed secondary school in Kinsealy, the Manager’s report says: ‘Access for the proposed school at the Teagasc lands is a matter for the Development Management process.’ In other words, it will be dealt with when a planning application is received, by way of condition, further information etc,” said Cllr Healy.

He added: “This is an entirely inadequate, indeed ridiculous, response to the request. The Council will receive an planning application for a school; is the Council really suggesting that the Department of Education/school body should submit a planning application to redesign all the local roads or to provide a segregated route through local fields belonging to a range of landowners? It is simply impossible for the development management [planning] process to address this on its own.”

For Motion 22 relating to mapping the GDA cycle network and other routes, he said the manager’s report does not make sense.

“I don’t understand the report. In summary, it says that we have some cycle routes on the [development plan] maps; they are indicative; we will work to implement the the GDA cycle network subject to design but it’s ‘premature’ to mark those on the maps; we will consider further links as part of a detailed design process but it’s premature to mark any new routes,” he said.

“It doesn’t make any sense to have some cycle routes on the maps and not others To my knowledge there’s no difference in the level of analysis behind the routes already on the maps and those in the GDA network.

The GDA network should be in the marked on the maps because implementation of it is a goal in the plan. Someone looking at a map of an area should not have to also look at the GDA network maps to find out that there’s a cycle route proposed in that area. The idea of the Development Plan should surely be that relevant information is included, so that a planner or developer can see what is planned.”

Cllr Healy said that there are “significant gaps” in the GDA network. Because, he said, it doesn’t include routes in some important proposed new development areas — such as Balgriffin, Belcamp, or Clonshaugh — or in the area between Malahide and Balgriffin.

He said: “I don’t think there’s any claim that the GDA network plan is comprehensive or fully up to date. So, councillors should be identifying additional routes in the development plan. We should certainly be identifying additional cycle routes which we know are already needed including routes to schools, new and proposed. l know of no reason to suggest that is ‘premature’.”

1 Comments

  1. Good on Cllr Healy for calling bullshit on the County Manager here. The response looks like a pretty clear attempt to evade responsibility for action using disingenuous platitudes. We absolutely need to include cycling infrastructure to support schools and other public projects ahead of time. It is not remotely good enough to create grand aspirational future development plans that are subsequently ignored; we need to begin to incorporate the directives from those plans into actual infrastructure projects as they are being implemented. Otherwise, it is just pointless and expensive blather.

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