South Kerry Greenway detailed design goes against Greenway Strategy

IMAGE: The Great Western Greenway uses stop signs and bollards at local roads, while Kerry is using chicanes with gates at driverways.

— Gate-chicanes closer to junctions than recommend in guidelines.
— Chicanes and yield signs at private driveways.
— Greenway gives up in Caherciveen, mixes with motor traffic.
— Cyclists to be asked to dismount outside pub and two houses.

Detail designs for the South Kerry Greenway — which follows part of the Ring of Kerry — shows that Kerry County Council have gone against the Greenway Strategy just weeks after it was published.

Last week Kerry County Council lodged the planning application for theSouth Kerry Greenway with An Bord Pleanála. The 32km route runs from Glenbeigh to Reenard in south Kerry.

The Greenway Strategy outlines how routes should follow the TII Rural Cycleway Design (Offline) for rural sections and the NTA’s Cycle Manual on urban sections. But the council has gone against those documents at junctions and not having 10 metres space between junctions and, in many locations, having fences or dips right beside the greenway path.

In Caherciveen, rather than providing a greenway suitable for urban usage including between housing estates and schools and workplaces, the council mixes the greenway route on a local road.

It is one of the viewed to be the first greenway in Ireland to use the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) process for the acquisition of the privately-owned lands to allow the council to develop the greenway.

The council said: “If confirmed by An Bord Pleanála, the CPO will allow Kerry County Council to acquire the land necessary for the project. The scheme impacts on 222 landholdings and 197 landowners and was the subject of extensive public consultation over the past decade. The Council will continue to engage with landowners throughout the process and a dedicated information line will be made available.”

Kerry County Council added: The three-metre wide paved surface greenway will run from the townland of Reenard southwest of Caherciveen to the townland of Faha west of Glenbeigh. The route will, in the main, be constructed on the corridor of the abandoned Great Southern railway line with off-line sections being constructed on adjacent lands and local roads. It will include the provision of car parks, and the upgrading of existing bridges and tunnels such as the Cahersiveen Railway Bridge, Gleesk Viaduct and tunnels at Drung Hill.”

The council said that submissions on the order must be lodged with An Bord Pleanála by 19 October next and An Bord Pleanála may decide to hold an oral hearing having regard to any submissions received. Details, including drawings, can be found at kerrycoco.ie.

COMMENT & ANALYSES: Despite CPOs, Greenway Strategy and guildlines not followed

Unlike what has been said in the media, the council has compromised and in a number of locations moved away from the straighter lines of the former greenway:

 

Cross sections includes 3 metres plus 1 metre verges in many locations: 

 

But the cross-sections are problematic elsewhere with little or no verge between the 3 metre path and drops of different sizes:

Elsewhere where there is no cross section, the drawings of the greenway show the 3 metre path right up beside a new fence — this is against guidelines which call for at least 1 metre between paths and fences:

 

Private road junctions over driveways into single houses — at all driveways the greenway includes chicanes and yield signs aimed at greenway users — a reverse of priority than is normal when a driveway meets a public road or path.

In international terms it barriers like these are unusual (more so with prime EU markets, ie Germany, the Netherlands), but even with bends that will slow cyclists chicanes are still shown:

The locations of the chicanes are also far too close to the junction with the driveways:

More worrying is chicanes-gates which have the potential to block the greenway at public road junctions if greenway users walking or cycling are coming from both directions at once — this is one of the reasons why the guildlines indicate that chicanes should be 10 metres back from junctions, advice which clearly isn’t followed:

 

Where the route meets Caherciveen, no footpath is provided beside the greenway path and no increase in width seems to be provided for.

The south approach to Caherciveen is focused a lot on providing new road links and a car park, while people cycling will have to deal with up to five chicanes in close succession:

Further along the route cyclists are asked to dismount at a steep incline near a road but then they are also asked to dismount four more times quickly after this beside a pub and private houses:

 

6 Comments

  1. I would imagine designs were well advanced by the time the DTTAS strategy was published. Perhaps if the publication of the strategy wasn’t delayed there would have been more lead in time to ensure designs were in line with same. Chicanes do serve a purpose from a H&S perspective though, personally, road humps which give priority to walkers and cyclists, in conjunction with signage, are much more preferable to the greenway user.

  2. @JH the rural cycle route standards (which are good in some ways, but overall far below what’s needed) was already indicated as the standard needed to be followed for rural routes.

  3. All design standards require relaxations and departures in some scenarios.

    Also regarding Cahirciveen “shared” section note that the Strategy states:
    “While best practice would be that all Greenways be fully segregated from vehicular traffic, we consider it prudent to allow some scope for local situations where total segregation might not be possible but that other traffic calming measures have been introduced to make the route more suitable for inexperienced cyclists.”

    The chicanes are weird though!

  4. Trevor — in line with policy to get children cycling to schools, people cycling to work etc, they could have used the opportunity to provide a safe, segregated cycle route in the urban area.

    Also no traffic calming is provide, so, it’s not in line with that relaxation and the Cycle Manual isn’t follow.

    And — totally apart from the greenway standards — the Design Manual for Urban Roads and streets isn’t followed.

  5. The design issues highlighted support the impression that many of these so called “greenway” projects have little to do with cycling or walking and are simply a “scramble for money” from the local authorities involved.

  6. I don’t think that this proves it’s all about the money and they don’t care about cycling or walking. I do think it’s typical of the attitude where when something gets even a little bit difficult whoever is in control just does whatever is easiest and/or cheapest. The classic example of this is the way we have so many nice cycle lanes along grand wide roads but as soon as the road narrows or there’s a complicated junction (where we actually need cycling infrastructure) the cycle lane just ends, to be continued whenever it gets easy again.

    The most offensive thing in the list above is the requirement to yield at private driveways. I’d be interested to see the reaction if someone suggested adding yield signs to the main carriageway so that people could get out of their houses.

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