— 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.
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:
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: