Opposition to walking and cycling link “mean spirited”

— New path will make it safer to walk and cycle to school.

— Former Labour minister wants to use Labour Party lawyers to support opposition to walking and cycling link.

Opposition to a new walking and cycling connection is both mean spirited and detrimental to a more active community, the Maynooth Cycling Campaign has said.

Unlocking permeability for walking and cycling is seen by planning and active travel experts as key to getting more children and adults active and healthier, and reducing car use. But, when greater permeability for active travel is planned, it is often opposed by some residents who are then backed by councillors.

The Maynooth Cycling Campaign group released a statement after the Carton Avenue Preservation Society objected to a short bridge and pathway for walking and cycling linking Carton Avenue to a new housing development, Limetree Hall.

Carton Avenue is a link between the Carton Estate and Main Street in Maynooth.

Maynooth Cycling Campaign said: “In particular, a spokesperson [for Carton Avenue Preservation Society] has been reported as stating that no-one would want a cycle link. Maynooth Cycling Campaign strongly support the provision of cycle facilities between the residential estates and Main Street as it would be a safe route for children attending the nearby school. The alternative route on the Dublin Road has no cycle facilities and would involve a road crossing. Judging from the above photograph, the pupils at Presentation Girls School would appear to agree with our view,” the campaign said in a statement on its website.

The campaign said: “The Carton Avenue Preservation Society also argue that there has been no consultation on the proposal. The proposed walking/cycling link was shown in the Maynooth Local Area Plan 2013–2019 which went to public consultation and was subsequently approved by county councillors.”

“The work is not of a scale which warrants a separate public consultation so Kildare County County got it right this time. Opposition to improved walking and cycling is both mean spirited and detrimental to a more active community,” the group added.
Kildare Council Council has said the link into the Avenue was covered by the planning permission and the link was part of the local area plan.

Councillors however claimed the path is an “unauthorised development” and have threaten to support legal action against the council.

Local newspaper the Leinster Leader reported that independent Cllr Teresa Murray said there was “a sense of shock and the whole community was outraged” and, the paper said, that she was concerned that “bikes” would be using it.

Sinn Féin Cllr Reada Cronin said she was “horrified” by the walking and cycling link. The Leinster Leader quoted Cllr Cronin as stating: “The idea of people coming from McDonalds and Tesco with trolleys of beer and giving parties (at the Avenue) has frightened the life out of them We will fight this on the Avenue as well as in the courts. I will man the barricades. This won’t happen.”

Emmet Stagg, a former Labour junior minister and current election candidate for the area, said in a statement published on his party’s website that he wants the party’s lawyers to look at the issue.

Stagg claimed that what’s the council refers to as normal procedure to link new estates to public roads and paths within a development’s planning permission was not enough and that the link between the new estate and historic path would need its own planning permission.

The statement said: “Mr. Stagg stated that the Fact of the matter is that planning permission was only granted for the development of a pedestrian/cycle path within the development site of Limetree Hall. Nowhere was planning permission granted for the development of a pedestrian/cycle path within the boundary of Carton Avenue. Secondly the Maynooth Local Area Plan 2013-2019, in particular Maps 1 and 1 (a), only show a pedestrian/cycle path as an objective within the development site of Limetree Hall. Nowhere on the Maps is there an objective showing a pedestrian/cycle path linking the one in Limetree Hall with the Main footpath through Carton Avenue.”

The Council Officials are digging in their heels on this, stated Mr. Stagg, and given their intransigence and failure to recognise the democratic will of the people of Maynooth and their elected Councillors, leaves us with only one option at the moment which is to look into pursuing the matter legally.”

“Mr. Stagg concluded by stating that he was contacting Labour Lawyers on this important matter seeking their assistance and advice with a view to seeing what legal options might be available to get Carton Avenue re-instated,” the statement

IMAGE: Maynooth Cycling Campaign

I am editor of IrishCycle.com and have reported on and commented on cycling in Ireland for over a decade. My background is in journalism -- I have a BA in Journalism from DCU and HDip in Print Journalism from BCFE. I wrote about cycling for national newspapers, and then started CyclingInDublin.com for overflow stories. Later the website was re-branded to reflect a more national focus.

12 Comments

  1. Great satirical piece, well I hope it is satire, I hope….

  2. I too hope this is a spoof!
    Climate Action requires all public representatives to markedly up their game. The old certainties no longer apply. Trying to hunt with the hare and the hounds won’t work any longer.
    Every decision local authorities and councillors make from now on has to be climate-proofed in the widest sense.

  3. Not a spoof!

  4. Can you provide a map or diagram of the proposed changes as it is difficult for a non local to visualise exactly what height and where the bridge would be?

  5. Amazing stuff. Normally Left wing parties are pro cycling/walking routes. (At least more than the right wing ones). But here it appears to be them campaigning against.

  6. Emmet, left-wing politicians often aren’t reliably pro-active travel. There is a noticeable tendency to regard cyclists in particular as middle-class enthusiasts, whose preferences are pitted against the need of working-class people for more buses.

    I’m simplifying somewhat, but I’ve seen sentiments along those lines from Labour and the Social Democrats in Ireland, and I recall similar sentiments being voiced in London and New York.

  7. Fear of change seems to overrule everything else! We need to contact both Sinn Féin and Labour transport spokespersons to get explanation for the local reps’ statements!

  8. They seem to have taken the standard tool box of complaints and really turned it up to 11. Why on earth would this result in groups drunk on cheap Tesco beer congregating in their area? Shock, outrage, horror, fear? Get a grip people. Seriously.

    There are no party lines on short sighted nimbyism. A Sinn Fein councillor leads recurrent efforts to close a walk way behind my parents house because a bunch of middle class suburbanites (of which the SF cllr is one) don’t want people walking near their back gardens, would be happy to see people from a nearby housing estate go the long way to get to the shops and, totally incidentally, plan to extend their gardens as soon as the path is closed.

  9. The housing is on the lower right, the avenue is the diagonal line above
    https://www.google.ie/maps/@53.3835173,-6.5804881,655m/data=!3m1!1e3

  10. What is the current policy wrt cycling on the avenue? As I understand it the concern is not with the new bridge per se, but that joining a cycle path to the avenue would bring bicycles into what has heretofore been a pedestrian zone.
    I can see why that would be a problem but also the advantages for children cycling to school.

    The situation with Lime Tree could be repeated with the two other new estates adjacent the avenue but the planning diagrams for these do not indicate a cycling track that I can see.

  11. Cycling is allowed and this is supported by the local area plan.

    People’s views on Facebook etc seem to differ good bit — no to cycling, yes to cycling but no new access, yes new access but what was built is too wide, can’t children use the main road and just dismount where needed etc

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