— IDA business park plan was approved by Galway County Council
— Cycle lanes only 1 metre wide when national rules call for 1.75 metre
— Planned central road barrier to push cars and trucks closer to cycle lane
Galway Cycling Campaign last week lodged an appeal to An Bord Pleanala against the IDA’s plans to redesign Parkmore Road and add an entrance to Parkmore West Business Park near Galway City.
The new junction and road redesign are being billed as a solution to chronic rush hour congestion caused by traffic exiting the business park on the outskirts of the car-dependent city. But the cycling campaign yesterday expressed safety concerns over the new design not complying with national design standards — with planned pinch points adding to the risk of a collision between motorists and cyclists.
Local media report that motorists complain that it takes “up to 90 minutes to get out of the area at peak times”, while Google Maps suggests cycling from Parkmore to the Deane Roundabout (aka the Fort Lorenzo roundabout) in the west of the city only takes around half an hour. The Galway Cycle Campaign highlights how IDA has done “very little” to improve cycling and walking access to Parkmore West and Parkmore East
The cycle campaign points out that the road redesign and expansion does not comply with the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets or the National Cycle Manual. It also said the existing substandard road, the large roundabout outside the business park, and a lack of road sweeping are barriers to cycling in the area.
The new junction will only allow for left in and left out movements and bollards in the centre of the road will attempt to enforce this.
The cycling campaign said that the planned “wide sweeping curvature” of the junction will encourage motorists to travel fast when entering and exiting Parkmore West. On this it points to the Design Manual for Urban Roads, which advises: “Reducing corner radii will significantly improve pedestrian and cyclist safety at junctions by lowering the speed at which vehicles can turn corners.” The proposed curvature of 12 meters, the campaign said, “significantly exceeds” the recommendations of the design manual.
The campaign said it is also concerned about planned concrete islands in the design which will “create pinch points for cyclists”. It added: “The proposed narrow cycle lanes of only 1 meter in width will push cars closer to cyclists using the same road space. Hard shoulders or cycle lanes should be at least 2 meters wide.”
The cycle lanes planned to not meet the standards in the National Cycle Manual calls for a minimum width of 1.75 metre cycle lanes in the given context and it does not even follow older guidelines, which used to call for 1.5 metre lanes.
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Oisin O’Nidh, Campaign PRO, said: “The plans will have to revised anyway as the measurements for the road widths do not add up correctly. We have pointed this out to An Bord Pleanála.”
Another problem for the existing cycle lanes on Parkmore Road is that they are rarely maintained. Cycle lanes are rarely swept and result in the gathering of debris, such as gravel and dirt.
“We have put together a proposal for an alternative route via the Racecourse which would provide a more direct and safe connection for cyclists and pedestrians accessing Parkmore,” said Shane Foran, Galway Cycling Campaign spokesman. These proposals would use existing internal roads within the Racecourse lands and would allow people cycle or walk to avoid the busy national roads like the N17 and N6.
The Galway County Council planning file claims that “the proposed link road and junction with the L-7101 has been designed in accordance with DMURS and TD40/41
MORE: All the planning files, including the full drawings and details, and the appeals by the Galway Cycling Campaign and a third party, can be viewed at http://gccapps.galwaycoco.ie/gis/cocomaps/ by searching for the refrence 16170.