— Project maintains slip turns in and out of shopping centre and business park.
— No segrationed cycle path at bus stops in project drawings.
— “Project team will continue to prepare more detailed designs”, says council.
An Bord Pleanála has granted Fingal County Council permission to redesign the R132 in Swords to include footpaths, cycle paths, a bus lane and a general traffic lane in both directions.
R132 Connectivity Project includes redesigning roundabouts into signalised junction with walking and cycling crossings. The project from Pinnock Hill to the Estuary Roundabout, although it does not include a redesign of the Pinnock Hill roundabout as that is part of BusConnects.
The project is a bit of a hybrid between a quick-build project and heavy infrastructure changes at the where the roundabouts are converted into junctions.
The project drawings however show that between the roundabouts, slip turns are maintained at two locations — in and out of the Pavilions shopping centre and a business park, the North Dublin Corporate Park. Slip turns are recommended to be removed on safety grounds by the National Cycle Manual and the Manual for Urban Roads and Streets.
Cycle paths are also interrupted at bus stops. If these details are not adjusted at the detailed design stage, the project would not be suitable for cycling for all ages and abilities, and would be out of line with standards published years ago.
In a statement released today, Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Seána Ó Rodaigh (Labour) said: “This connectivity project will make getting to work, school and the shops by walking and wheeling an easy choice for people in Swords. The changes being made are designed to improve safety but also to promote a healthy environment by reducing the number of short journeys taken by car.”
She added: “We will be publishing our Sustainable Swords strategy later this year and this R132 project will feed into that by supporting the growth of a healthy and connected community in line with the plans for Sustainable Swords.”
Andy Cowan, chairperson of Fingal Cycling, which is a branch of the Dublin Cycling Campaign , said: “This will make my cycling commute to the city centre significantly safer. It will also make travelling from the east side of Swords such as Kinsealy, Malahide and Seatown a lot safer. Delighted to see this.”
Matthew McAleese, director of Planning and Strategic Infrastructure for Fingal County Council, said: “With the return to office now a prospect for many, it is clearer than ever that safe and convenient connectivity is an issue in the Swords area, and we are looking forward to tackling this.”
He added: “The design for this project will also offer improved connectivity to public transport for those looking to travel further afield and will form a key component when integrating with the delivery of MetroLink and BusConnects in the future.”
The council added in a press release that: “With the Sustainable Swords strategy due to be published later this year, the multi-disciplinary project team will continue to prepare more detailed designs to enable this project to proceed to implementation. This will include liaising with the NTA and TII (Transport Infrastructure Ireland) in relation to providing a seamless integration with the proposed MetroLink and BusConnects project.”
Anne Graham, CEO at the National Transport Authority, said: “The NTA are delighted to work with Fingal County Council on providing significant improvements to the walking and cycling infrastructure in the Swords area. This project will improve the safety for all road users and reduce the severance effect of the R132 and its surrounding areas. This infrastructure will enable the residents of Swords to walk or cycle for local trips and to access public transport services for longer trips.”