Scaremongering in Balbriggan and Skerries doesn’t stack up — Irish greenways do go via residential streets and housing estates

Comment & Analysis: recently reported how the Fingal Coastal Way consultation process has been hit with fearmongering and misinformation, so, it’s worth dispelling an ongoing myth at the centre of the issue — that greenways are not routed via residential areas in urban areas. This is clearly not true.

The main points where there are objections are Quay Street and Hoar Rock in Skerries, and Hampton Cove and the Bower in Balbriggan.'s reader-funded journalism won't survive without your help. With over 762,000 views so-far this year, it's not just "avid cyclists" who read this website, but, if you want it to keep going, more support is needed from readers like you. Now, back to the article...

One comment left on this website yesterday said: “I have friends and family that live along the proposed route I can see how much this is going to effect the way they live and disrupt their lives. This does not happen on the Waterford greenway as it’s an old railway track and that protects any personnel space that people living along the Route have”.

It’s true to say that Waterford Greenway uses only the disused railway line, the planners of the route were in a great position that the route was intact and in State ownership. However, greenways in Dublin, Westport, and Castlebar, including the popular Great Western Greenway, are examples of greenways that go via residential urban areas. Greenways also go by many people’s houses in rural areas too.

And regarding “personnel space” in both Skerries and Balbriggan the main complaints are about public spaces — in Skerries, we’re talking about public streets in the town and in Balbriggan, the main area of contention is paths planned to be built along green areas in two estates.

These are the type of areas which are used for greenways elsewhere in Ireland and the predicted worse and not come to pass. Greenways across the country have also been subject to scaremongering, new things can be scary for some people but the reality of greenways is locals embrace them when built.

The commenter yesterday mentioned Hampton Cove and the Bower in Balbriggan and said “this is an estate where children play” — is this really how far the toxic anti-cycling sentiment has gotten in Dublin that greenway users are being pitted against children playing? This is sadly in line with many of the objections to the Fingal Coastal Way.

But the fact is that greenways are not “continual highways” as this person put it, and rather than the idea that “No consideration has been given to the people living along the route”, the reality is that some people whipped up opposition and that has spread fear of the unknown and greenways are benign.

For example, the work-in-progress Dodder Greenway in south Dublin goes via this housing estate — this is in a far larger area than Skerries or Balbriggan:

Just across the Dodder from the location above is also this access point to the greenway, in another small housing estate:

In Westport, this has been the end of a branch off the Great Western Greenway for years and has acted as a main greenway route while construction of the town’s bypass has disrupted the northern main route in the town:

 The same branch of the greenway goes via this small housing estate:

The popular quay branch of the greenway goes via another small housing estate:

Another part of the greenway in Westport goes via the parking area in front of these houses — the cycle path ends behind the cars on the left and the greenway route continues in front of the houses:

Just outside Westport, the greenway is routed up what was effectively just somebody’s driveway, and instead of hostility the residents of the house have embraced it and have installed seating, flowers and a tap with drinking water for greenway users and a bowl for anybody with a dog.

The third and fourth images here show the area where the greenway goes inside their old gates and turns left — their house is straight on after the second set of gates:

A section of the small but popular Metals Greenway in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown goes by houses on this small and narrow street:

The Metals Greenway starts/ends in this housing estate:

In Castlebar the greenway is literally routed via the green area of estates along the river shown in the centre of this image:

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