Campaigners in Navan have questioned why a planned cycle path outside the town’s new bus Park and Ride on the N51 was changed into a shared path.
A local cycling campaign group, the Navan Cycling Initiative, said that its submission looked for two main things — first that, cycle routes to be continuous, segregated, and not shared with cars or pedestrians, and, secondly, that pedestrians and cyclists should have priority at junctions.
Meath County Council, in both cases, decided to do the opposite and watered down the project by mixing pedestrians and cyclists, and giving visual priority to motorists at the Park and Ride car park access points.
Cllr Emer Tóibín (Aontu) said that she received a response from Meath County Council’s Transport Director at a meeting in January and was told that shared paths comply with National Cycle Manual. She added that she was awaiting a response as to why plans changed.
The National Cycle Manual outlines that “Shared facilities are disliked by both pedestrians and cyclists and result in reduced Quality of Service for both modes. With the exception of purpose-designed shared streets, shared facilities should be avoided in urban areas as far as possible.”
Ed Moynihan, chairperson of the Navan Cycling Initiative, said: “While mixed paths may be required in some circumstances, the National Cycle Manual clearly states they should be avoided in urban areas as far as possible.”
“This will be a very busy route when all the work is complete, not only with lots of people getting on and off at the bus stops, but it is also outside a very busy secondary school to which lots of kids cycle, and on a key route of the Navan Cycle Network, connecting the town centre to the Park and Ride, and on to Blackwater Park and the new BVLC Greenway,” he said.
Moynihan said: “Mixing cycling and walking in this location is a serious cause for concern.”
“It’s unclear how or why these changes have taken place. They are different from the public consultation plans which were available to people to view and make submissions. While we understand some small design changes can occur during the construction process, these changes seem pretty severe and change the entire look of the scheme, making it less safe for all users,” he added.
Meath County Council acknowledged a request for comment in January but did not respond further.
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