A South Fingal Transport Study has been carried out for the Council. (This is in fulfilment of an objective in the County Development Plan which specified the Study would include public consultation; unfortunately the public consultation hasn’t happened.)
The Study contains strong recommendations about prioritising walking, cycling and public transport in the area, and will be discussed at a Planning and Strategic Infrastructure Policy Committee meeting on Monday 28th.
The report on the Kinsealy Greenways Feasibility Study for which funding was obtained in 2017 following discussion in the County Development Plan process in 2016 has been published. It will be discussed at the Area Committee in March.
Overall, the report demonstrates the feasibility and value of providing dedicated greenway cycle routes between the towns and villages in the area.
There are a few aspects of it which I’m not clear about, and I’ll post updates when I receive them.
***Bus Connects consultation today Monday 17th September 2pm to 8pm Grand Hotel Malahide***
***Submission deadline 28th September www.busconnects.ie***
My draft submission is below. I would be interested in any feedback, positive or negative before I submit it.
1.Howth to city centre along the coast
At the Area Committee today it was confirmed that the NTA has approved €50,000 for a feasibility study into the Kinsealy Greenways proposal, following the Area Committee’s meeting with them in January.
These are the indicative routes to be studied.
Kinsealy to Holywell via Abbeville
Portmarnock to Kinsealy
Balgriffin to Kinsealy
I have submitted the following motions in relation to the Amendments to the County Development Plan. The meetings will be on 14th and 16th February.
(The deletion of the reference to enforcement comes from the fact that the Council has no influence on speed limit enforcement. Unfortunately the Chief Executive is recommending this much weaker version: “Support and promote the implementation of policy in the immediate vicinity of schools to provide for a safe and attractive low speed (30kph) environment.”)
A delegation from Howth / Malahide Area Committee (Cllr. Brian McDonagh, Cllr. Jimmy Guerin and myself) met the National Transport Authority (NTA) last week. We had a productive discussion on a range of issues.
This included the proposed greenway cycle routes between Holywell, Portmarnock and Balgriffin/Belmayne through Kinsealy. The Council agreed last October to my proposal to include these routes in the draft Development Plan. The decision was taken in the context of the possible location of a secondary school at the Teagasc building and the very poor quality of walking and cycling routes in the area at the moment.
The NTA started their consideration from an emphasis that secondary schools need to be provided at walkable locations but recognised the both that that the reuse of an existing building might be a significant factor in the decision, which is ultimately one for neither Fingal County Council nor the NTA, but the Department of Education. We all also noted the potential of these routes to serve other trips between towns and suburbs in South Fingal and the Northside of Dublin City.
In response to the discussion, they proposed that they would fund a feasibility study to look into the potential for routes similar to those included as indicative routes in the draft Development Plan. I am bringing a proposal for such a study to the next Area Committee meeting on 1st March, as well as recommending that the indicative routes be confirmed in the Development Plan.
Last month’s County Development Plan meetings discussed a wide range of issues. I’m posting some reports in particular on the motions I submitted. I also supported important motions by my Green colleague Roderic O’Gorman and a range of Councillors from all parties.
The largest batch of motions were those on cycling so I’ll address those first.
One of the results of the public display of the draft plan was the receipt of a range of submissions criticising the inadequacy of the policies contained in the draft as regards cycling.These came from a range of parties, including the National Transport Authority which suggested that the policies in relation to cycling in the plan could be strengthened.
In response to these submissions, I submitted a range of proposed amendments, many of which were directly extracted from the National Cycle Policy Framework (NCPF), particularly the policies and actions identified in the Framework for implementation by local authorities.
In advising the Councillors on the motions submitted, the Council management first claimed that many of the motions submitted were invalid as they didn’t relate to submissions received. This label was applied to 15 of the 21 amendments which I proposed based on the NCPF. When I pointed out their origin this claim did not resurface.
When it came to the discussions, the first two cycling related motions were
- to mark the cycle routes from the Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network Plan on the Development Plan maps the same as the other cycle routes already proposed
- to provide safe routes to school as part of the process of identifying and procuring new school sites
It was a bit of a surprise that, unfortunately, the Planning Department opposed both of these. The majority of Councillors supported my motion to mark the GDA routes on the maps despite the official advice against it.
However they also opposed my proposal that safe walking and cycling routes would be provided to new schools as part of the school development process and a slim majority of Councillors voted it down. The media, starting with the cycling journalism website Irishcycle.com, naturally took an interest in this and reported it the following week: Irishcycle.com, TheJournal.ie, DublinLive.ie.
At the following meeting, the officials continued to oppose the cycling motions and a number of other important motions were defeated including a proposal to implement HGV management strategies in urban areas, a proposal to carry out remedial measures to existing cyclist unfriendly urban roads and a proposal to provide safe cycling and walking routes to existing schools during the lifetime of the plan including an audit of all schools. These motions were all based on the National Cycle Policy Framework adopted in 2009, but despite that the officials convinced a majority of Councillors to vote them down.
At a subsequent meeting, the media attention to the vote against safe routes to schools started to have an impact and my motions to provide cycle routes from Holywell, Portmarnock and Balgriffin to Kinsealy to serve the proposed new secondary school there and the existing primary schools were all successful. So overall, a mixture of good and bad news.
Proposed greenway style cycle route from Kettle’s Lane to Kinsealy via Abbeville
Proposed greenway style cycle route from Portmarnock to Kinsealy
The amendments to the Draft Plan are on public display until 2nd December. At this stage they are only proposed amendments; they could be overturned following the consultation. So if you agree with any of the amendments, make sure to make a submission!
I’m still following up on the National Cycle Policy Framework (NCPF) issue. The media reports on the motion for safe routes to schools which was defeated, led to me learning from a member of the public of the existence of Planning Circular_pssp_8_2010_on NCPF_and_development_plans. This circular requires the Council to make the Development Plan consistent with the NCPF.
All of the cycling related motions had already been dealt with when I received the Circular but I immediately drew the attention of the next Council meeting dealing with the Development Plan to the obligations placed on the Council by the Circular. The Council officials were unwilling to recognise that the Circular had any significance to the process or to revisit the issues.
I have written to the Minister for Housing and Planning in relation to this.