THE closing date for public submissions on plans to develop five major new urban cycle lanes in Killarney has expired and while much of the correspondence received is likely to have been positive, various concerns and some pockets of resistance are understood to have materialised.
It is believed that some businesses operating along the main Park Road – where cycling paths are to provided on both sides – have expressed reservations and are seeking alternatives while there is also concern from some residents of Ardshanavooley estate where there are plans to lay a cycle path behind an existing grove of trees on a green area at the front of the estate.
It is understood that representations had also been made regarding concerns raised by a property owner on Upper Lewis Road but the issues raised have been or will soon be addressed.
A detailed submission from Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network – welcomed the council’s focus on providing for cyclists in Killarney but the organisation said it is “very concerned” by what it termed the shortcomings of the proposals.
The group said there was a piecemeal approach to planning for cycling as it covered disparate routes that are not connected into a coherent cycle network plan.
“The council does not appear to be drawing on the past two decades of experiences of local authorities countrywide in regard to the design of high quality cycle facilities, particularly on junction design and the use of shared pedestrian/cycle facilities which the national cycle manual explicitly advises against,” the Cyclist.ie submission stated.
It stressed it was essential that the proposed designs are upgraded so that the routes will be well used by people of all ages and abilities.
“Everyone in a town benefits when more people cycle and walk and facilities need to be provided to enable all ages to enjoy the health and wider benefits that active travel confers. Cyclist.ie would welcome the opportunity to discuss our observations on the proposals with Kerry County Council,” the organisation stated.
The Kerry Cycling Campaign, a member group of Cyclist.ie, welcomed the project and spokesman, Anluan Dunne, said he was happy to see such ambition from the Killarney Municipal District to undertake such a large scheme of works.
“There is a clear need to re-prioritise road space in favour of walking and cycling and we believe that this project has the potential to make this a reality,” he said.
“We do note that there are areas of improvement needed, particularly in areas such as priority, junctions and vehicle speed,” Mr Dunne added.
Killarney Cycling Club said it “greatly supports” the council’s commitment to improving cycling infrastructure in but it shared Cyclist.ie’s contention that the plans are not part of an overall coherent proposal.
The Green Party in Killarney said it welcomes proposals to develop cycle lanes in “a town choked with traffic”.
Spokesman, Diarmaid Griffin, remarked: “This project will provide safe cycling routes for day-to-day activities like shopping, going to school or visiting the town centre.
“It will also help to address the chronic vehicle congestion in our town by allowing people a viable alternative while also addressing air and noise pollution”.
The Greens said, however, that the design of junctions in the project need to be reworked and they’ve advocated greater adherence to the national cycling manual and the design manual for urban roads and streets.
The matter will be brought before a future meeting of Killarney Municipal District Council for discussion and councillor will then vote on whether to implement the plans.
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