Controversial Naas cycle lanes get the green light

Kilcullen Road plan is divisive

Paul O'Meara

Reporter:

Paul O'Meara

Email:

paul@leinsterleader.ie

Controversial Naas cycle lanes get the green light

Kilcullen Road, Naas

Controversial proposals to build cycle lanes along Kilcullen Road, Naas, at the expense of a number of car park spaces have been given the go ahead.

A majority of Naas councillors voted today to approve the scheme. More than 1,400 people signed a petition of opposition organised by two businesses - Swan’s on the Green and Goulding’s Hardware - after the proposals became public six months ago.

This afternoon at a Naas Municipal District meeting, two thirds of the politicians voted to accept the plan. Coincidentally, the plan to pedestrianise part of Poplar Square at the other end of the town was carried by a similar margin.

However they forced through a number of key changes that will be made before the final plans are drawn up.

These changes are brand new traffic lights where Ballymore Road meets Kilcullen Road (near Swan’s) and pedestrian crossings further out Kilcullen Road where the ring road intersects that route.

It was also agreed that there would be 5 additional spaces on Kilcullen Road, near Swan’s. This means that the number of car park spaces to lost will  amount to 17.

It is also intended to provide new car parking spaces - 17 in all - at Fairgreen, though this is not part of the cycle lane initiative and will require a land rezoning and a loss of a parcel of green space. These new spaces will be close to the existing spaces near St. David’s Boxing Club.

Councillors feel the traffic lights are necessary to combat traffic congestion near the town centre. Independent councillor Sorcha O’Neill also pointed out that the additional pedestrian crossings are needed to facilitate cyclists and pedestrians going to and from the education campus at Piper’s Hill, as well as others. Piper’s Hill College alone has 1,000 students.

Six councillors voted  in favour of the Kilcullen Road Cycle Scheme Development (to give it its official title). They were Fintan Brett (FG), Deborah Callaghan (FF), Billy Hillis (FG), Carmel Kelly (FF), Sorcha O’Neill (Ind) and Rob Power (FF). Three voted against -  Darren Scully (FG), Seamie Moore (Ind) and Anne Breen (Lab).

Plans to cut the car parking places as well as business closures in Naas prompted the formation of an action group, which has since been renamed. It also led to a  public meeting during at the Town House Hotel during which local residents attacked the proposal, last February.