Cllr Peter Hamilton worried that council is slow off mark
There is frustration in some quarters over the timing of Kildare County Council plans to improve cycling routes in Kildare.
But officials say an ambitious amount of work has been agreed with the National Transport Authority (NTA) for next year.
At the council’s Clane-Maynooth Municipal District meeting on December 4, Green Party Cllr Peter Hamilton asked for an update on when the cycle design work supporting continuous routes for the Meadowbrook, Beaufield, Newtown Road, Parsons Street and Celbridge Road connection can be resourced and started?
Officials said that they had agreed with the NTA, Cycle Projects Programme for 2021 in the Clane-Maynooth Municipal District. One is to progress detailed design and tender documentation for the Maynooth Corridor Phase 5 - the R148 road from Leinster Street to Moyglare road.
The council also plans to finalise the detailed design, construction tender documentation and start building the Royal Canal Cycling (Fingal County Council border to Maynooth).
It said it has applied for Active Travel COVID-19 related NTA funding allowing for a safer more permeable cycling network with increased cycle parking facilities in Maynooth Town.
It is proposed that these cycle infrastructure projects will commence in 2021 by the Municipal District, Public Realm, Planning and Transportation teams.
Cllr Hamilton and Cllr Paul Ward were told design work will continue on other designs including the Naas-Sallins route, also at Kill, Kildangan bridge, Easton road in Leixlip and Celbridge bridge.
It is also planned to work on the R445/R416 junction and the Naas-Newbridge bus priority route.
Officials said the list does not include the many other discrete walking and cycling projects delivered on an ongoing basis.
Members were told that the Council has been engaged in continual consultation with the NTA and “has agreed an ambitious quantum of work” for 2021 based on the resources available. It said: “The council trust this shows the Directorate’s commitment and ambitions in this area and hope when further resources become available over time the council can expand upon this list of projects.”
Officials say they have been in discussions with the NTA regarding their 5 year cycling programme (2021 -2025) and have expressed council ambitions for a substantial growth in cycling infrastructure within the county.
The finalised programme will be agreed in the first quarter of next Following the meeting Cllr Hamilton told us that he believes the council does not have the roads engineering team capacity and skills in place to commission and manage the design work and worries that the could end up at the back of the queue for funds rather than at the top of it.
Cllr Hamilton told us the council had the opportunity over the summer to start a cycle design project to begin to connect up the disconnected cycle routes in Maynooth with designs for the Meadowbrook link, Beaufield, Newtown, the Celbridge Road and the Dublin road but it did not have the capacity to progress them.
He argued that if this had been done the council would have been top of the queue for this cycling and pedestrian funding from the NTA.
He said that in Kilcock no proper cycle design activity has started, except for some minor developer driven portions as part of housing development.
“I am expressing some frustration that we are slow in getting off the mark on this opportunity. If we don't move quickly on this opportunity we will literally be back-pedalling while other counties secure the funding.”