Yes to Active Travel Plans – if the principles are right!
Have you made your submission to the Skerries Active Travel Plan yet? You can find out more on https://www.fingal.ie/activetravel/Skerries but hurry, you can only make a submission until 3 November!
And speaking to some officials working in the Active Travel Department of Fingal County Council, every time a route is mentioned as needing attention, every time a crossing is mentioned as not being safe, it makes a real difference.
And everybody living in Skerries has different active travel needs. And knows best how they could get around more easily without using the car all that much.
This is why we outlines principles rather than mentioning specific points or routes. Which is why we are encouraging you to make your own submissions with specifics.
Here is what we sent in to Fingal County Council:
Sustainable Skerries welcomes the Skerries Active Travel Plan. We have participated in the local workshops and given some views there. Here, we would like to suggest certain principles by which the redesign of Skerries for active travel might be guided.
By “Active Travel Routes” we mean paths suitable for walking and cycling, for people who cycle or walk, who are using mobility scooters, or buggies or cargo bikes…
- Making walking and cycling pleasant and easy by designing the shortest possible routes from all population centres – desire lines have formed on many greens and should be used for guidance, as well as individual submissions by residents in those areas.
- Lighting needs to be redesigned to favour pedestrians over cars. A lighting audit needs to be undertaken – many paths even including in the town centre are very badly lit. When adding lighting, environmental concerns need to be taken into account. Lights could for instance be turned on by motion sensors rather than being on during all dark hours.
- Permeability. All of the culs de sac cut off by a wall which can be opened to ATRs should be opened up. All.
- Traffic calming: A 30 km zone should be applied to all of Skerries,. The 30 km zone needs to be reinforced by speed cameras. Speed bumps should be taken out as they are very problematic for ambulances, make travel on buses uncomfortable etc.
- All schools and sports clubs should be audited for easier ways to reach them by active travel. For instance, it would be possible to open up extra entrances, provide better and safer cycle parking, and impose no-parking zones.
- Cycle parking needs to be more plentiful (so that the public bikes, which are a welcome addition, do not take up all available space) and safer, and needs to be redesigned to accommodate cargo bikes. At the train station and possibly other locations, a fob-operated cycle cage should be installed. The access to that should be priced so that it is attractive for possible users.
- It must be easy and pleasant to reach Balbriggan, Ardgillan, Loughshinny, Rush and Lusk by active travel. It is also very important that the Skerries Active Travel Plan takes the emerging preferred route for the Greenway into consideration.
- One way systems can make safe active travel paths possible in the town centre.
At the moment, most parents living in one part of Skerries do not feel it is safe to allow their children to cycle to their school in another part of Skerries. That will only change if their are safe cycle paths for instance along the railway side of the Barnageeragh Road.
We are very hopeful for the Skerries Active Travel Plan and are looking forward to seeing a considerable change for the better in our town, thanks to the hard work being put into it.