Carrigaline set for a €10m sustainable travel upgrade 

Carrigaline set for a €10m sustainable travel upgrade 

 A computer-generated image of a section of the proposed Bridgemount greenway link — a key part of the Carrigaline Transportation Public Realm Enhancement Plan. 

One of Ireland's most car-dependent towns is set for a €10m sustainable travel upgrade which includes a key link in the proposed 45km Lee to Sea greenway project.

Cycling campaigners praised county councilors for approving Part 8 planning for the first phase of the ambitious near €30m Carrigaline Transportation Public Realm Enhancement Plan (TPREP) on Monday, including a 2.2km greenway link which faced local opposition.

Dr Dean Venables, a member of the Cork Cycling Campaign, and a leading champion of the Lee to Sea project, said he was delighted to see the scheme approved.

“It will be a wonderful leisure amenity for people cycling, for people out walking their dogs, or just out strolling around their neighbourhood,” he said.

Disappointment

But local residents expressed huge disappointment, citing a real sense of being let down by local politicians.

“We were never against the wider plans for the town, or the concept of a greenway," a spokesman said.

"We firmly believe that on the back of how the consultation process was structured along with how the Part 8 was launched — the greenway link being part of the broader plan rather then being proposed individually — this was always going to be railroaded through and concerns of local residents were only ever going to receive lip-service and rudimentary consideration in the final design.

“Routing a thoroughfare of this nature — linking Ballincollig to Crosshaven — through a residential area is unprecedented. A point that seems to be entirely lost on the council and our local politicians.” 

Sustainable travel network

The project, funded by the National Transport Authority (NTA) under Project Ireland 2040 and unveiled for public consultation in May 2021, includes plans to overhaul the town centre streetscape and develop a high quality and reliable sustainable travel network right across the town.

The first phase, estimated to cost around €10m, focuses on public realm enhancements to main street, with plans for widened and continuous footways, improved walking and cycle infrastructure, new lighting, street furniture, and rain gardens, and some changes to traffic movement.

Phase one also includes plans for a 2.2km pedestrian and cycle link in the town’s Bridgemount area, along part of a disused railway route, which will ultimately form a key link in the proposed Lee to Sea greenway, connecting Ballincollig to Crosshaven.

The route is through a corridor which has been zoned for the provision of this amenity facility since 1996.

But local residents objected to the proposed route, accusing the council of trying to ram the proposal through their area and of ignoring alternative routes, citing particular concerns about a 100m section of land which was previously closed to prevent anti-social activity.

Plan defended

In a report on Monday, officials defended the plan, the level of public consultation, and ruled out two alternative routes on technical and environmental grounds.

The report said the project will provide high-quality connectivity between the town centre and the residential estates, and will provide a safe environment for walking and cycling, improved accessibility and permeability, and a valuable facility for residents, school children, commuters, and leisure enthusiasts.

Dr Venables said the project will be of huge benefit to residents, especially those with children, because it links so well to schools in the area.

“Other residents will also benefit because it will provide ways of getting around that aren’t dependent on the car,” he said.

“It is important to recognise the real concerns of local residents but there are two ways of solving those problems — one is to close off areas, and the other is to open them up, with property lighting and security. People won’t be drinking next to a busy path.”

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