Traffic calming measures which include a cycle lane linking St Flannan’s College and the Kilrush Rd have generated such a reaction that Clare County Council have confirmed they will carry out a review on the completed works.
Installed in August, the double cycle lanes are surrounded by bollards and armadillos, fears have been expressed for driver, cyclist and pedestrian safety due to the design with the concerns escalating since St Flannans College opened its doors for the academic year.
Cllr Johnny Flynn requested at Monday’s meeting of Clare County Council that a review be carried out. Green Party councillor, Roisin Garvey who has worked in sustainable tourism for eleven years criticised the finished product. “It is designed in such a way that it is putting the driver against the cyclist, the road surface is too narrow. You have double cycle lines on both sides of the road which is over the top. I’m confused as to what the plan was. You have to invest in behavioural change as well”.
Fianna Fáil’s Pat Daly outlined that residents had no objections to the cycle lanes but rather the bollards, “they are very worried coming out of their houses”. According to Cllr Ann Norton, they have questioned who will take responsibility should an accident occur. “Are the Council going to take responsibility for cars if they do hit a bollard or armadillos on the road, they are quite high, quite hard especially for a smaller car, one driver said to me yesterday it could nearly flip their car, the buses and the trucks are pushing the cars over to have to go into these areas”.
Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting of the Ennis Municipal District, Cllr Mary Howard acknowledged, “We all know why they were put in. There were three children knocked down in that vicinity last year, one child knocked down is too many”. She called on St Flannans College to use a second entrance such as previous ones used by people travelling to the alleys and questioned the “fixation with bringing people right to the gate,” she added, “a bit of wind and rain never hurt anyone”. Her call for the old entrance at Flannans to be reopened was backed by Cllr Flynn.
Cleaning the lanes may be another issue, Cllr Paul Murphy warned. “Parents are over the moon with the safe passage their kids now have to go to school but some people at war with their neighbours over the cycle paths”. Cllr Mark Nestor highlighted that more students cycling and walking to school is a positive sign.
“It is an extreme narrowing, it has certainly reduced traffic speed, I am driving the road daily and have to literally stop if there is something bigger than a car coming against me. I cannot understand why road design technicians decided to go so narrow, it’s astonishing to me,” Cllr Colleran Molloy commented.
Director of Service, Carmel Kirby confirmed that received “an awful lot of submissions” plus plenty of comments, more negative than positive. “When I went down myself to see it, you think look at the extreme measures we have to take to change driver’s behaviour and make it safe to cycle or walk to school”. She committed to a review which will be brought back before the Ennis MD.