MANAGER’S REPORT UNDER SECTION 179, PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT ACT, 2000: Proposed Development of Pedestrian and Cycle Greenway and Ancillary Works from Glenbrook to Raffeen Bridge
Cllr Canty (FG): As Chair of the Municipal District, is pleased to propose this project. It would be a great asset to the Monkstown – Raffeen area.
Cllr Desmond (FF): Is against the proposal as it stands. Acknowledges the work that has been done in-house but there are concerns with this particular route. Takes in an existing and established walkway. Is predominantly used by elderly people. The shared use is what is causing the issue. The primary users of this pathway would be like skittles. There is a strong tradition of fishing off the quay wall. That’s posing a problem too. Very disappointed that the concerns that have been raised by Members and the public haven’t been able to be addressed.
Cllr Collins (FG): Supports Cllr Canty in proposing this. Thinks it a pity that a section of a 25km walk from Páirc Uí Chaoimh to Crosshaven would be discontinued for this section. It’s not for the people of Monkstown, Glenbrook and Raffeen; it’s for everyone. We’re trying to encourage everyone to get out and be active. Very disappointing that there isn’t support for it. There are safety issues but the greenway from Carrigaline to Crosshaven is a shared space as is the rest of the line and there have yet to be accidents.
Cllr D’Alton (Ind): Thanks the team working in-house on this, especially Clare Cronin, for a very long time. Think the concept was first introduced to us in 2012. Am generally very much in favour of development of greenways all around Cork Harbour. Many years ago a railway line ran between Blackrock and Crosshaven. A greenway has been developed along the route between Blackrock and Passage West and between Carrigaline and Crosshaven. It is off road nearly all the way. This proposal is for part of the section that would connect the two. In one section it isn’t for off-road but on an existing footpath. Many of the older and more vulnerable users who couldn’t deal with the bicycles on the Passage West to Hop Island section moved to this footpath for walking. It is wide and flat and known as the Cardiac Mile. It is their only physical and social outlet. They will not be able to share this surface with bikes and so they will have nowhere to go. The path runs alongside a busy, fast moving regional road. There is real risk to cyclists of falling off the path onto the road. They are totally unprotected. But there a second stretch of this proposed route where the road is winding and dangerous and here we can provide off-road greenway. Would be real benefits from developing this section. If this part of the proposal could be separated out, would support. But it is being presented as one proposal and so very sadly cannot support it.
Cllr Jeffers (SF): Sinn Féin won’t be supporting this proposal. Elderly people use this walkway because it is not congested with traffic. We are in favour of cycle lanes. In Passage, people are not using the route because of the business. This is too close to a busy road. Has been speaking to a few anglers on the walkway. They have been there for years. There has been accommodation further down but they won’t use that point because the fishing isn’t good for them there. They say they won’t move from the place they fish in.
Cllr Forde (FG): Very seldom that I disagree with you, Mayor, but have to say that we don’t live in an ideal world. Not all projects are ideal. It’s not long ago that people in Rochestown didn’t even have footpath. They had to walk against a wall and you know what the population of Rochestown is like. Hop Island to Passage West is a wonderful amenity. The Blackrock Greenway is a wonderful amenity. It is not ideal – dogs running loose, cyclists. I travel extensively and when I go abroad I see that shared surfaces are normal. You get used to the bicycle bells. We will lose the money if we don’t pass this proposal. Thinks we should pass and adapt as time goes on, improving on the bits that aren’t entirely satisfactory. Supports.
Cllr Harris (Ind): On balance, thinks we should support it. It has been around a long time. These issues that have been raised can be dealt with in the fullness of time. On the balance of evidence, supports.
Cllr Murphy (SF): I cycle a lot around that area. Is worried because the one from Rochestown isn’t working if you listen to the people around the area.
Cllr McGrath (FF): From the outset has raised serious concerns about the shared use of the footpath. Had hoped that the issues would be addressed through the process but they haven’t. Appreciates that there are physical restrictions. Compliments Clare Cronin on the work she has done. My position has been consistent on shared use. Thinks it should have a 4 metre width similar to the Douglas Amenity Park. We have two existing greenways. Sees issues with them very regularly. People don’t know what side of the path they should be at. There’s no proper Code of Conduct in place. Gets complaints from users. Thinks there is a particular safety issue with the path beside the busy regional road. Especially with families on bicycles which is the type of user we’re promoting. Put forward a number of suggestions that didn’t happen. Isn’t prepared to support it. It is now proposed to suspend the greenway through Monkstown; thinks it should be extended further to accommodate existing walkers. The harbour has to be for all users.
CE: Continous development of the Cork Harbour Greenway is a prioritised project within the Council. There is significant demand from other regions for in-house resources to develop other greenways. There are certain constraints in the area as there would be in developing any other greenway. We’re not talking about a shared footpath; we’re talking about a shared greenway. Can assure members that this particular greenway is designed within the guidelines that are there to provide for safe greenways and situations that are not dangerous to users. Provides for a variety of widths. Is reduced to 3 metres in the section that is causing the challenge. Is still within the guidelines. Members might recall that the Waterford greenway is 3 metres wide, albeit in a different scenario. It is neither lined nor segregated. It is natural that there would be a level of uncertainty among certain users. Went there myself. Spent time, walked it. Saw leisure cyclists using the existing footpath as a shared space on the footpath that is causing the problem. So we are increasing safety for the people currently using it. Members need to consider this. There will be no other proposal coming before Council on this particular section of greenway.
Cllr Linehan Foley (Ind) speaks of how wonderful the Waterford Greenway is and what an asset it is to the region.
Cllr D’Alton (Ind) says the Waterford Greenway is a totally different scenario. There is a far lower level of use there. This proposal is for a commuter route in a suburban area. Many Members voiced their disagreement with this.
Cllr Canty (FG) repeats the proposal. Cllr Forde (FG) says we’ll lose €3.5m of funding.
The proposal is put to a vote. 22 in favour, 20 against, 3 abstain. The proposal is carried.