On behalf of the Municipal District all Councillors made the following submission to the first phase of the consultation on expansion of the Dart service to Maynooth.
Submission to Dart + Maynooth Consultation
From Celbridge-Leixlip Municipal District, Co. Kildare
Date: 20th October 2020
We welcome the opportunity to participate in your consultation on the Dart + West public consultation. While the project is highly welcome we are concerned with the impact of the closure of the Blakestown Crossing on pedestrian and cyclist access.
It is a specific objective of the Leixlip Local Area Plan that the road network be maintained and not closed to allow for a high standard of connectivity:
Policy MT3 It is the policy of the Council to maintain, improve and extend the local road network in and around Leixlip to ensure a high standard of connectivity and safety for all road users.
While the need for such access may not be apparent in your analysis and cost-benefit assessment, we see that it will have an immediate disproportionate impact on residents for whom the R449 is not a suitable alternative in terms of safety, pollution and accessibility. The road is noisy and polluted, heavily used by HGVs and speeding is a problem. These create dangerous conditions for vulnerable road users, especially when trying to cross. There is the added exposure of young children to exhaust fumes on such a busy road.
We would also like to draw your attention to the future developments of the area for which that access point is particularly important. These developments include the Royal Canal Greenway and potential development at Collinstown for which a Masterplan will be prepared. The vision for Collinstown set out in the Leixlip Local Area Plan for the area is:
To guide the development of a high-quality, attractive and sustainable business campus environment that is characterised by comprehensive pedestrian/cycle friendly infrastructure, which also facilitates the efficient functioning of business and enterprise activities within this zone. The implementation of best practice urban design principles within the Campus will assist in the long term economic viability and vibrancy of the area
With regard to the Royal Canal Greenway, a stated objective of Government is to enhance Greenways. In the coming months the Royal Canal Greenway will be completed between Leixlip and Maynooth. The Blakestown Cross is currently the key access point for the area and we need to ensure access is not cut off at this location. With pending future developments of both a residential and industrial nature in this area restricting local access would be a retrograde step.
It should be noted that an objective in the Leixlip LAP is:
EDT 3.3 To support the future development of the Royal Canal Greenway as part of the Euro Velo Route 2 Pan-European walking and cycling route.
In general, all level crossings should improve modes of transports and not reduce them. In your proposals there are a number of level crossings impacted and some of these reduce access to Leixlip.
We would also like to highlight the importance of the need for level crossing amendments to not impact residential access. Given the huge impact on residents as a result of the electrification of the line respectful and responsive consultation is an absolute necessity. Residents should be consulted when night time works are to commence. The planned removal of hedgerows is a key point of concern for residents in terms of security, safety, noise barriers and a corridor for wildlife. Residents must be closely consulted as part of a meaningful and responsive consultation on these issues during planning and construction phases.
On behalf of the Celbridge-Leixlip Municipal District we call for you to consider all of the above points. We would like to emphasise that any proposal to close the Blakestown crossing should include a cyclist and pedestrian bridge to provide continued access. It is not in our view acceptable to completely close off this access point at a time when our national climate and planning goals are in supporting in every way possible an essential shift in transport to walking and cycling.
In terms of further implications for Kildare of the Dart + Maynooth expansion we would like to add our voice to the call that the line is expanded to Kilcock.
Thank you. We look forward to your positive consideration of this request.
Celbridge-Leixlip Municipal District Councillors