Pedestrian and Cycle Path To Better Connect Grange Area to City Writes Leo McMahon
Commuting to and from the city for Frankfield and Grange pedestrians and cyclists is difficult and hazardous, particularly since the building of the N40 South Link, but Cork County Council has announced an exciting flagship project to overcome this and at the same time create a new amenity. The Grange Road-Tramore Valley Park Pedestrian and Cycle Link, including a bridge over the N40, was outlined to members of Carrigaline-Ballincollig Municipal District at their recent meeting by senior engineer in the Traffic and Transportation section, Peter O’Donoghue. An existing trail exists in woodland west of Amberley Heights as far as Alden Grove. It’s intended to extend this with a four metres wide path running for almost one kilometer to connect with the Grange Road near Frankfield Church, which will then follow the valley past Vernon Mount and cross by means of an bridge over the N40 to existing and future paths at Tramore Valley Park leading to the city. ‘The proposed path would provide a much needed safe and direct off-road route for commuter, school and leisure trips from Grange Road and Donnybrook to Douglas, Turner’s Cross and the city and it will have public lighting’, said Mr O’Donoghue, who circulated maps from the preliminary design.
Cycle steps The main path includes seven ‘cycle steps’ which are necessary at the steep gradient to the north but there is a longer meandering path at the upper end as well, which can be used by people with wheelchairs and buggies etc. Most important of all, the link would provide much improved and safer off-road connectivity for cyclists and pedestrians, improved quality of life and help reduce road traffic volumes where there is already congestion. Mr O’Donoghue said the emphasis was on transportation, namely an improved linkage for walking and cycling commuters but it would no doubt become a popular recreational path. The council purchased the ‘Donkey Field’ at Grange and already had the land for direct linkage. It was estimated to cost around €3 million but there was a strong case he believed, for national funding due to its many benefits. Cllrs Eoghan Jeffers (SF), Mary Rose Desmond (FF), Seamus McGrath (FF), Marcia D’Alton (Ind), Joe Harris (SD) and chairperson Derry Canty (FG) welcomed the proposal, saying it would be of great benefit for people from the Grange area wishing to walk and cycle in safety. In reply to questions, Mr O’Donoghue said shared use by large numbers should serve to deter speeding cyclists. The path would be open 24 hours, (except for Tramore Valley Park and the bridge). As for fears of anti-social behaviour, the situation would be monitored. Steps at steep points necessitating cyclists to get off and use a wheel channel at the side were common in paths in other countries. The bridge would be high sided but not tunneled as it was felt this would be visually unattractive. On a proposal by Cllr Jeffers, seconded by Cllr D’Alton, the MD unanimously gave the go ahead to proceed with the ‘Part 8’ planning application which enables submissions from the public. In reply to Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF) who referred to its unkempt condition, senior executive engineer Madeleine Healy said the former railway path between Lehenaghbeg and Lehenaghmore was council owned and she would assess and see what small term works could be done by what was now a diminished Gateway crew.