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Pedestrian and Cycle Route To School Campus Progresses

Writes Ciaran Dineen

At May’s meeting of the Carrigaline Municipal District (MD), local councillors were updated with new design plans for the proposed Active Travel link that will connect Cork Road with the 3 -School Campus located at Ballinrea, Carrigaline.

The planning proposal has recently been subject to Part 8 planning, where members of the public are invited to comment on the development prior to the final design approach. Executive Engineer at Cork County Council, Michal Dymet, has indicated that the proposed pedestrian and cyclist friendly route will significantly reduce travel time for students walking and cycling to school, particularly for those living in both Heron’s Wood and Janeville.

The link will effectively cut through and area of space that currently separates the bottom of the Carrigcourt estate with Carrig na Curra. However, as this involves the acquisition of private land, the council need to use a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) before development can occur.

Part 8 planning commenced in late February, with four submissions arriving from members of the public, including the Cork Education Training Board and Carrig na Curra Resident’s Association. The main concerns raised revolved around the fear that Carrig na Curra would be used to access the walkway, and that parents will potentially drop their children at the entrance to the walkway, pulling into the side of the road and subsequently holding up commuters exiting Carrigaline.

Mr Dymet responded to these concerns, noting the decision by An Bórd Pleanála in their granting of permission to the school campus, included a condition regarding the comprehensive boundary treatment that would separate Carrig na Curra from the schools and thus not allow for students to transition between one and the other. He also added that the gate opening the walking will only be opened during school hours.

In relation to traffic congestion and the ‘drop-off’ scenario, the Executive Engineer stated that no set-down areas were going to be provided outside the entrance, but that an additional pedestrian crossing will be provided and will be synchronized with the other sets of lights located outside Heron’s Wood and the junction at Janeville/Carrig na Curra. This is he said will increase traffic calming and safety for the students.

Senior Engineer, John Slattery, said the proposal was part of a suite of measures the Council are adopting to promote the use of active travel modes, stating the scheme will have “huge benefit in the long-term because the people that we want to encourage to use bikes and to walk are children and the habits they develop now are habits they bring with them into their adulthood.”

Councillors welcomed the latest report, with Cllr Seámus McGrath (FF) reemphasizing the need to ensure a strong boundary between Carrig na Curra with the walkway, to reduce the fear of residents that parents will abuse the estate and use it as a drop-off and collection point.

Mr Slattery responded by saying that those residents acutely affected are being engaged with directly by the Roads Office, he also indicated that the new pedestrian crossing will be the “dominant” crossing during school hours. This will mean that students shall be encouraged to use this set of lights going to and from school. Outside of school hours, this set of lights will be less responsive.

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