By way of introduction, my name is Phil Skelton and I am chairperson of a local cycling advocacy group in Co. Wexford.
Wexford Bicycle User Group (WexBUG) was founded in 2019, and we currently consist of around 200 members. Our main aim is to seek better cycling infrastructure and safety for people of all ages and abilities.
We are a member group of cyclist.ie, the Irish cycling advocacy network.
Our group’s website is www.wexbug.org should you wish to see more..
WexBUG broadly welcomes this scheme and we are delighted that this scheme is being revisited and completed.
We wish to make the following observations and comments on the scheme as part of Wexford Co. Co.’s submissions process:
Wexford Bicycle User Group (WexBUG) is particularly happy that the council has taken on board our recommendation that ‘dishing’ of the cycle lane should not occur in this instance.
Instead ‘cycleways and footpaths will remain at a uniform level and vehicular access required across the paths will be facilitated by the use of bevelled kerbs/ramps as per advice from the National Cycle Manual’.
Generally speaking, we sincerely hope this will also be taken on board for all future cycle schemes.
2. Safe access for crossing to Coill Aoibhinn estate & Coolcotts Lane.
It is notable that all existing right turning lanes will be maintained as part of this scheme, yet despite this being headed as a cycle scheme, there are no similar facilities provided for safe crossing for people on bicycles.
Making a right turn from a mandatory cycle track can be particularly problematic for some cyclists; This involves merging from the cycle track on to the main carriageway, then merging again to the right turning lane and in turn crossing the opposite side of the carriageway.
WexBUG contends that a Toucan crossing be considered for cyclists and pedestrians travelling westbound at or near the entrance of Coill Aoibhinn.
This is especially important for children living there and might be cycling home from one of the Wexford Town schools.
A crossing here will make this a much safer interaction and a much more attractive option as a result.
Similar considerations should be given to those travelling eastbound needing to make a right turn in to Coolcotts Lane.
3. Uncontrolled Pedestrian Crossings.
The Newtown Rd. cycle scheme has 3 proposed uncontrolled crossings.
This scheme is on an urban road with a speed limit of 60km/hr.
Driver behaviour, particularly that around speeding, are important considerations when proposing uncontrolled pedestrian crossings we believe.
A recent report from the RSA found that 78% of drivers are speeding in 50km zones. Whilst we acknowledge this road is set at a speed zone of 60km/hr, it would be naive to think that a similar level of speeding doesn’t apply here. (The same RSA report stated that even in 50km/hr zones, that 32% of drivers were travelling at speeds greater than 60km/h and less than or equal to 70km/h)
Vulnerable road users having to use uncontrolled crossings at such unpredictable speeds has the potential to cause particular difficulties for the aged and the young alike.
WexBUG would strongly suggest that zebra crossings or at least, raised courtesy crossings be used on this scheme rather than uncontrolled pedestrian crossings.
4. Side entrances.
The side entrances from Coill Aoibhinn and to a lesser extent, from Coolcotts lane, the Road opposite Crosbie’s, The Maldron entrance etc. should have continuous crossings for walkers.
This could be a raised courtesy crossing or zebra crossing in order the make it clear to drivers to slow down and not queue or stack across the cycle tracks as we have seen in Drinagh.
Visual cues help with this.
5. Tactile paving and Bus Stops.
WexBUG particularly welcomes the placement of the cycle lane behind the bus stops.
We are happy that the tactile paving on the cycle track, which was placed close to a bend in the first drawing seems to have now been removed and we are happy that our advice to alter this to a more safe design has been included in the updated drawings.
The original one we feel presented a skid hazard.
The image below is similar to what we hope the final outcome will be.
(Image below is of cycle infrastructure/public relam upgrades on Lower Kilmacud Road, near Stillorgan, Co. Dublin)
6. Large Bicycle Markings.
The downhill westbound section from the AppleGreen garage to the New Ross Roundabout is not likely to get used by sports and leisure cyclists.
They (as is their right) will likely chose to exit the cycle track as their freewheeling bicycle gathers speed.
Otherwise, I think they will exit at a point before this scheme.
Cyclists regularly experience harassment when cycling on main carriageways where cycling infrastructure exists.
As a mitigation measure, WexBUG suggests that large bicycle road markings be placed periodically on the downhill section of the main carriageway in order to alleviate the potential conflict of that interaction.
(Picture below is from Carlow town – these symbols have no legal status but they can send a clear signal to drivers that people on bikes should be expected and respected in this space)
Where this scheme ends at the New Ross Roundabout, is a likely joining up point for the National Cycle Network and it would be our belief that some further thought (other than just an abruptly ending shared track) should be given to here.
Beyond the bus stop, this scheme reverts to a shared use path when there seems to be adequate room to keep them segregated.
If this road is a future link to the National Cycle Network, then we think that the continuous segregation of footpath and cycle tracks will slot in more easily and provide for a greater degree of future proofing.
Similarly, at the opposite side at the weighbridge, the cycle track and the footpath merges to a shared use area.
Some further thought should also be given to keeping these segregated for the same reason but also the 3 Rocks Trail goes through here and would benefit from having its own separate track. (We also note that further thought, probably beyond the remit of this scheme, needs to be given to the 3 Rocks Trail at the Barntown side of the New Ross Roundabout where the walking trail goes along an area marked ‘cycle track’)
7(a) Link from N11 and to N25.
As a short term measure, hard shoulders can provide a relatively safe cycling space and according to the rules of the road, is a space already in the main, dedicated to that purpose.
WexBUG has previously recommended the widening of the N11 hard shoulder on the approach to the New Ross Roundabout to the council when works were being carried out there recently.
However this opportunity with TII wasn’t taken up at the time, thus missing an open goal opportunity for a simple connection.
WexBUG understands the body of work required to add dedicated high quality cycling infrastructure to join the Barntown cycle track but accessing the Newtown Rd cycle scheme from the N11 or bypassing the roundabout from Newtown Rd to the N25 hard shoulder should be easy short term engineering solutions.
We feel that these might be opportunities lost in this project.
WexBUG wishes to thank Wexford Co. Co. for the opportunity to submit these comments and hope that where possible these can be considered.
Chair Wexford Bicycle User Group (WexBUG).