‘Small win’ for cyclists over Howth cycleway

Local authority votes against removing bollards, despite church and school requests

Cyclists in north Dublin have secured a "small win" after local authority members voted against removing controversial bollards recently installed on a segregated cycle lane in Howth.

A number of locals objected to the installation of the bollards which were put in place last month. They prohibit cars parking on the white-lined cycle lane.

With increasing calls for improved cycling infrastructure around the country, Fingal County Council members recently voted by a majority against a motion to remove the bollards, following requests from the Howth Presbyterian Church and a Montessori school. Both the church and the school had sought a 150m stretch of road without bollards to allow road parking.

Describing the result as a “little win”, one cyclist said: “I have a wife, I have young kids and I feel much better that they can cycle on that road more safely and without having to jump onto the footpath because of cars.

“Absolutely, more people will use it now,” the cyclist, who declined to be named, said.

“There’s no continual cycle paths anywhere in Dublin to get you anywhere; it’s like having a road system that has big gaps in it.”

The motion to remove the bollards was proposed by Fine Gael's Cllr Aoibhinn Tormey, who said she was not against the cycle lane, but was "really concerned about the impact on the Presbyterian church".

Previously, the Presbyterian church elders had said installing bollards would prevent elderly churchgoers attending services, as the narrow car park on the church grounds that fits about eight cars was too small for the numbers parking.

Speed limit

Karen McBride, owner of Cottage Montessori school at the rear of the church on the Howth Road, said she was “concerned” about the lack of drop-off points for children attending her school. The school is now “adapting” with staggered pick-up and drop-off times in the church car park, and has asked the council to reduce the speed limit and place additional pedestrian signage.

“I get children with special education needs and I have to think of those cohorts of children who are coming here. Children with severe autism find it very difficult to walk along a busy road,” she said.

In response to concerns that there is no nearby pedestrian crossing on this stretch of the Howth Road, Fingal County Council official Andrew Nolan said a pedestrian crossing would be installed outside the Burrow National School, almost 1km away from the church, which "may alleviate some of the crossing issues". He added that the council would look at finding a "suitable location" for an additional pedestrian crossing closer to the church.

Fingal Cycling Campaign said it was “very satisfied” with the installation of the bollards.

Andrew Cowan, chairman of the group, said "there has been a noticeable difference in the profile of people cycling on the road since the bollards have been installed with more children using it to cycle to the schools in the area".

The group acknowledged the church was now “fully utilising its car park and we have had no reports of their members parking out on the path or in the cycleway. We appreciate the effort they have made in this regard and for embracing the work the Active Travel team in Fingal County Council have made.”