End of the line - the footpath and cycle lane from Southgate comes to an abrupt halt at the railway bridge at Colpe leaving cyclists and pedestrians to their own devices on the busy narrow road.
I’ve taken to cycling the highways and by-ways of Drogheda and East Meath of late in an attempt to get a bit fit, even without a fit bit.
I’m not losing any weight but I am getting a pain in my bum and it’s not so much due to the terrible road surfaces but the lack of cycle paths.
I occasionally cycle from Drogheda to Bettystown and I like to leave Drogheda via the Marsh Road and cycle through Mornington and enter Bettystown by way of the Golf Links Road.
On my way home I go through Donacarney, Colpe and out on to the Dublin Road into Drogheda because it’s mostly downhill from Southgate into town.
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In all of that route, which I reckon is about 12 or 13 miles, there are only a few hundred yards of cycle lane and they’re in short stretches that badly need to be joined up.
That makes me very cross, not just because I’m terrified of being hit by cars, which I am, but because of the idiotic lack of planning that it betrays.
What is it with Meath County Council and foot paths/cycle lanes? They seem to think they are optional extras when a housing development is built and East Meath is one big building site at the moment.
So, the housing estates are built and young couples move in and of course, as soon as they are settled, they start making babies.
A few years later the babies are grown and need to go to school but it’s too dangerous for them to walk or cycle there because there’s no footpath or cycle lane.
I find it staggering that there’s nowhere that pedestrians and cyclists (of any age) can walk or cycle and feel safe from motorised traffic. It’s not as if the motor car is a new invention.
Surely pedestrians and cyclists have a right to travel where they want to go in safety, we shouldn’t be confined to the Boyne Trail, nice and all as it is.
To be fair it’s not just Meath County Council, if anything their counterparts in Louth are worse. The rest of Europe has long since grasped the message that people should come before cars but it’s not working in this area.
The residents of South Drogheda, Grangerath, Deepforde and Donacarney in Grangerath currently have no safe route to the seaside at Bettystown or the schools along Mill Road, except by car.
Yes there are short stretches of cycle path and foot path here and there and yes, the council is going to build a footpath from the new school at Donacarney to Eastham Road, but it’s all very piecemeal, but why aren’t they built at the same time as the houses and the schools?
Perhaps now that the Greens have several sets of feet under the cabinet table the new government will have some basic common sense knocked into them and they’ll fund local authorities properly so they can afford such things as cycle lanes and footpaths.
It’s not a lot to ask but we shall have to wait and see.
This article was written by Andy Spearman
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