Information on the cost of providing cycle tracks in Shannon is not available, according to Clare County Council.
At the October meeting of the council, Councillor Cathy McCafferty put forward a motion with a number of queries about local cycle tracks, including one about the total costs of cycle track provision in the Shannon Town Council area.
In his written reply, senior executive engineer Eugene O’Shea stated, “Various sources of funding have been utilised over the past decade for the provision of cycle lanes including planning contributions from private developments, own resources for the construction of the Shannon Southern Primary route and associated cycle lanes, some were funded by Fáilte Ireland (Shannon Airport to Ennis) and Smarter Travel funding. It is not possible at this time to quantify the overall costing.”
Councillor McCafferty was disappointed with the response and said she had wanted to find out how much went into it. “It’s still taxpayers’ money that paid for it and I’d like to know what value was got,” she commented. The Independent councillor said a cycle track close to Aidan Park is blocking access to Smithstown, although she has almost never seen any cyclists on it.
Councillor Gerry Flynn also said there was little use of most of the cycle tracks in the centre of Shannon, “unless they’re using them at night when I’m in bed”.
Fine Gael’s Sean McLoughlin said he completely disagreed with having the cycle tracks right beside footpaths, while Councillor Vincent Coleman said the cycle lanes should be better connected.
Councillor Patricia McCarthy said, in fact, the tracks are being used and a number of families are on them together at the weekends.
Labour councillor Tony McMahon said he had received a lot of representations about providing cycle lanes but he has “reservations” about cycle lanes and footpaths being located adjacent to each other.
He said this would be fine if both cyclists and pedestrians “do everything according to the book” but that this isn’t always the case.
An overall review would be welcome to see if any improvements could be made, he added.
Town manager Bernadette Kinsella said over the past decade around 8km of cycleways have been installed in Shannon, around 5km on road and 3km off it. She said a cycle strategy adopted nine years ago had kickstarted the provision of cycleways.
Acknowledging that there is a need for better links between cycleways, she said addressing this is an objective of the development plan. Regarding the lack of information on the costs, she said, “I think we would all accept that the resources are not available to go back over 10 years of accounts.”
Summing up, Councillor McCafferty said she had “never heard of anything being done without some sort of a price” and she reiterated her disappointment with the report.