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Failte Ireland report on the Mayo Greenway

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  • the use of hard shoulders puts us way ahead of the British for example whose A roads tend to be way more hostile for cyclists.

    In the 1970s it was reported that using hard shoulders had lead to a 50% reduction in cycling accidents on the treated routes.

    I have no issue with this - I definitely agree that roads with hard shoulders are more cycle friendly than those without - Taking the N25 from Rosslare to Cork as an example, you can cycle the length of that without ever really having cars whizzing past you at arms length and that is due to the hard shoulder.

    But what I don't want to see happen is for the government to paint bike symbols on all the hard shoulders and then try to make out that they've created a world class cycle network. This is the kind of thing that happened so much in Dublin - lip service and a few lines of paint on a road and those in charge can wash their hands of it having discharged their obligation. Leave the hard shoulders as they are, and invest the money in better, proper facilities - towpaths, disused railways etc.

    To be honest, I think that an increase in promotion of Ireland as a cycling destination, coupled with increasing awareness by hotels and B&Bs of cyclists as a target market, would do as much if not more to put Ireland into the minds of tourers.




  • But what I don't want to see happen is for the government to paint bike symbols on all the hard shoulders and then try to make out that they've created a world class cycle network. This is the kind of thing that happened so much in Dublin - lip service and a few lines of paint on a road and those in charge can wash their hands of it having discharged their obligation. Leave the hard shoulders as they are, and invest the money in better, proper facilities - towpaths, disused railways etc.

    Sorry then we were talking across each other. I agree entirely, unfortunately this is exactly what the current Minister wants to do. At the moment he is funding just such a hard shoulder => "cycle lane" conversion on 54km of interurban road between Nenagh and Limerick. This is being done without any apparent consideration of how it is to be maintained or of the other considerations already raised.

    It is considered a bizarre use of public money when you think what else you could do with it. Indeed Cyclist.ie offered repeatedly to draw up an alternative list of projects.




  • clonmahon wrote: »
    No one but yourself made any reference to perfect cycleways on the continent. Are you saying, here is an example of a poor quality French cycleway this is what we should aspire to.

    And no one but yourself called the Achill cycleway 'crap' 'third rate' and 'mediocre', while suggesting that continental cycleways are 'world class' !

    Perhaps you should check up on state of sections of the Danube cycleway (the most popular holiday cycle route in Europe), before denigrating the Irish effort.

    You seem hung up on the word 'world class' !

    Reality check:- We can forget about any 'world class' infrastructure here, until such time as the Rothschild family and Goldman Sachs have painfully extracted their pound of flesh from us.

    :(




  • Reality check:- We can forget about any 'world class' infrastructure here, until such time as the Rothschild family and Goldman Sachs have painfully extracted their pound of flesh from us.

    :(

    I wouldn't argue with that




  • clonmahon wrote: »
    The bar is about to be raised on what constitutes a "world class cycle-way". The swedes are planning a 20 km, 4 lane cycling superhighway linking Lund & Malmö. It will cost 50 million Swedish crowns (US$ 7.1 million) and will include bicycle service stations.

    http://www.treehugger.com/bikes/new-cycling-superhighway-not-us.html

    Will we ever provide anything like this rural dutch cycleway for our kids to cycle to school on

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OrQ-d2PBUto

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9KFx0jVGqI&feature=related

    We are a very, very long way behind in Ireland, and the rest of Ireland is now a long way behind Mayo. But if we want to go world class this is the kind of thing we are going to have to aim for.


    With all due respect your foreign youtube clips show me crappy narrow cycleways with a thin line painted on tarmac, polluted with main road noise.

    Not a patch on the Greenway imho.

    Plus the gates and obstacles on the greenway gave myself and the misses a chance to interact with a lot more people than would otherwise be the case.

    I think the surface on the greenway is more in keeping with its Rural surroundings and I prefer the Rural Blinding to the tarmac sections in Westport town .

    You can see where landowners have gone out of their way to accommadate this route and in some instances cyclist are going through open fields with no sign of the old railway and sheep happily munching way either side of the track . I'll glady shut the gate behind me to experience this.


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  • Stollaire wrote: »
    Would most cycle from Westport to Achill, then stay in Keel that night for example, and cycle back to Westport the next day?

    Sounds like a nice idea for a summer weekend with herself.

    Absolutely a great idea, however the winds nearly always prevail from the west so for a beginner starting at the Achill end might be better. however you can bring the bikes on the train to Westport, or park the car free in the town.

    Nice to have your own bikes rather than rentals.




  • You seem hung up on the word 'world class' !

    Reality check:- We can forget about any 'world class' infrastructure here, until such time as the Rothschild family and Goldman Sachs have painfully extracted their pound of flesh from us.

    :(

    Speaking generally here and not just about the Mayo Greenway...

    There's extra cost in putting in extra barriers, kissing gates, gates, and other things which can detract from a route and that stop a route from being "world class". So, making a route better for cyclists can be cheaper sometimes.




  • Bigus wrote: »
    Plus the gates and obstacles on the greenway gave myself and the misses a chance to interact with a lot more people than would otherwise be the case.

    I think the surface on the greenway is more in keeping with its Rural surroundings and I prefer the Rural Blinding to the tarmac sections in Westport town .

    I guess we differ on this, I prefer my cycleways hard paved and obstacle free.




  • It seems Kerry is getting in on the act too !

    A group was set up to clear and improve the old disused Tralee to Fenit railway line. http://traleetofenitcycleway.wordpress.com/

    They are in a better position than existed in Mayo, in that CIE/Iarnrod Eireann still owns the line and has transferred responsibility to Kerry Co. Council. So at least the 'kissing gates' obstacle problem should be solved on that 12 km length of line.

    They seem to infer that it might be possible to extend the greenway back as far as Adare and possibly even Limerick. That would be a marvelous use of the old disused line, and perhaps the old lines to Dingle, Castlegregory and even Valentia could be considered too.
    http://www.downrail.co.uk/history/photos/Map_Rail_Ireland_Viceregal_Commission_1906.jpg
    (Click image to enlarge when it rezzes)

    BTW Rory O'Donnell, director of Ireland's National Economic and Social Council,(they advise the government on policy) talked to Bloomberg TV on Feb 2nd. He specifically mentioned national cycleways as public works to help alleviate the woeful unemployment problem. He said that there would be a Government announcement on the issue in the next few weeks.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/video/85512086/

    I certainly hope so !

    :)




  • They are in a better position than existed in Mayo, in that CIE/Iarnrod Eireann still owns the line and has transferred responsibility to Kerry Co. Council.

    Does anybody know which of the old lines are still state owned and which have been sold off?


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  • Does anybody know which of the old lines are still state owned and which have been sold off?

    I'd say the Train and Rail sub-forum in Commuting and Transport would be a good place to ask.




  • BTW Rory O'Donnell, director of Ireland's National Economic and Social Council,(they advise the government on policy) talked to Bloomberg TV on Feb 2nd. He specifically mentioned national cycleways as public works to help alleviate the woeful unemployment problem. He said that there would be a Government announcement on the issue in the next few weeks.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/video/85512086/

    I certainly hope so !

    :)

    This is very good news indeed.

    When asked what kind of public works projects, Rory O'Donnell only mentioned cyclepaths. So it seems that the powers that be may have identified cyclepaths as a no brainer. While I may have issues with the kissing gates etc, it is a lot better to convert these old railways lines into GW Greenway style cycle and walking paths and get some value out of them than to leave them lying idle.

    It will also create some more cycleways I can give out about.




  • clonmahon wrote: »

    While I may have issues with the kissing gates etc, it is a lot better to convert these old railways lines into GW Greenway style cycle and walking paths and get some value out of them than to leave them lying idle.

    It will also create some more cycleways I can give out about.

    It seems others have been working on disused railway lines too. I was not aware that a lot of progress has been made on the old Limerick to Tralee railway line. A voluntary group has been clearing it for 20 years making a walking/cycling route. http://www.southerntrail.net/index.htm


    walking_ireland_holiday.gif

    Unfortunately it does not seem too cycle friendly at present :-

    "Route obstructed for cyclists – gates across the trail at many points block or hinder progress of cyclists. It is important to make it clear that anyone cycling the trail should be prepared to open gates and in some cases lift their bicycle across a gate."

    However, on the bright side, the engineering involved in replacing some gates is nothing compared to what the Victorian navies and the voluntary group have done to date.

    The route also contains a spur line with a tunnel, apparently designed to frighten German cycle tourists !



    ;)




  • fotografix wrote: »
    The greenway wasn't designed for racing

    Momentum is a good thing, even for leisure cyclists. It's much easier to enjoy the scenery when you don't have to constantly stop, dismount, negotiate a gate and then get going again. Being able to plod along at a nice, constant pace is much more relaxing.
    The other thing i would like to point out is that over 4 million of the people that used it

    You don't really need to point that out, the OP did it right there in the first post.

    Why do people get so defensive? The OP said we did something that was popular, now how can we do it in other places and learn from our experiences? Jesus.




  • fotografix wrote: »
    The greenway wasn't designed for racing, the greenway is what it is and boasts some of the most amazing scenery ireland has to offer. It is meant as a leisurely cycle or walking track. The other thing i would like to point out is that over 4 million of the people that used it (according to the survey) were irish or people living in ireland. It seems to me that if they do what you want and build a load of cycling tracks around ireland, the numbers would not be consistant enough to maintain them. As yop said, you are the only person I also have heard running down this greenway. I have cycled it and i will continue to...

    No with regret you have missed the point. It was designed for, and achieved, the efficient and smooth movement of railway locomotives and their rolling stock. Therefore, given that this is the object of the original design, it should have the potential to be convertable to something that provides a similar experience for other vehicle types.




  • The Greenway is the recipient of the 2011 European Destination of Excellence Award - thats World Class enough for me!




  • The Greenway is the recipient of the 2011 European Destination of Excellence Award - thats World Class enough for me!

    I don't think I've posted one of these in years, but...

    500full.jpg




  • The Greenway is the recipient of the 2011 European Destination of Excellence Award - thats World Class enough for me!

    Nice play on words there. The _actual_ award it won was: European Destinations of Excellence in Tourism and Regeneration of Physical Sites. (link)

    Edit: not that it matters really, the OP only said we could do better but the defend at all costs folks acted according to character.




  • The Greenway is the recipient of the 2011 European Destination of Excellence Award - thats World Class enough for me!

    The project is based on national competitions that take place every year and result in the selection of a tourist “destination of excellence” for each participating country.

    So it's won a prize as the best Irish example in 2011 of a European Destination of Excellence in Tourism and Regeneration of Physical Sites. A deserved prize - it's clearly the best example of regeneration based tourism in Ireland but it's not "World Class enough for me".
    I can't understand why people have a problem with anyone who welcomes the greenway, shouts it to the rooftops that we should have loads more facilities like this, and at the same time suggests that some of the features could have been improved.

    For the record, I actually think the Greenway is one of the better examples of those given awards for last year, and I hope that the area can really grow a better tourist industry around it.




  • markpb wrote: »
    Momentum is a good thing, even for leisure cyclists. It's much easier to enjoy the scenery when you don't have to constantly stop, dismount, negotiate a gate and then get going again. Being able to plod along at a nice, constant pace is much more relaxing.



    You don't really need to point that out, the OP did it right there in the first post.

    Why do people get so defensive? The OP said we did something that was popular, now how can we do it in other places and learn from our experiences? Jesus.

    Did you miss the part where the OP called it a "crap cycleway"? might just have had something to do with the reaction.


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  • Did you miss the part where the OP called it a "crap cycleway"? might just have had something to do with the reaction.

    Jeez, there's 8 pages of this and the OP clarified his statement and retracted the "crap" comment on the first page...
    clonmahon wrote: »
    I agree totally, fantastic work by the community sector and Mayo Co Council who have taken the chance, used what was available and proved the concept. It's a great start, given the constraints of resources and the adverse possession issue. We need to create cycleways that are like roads, not dependent on the goodwill of landowners and not covered in gates and grids.

    I probably overstated the case in using the word crap to describe it.




  • There are 3 small gates between Westport and Achill that are always closed and need to be opened by the user. Thats all.... a small inconvenience for a cyclist over 26 miles.

    There are about 150 land boundaries, 40 of which have grids. That was the solution to an ownership / stock issue. And then there are a number of staggered gates (especially on the Westport/Newport section) to slow people on the greenway as they approach road crossings. All ages of people are using the Greenway especially young kids.

    There are about 160 landowners involved, they had purchased their plots from CIE back in the 1940's. These people have rights and they have been very generous to let people through...where else has this happened. A few grids and three gates, what of it!

    And its a work in progress, with improvement works at the moment - better links to Newport and Westport and also an extension to Castlebar and Croagh Patrick planned for later this year. In Westport town the Greenway links to all adjacent residential areas and gives great connection with the schools - thats WORLD CLASS!

    I dont think the WORLD CLASS just refers to the Greenway itself, rather the whole experience - the scenery, adjoining special areas of conservation, holiday accommodation and the beautiful (IRISH) towns and villages along the way. With different weather and company etc some will enjoy it more than others.

    Why should they be shy in promoting a great experience (rain, grids and humps? included)




  • @Greenway fan, you seem to have opened a boards account just to argue in this thread, where the opinion isn't really that polarised. Capitalising the term WORLD CLASS doesn't make it any more true than say capitalising a term such as POOR DESIGN DECISION or DANGERSOUSLY NARROW GRIDS. Both are just opinions. Only sayin'...




  • I hadn't even heard of this until I read this thread but I intend to check it out at some point over the summer.




  • piston wrote: »
    I hadn't even heard of this until I read this thread but I intend to check it out at some point over the summer.


    Bring the Missus !




  • Anybody have any pics of the gates'n'grates?

    I'll be heading down some weekend soon. Planning to go Westport to Achill and back in a day, just want to get an idea if it's practical.




  • hardCopy wrote: »
    Anybody have any pics of the gates'n'grates?

    I'll be heading down some weekend soon. Planning to go Westport to Achill and back in a day, just want to get an idea if it's practical.

    i have cycled this route and its absolutely brilliant
    the gates and grates are only a very minor inconvenience and i cant say i even noticed them as a problem until others mentioned it on this thread
    i cycled a mountain bike though(if that makes a difference)
    just a note
    the cycleway ends at achill sound
    there is a further distance onto keel beach(20kms)
    the greenway itself is about 42km each way so allow plenty of time to enjoy it(not just cycle it)




  • meercat wrote: »
    i have cycled this route and its absolutely brilliant
    the gates and grates are only a very minor inconvenience and i cant say i even noticed them as a problem until others mentioned it on this thread
    i cycled a mountain bike though(if that makes a difference)
    just a note
    the cycleway ends at achill sound
    there is a further distance onto keel beach(20kms)
    the greenway itself is about 42km each way so allow plenty of time to enjoy it(not just cycle it)

    We'll be on road bikes but from a pic I've seen of the surface it looks like we should be OK, albeit slightly slower than normal.

    Will probably just have lunch in Achill Sound before heading back, 100k+ would be a bit much for one day.




  • hardCopy wrote: »
    We'll be on road bikes but from a pic I've seen of the surface it looks like we should be OK, albeit slightly slower than normal.

    Will probably just have lunch in Achill Sound before heading back, 100k+ would be a bit much for one day.

    more suitable for a mtb or a hybrid imho but others have said they have done it on a roadbike

    perhaps hire one
    they dont appear too expensive
    http://www.clewbayoutdoors.ie/content/bicycle_rental/

    dont forget your camera(stupid me)
    hope the weather stays fine as it was fairly blowing when i done it(just added to the enjoyment anyway)
    let us know how you get on


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  • As a railway, I would assume it is pretty level?

    I'm just trying to decide if I need my geared bike or not.


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