Skerries councillors, Tom O’Leary, Seána Ó Rodaigh and Karen Power recently returned from a fact finding visit to Utrecht with representatives from Fingal County Council.
The two-day trip took in presentations and demonstrations in Utrecht, Houten and Eindhoven during which the group gained a deeper understanding of Dutch urban planning and transport infrastructure.
The visit was to address the planning, engineering, parking, promotion and policy aspects of cycling provision, at both regional and municipal levels, showing implementation of bicycle-oriented policy in a range of areas from medieval town centres, modern industrial and residential areas and in a late 20th / early 21st century bicycle-oriented suburb.
While the three councillors come from different political backgrounds the trip has given them a shared focus and a common interest in adapting some of the Dutch methods and approaches to towns and villages in Fingal.
The trio are now planning to bring forward a motion on this basis.
Speaking about the trip, Mayor Seána Ó Rodaigh said: “I couldn’t believe how easy it was to go from A-B by bike. When I think about the traffic congestion in our towns and villages in Fingal, it really made me realise that there is much more convenient alternative. The journey time is almost always predictable and that is door to door.”
“Having seen what is possible, the Councillors believe that we have a very real opportunity to fundamentally change how we travel, especially for shorter trips.”
Cllr Tom O’Leary, said: “This will take more than infrastructure alone, it will take education and information to bring about a change in mindset with regards to how we choose to travel.”
“As someone who can count on one hand the amount of times I have been on a bike over the last 40 years ,
“I was very impressed with how easily we were able to cycle between all of our meetings and demonstration projects so I know that is works when done right.
“We clocked up 82KM on the bicycles in the Netherlands travelling at ease day and night.”
Speaking about the experience Cllr Karen Power said: “Over the last 18 months, more and more people have been venturing out and engaging in active travel, reconnecting with the wonderful amenities in our local areas across Fingal and this has further emphasised and identified why and where improvements to walking and cycling infrastructure are needed.
“Getting to experience and study Dutch road and street design practice is central to the changes we are making for active travel in Fingal and we are looking forward to working with all the team in Fingal to creating a solid active travel network will mean that Fingal will be a much safer place for everyone to walk and cycle to school.”