An Active Travel scheme for the Tulla Road in Ennis has received the backing of the Elected Members of Ennis Municipal District (MD) and will now proceed to detailed design, procurement, and construction stage.
The scheme proposes to upgrade the existing cycling infrastructure along a 2km section of the R352 regional road between St. Senan’s Road and Hillcrest junction through the provision of traffic calming measures, including vertically segregated cycle tracks, shared surfaces, and raised cyclist and pedestrian crossings.
The €1.8m funding secured for the scheme forms part of an Active Travel allocation of €4.5 million received by Clare County Council from the National Transport Authority (NTA) in February 2023. The funding will allow for the progression of new and improved walking and cycling infrastructure across County Clare.
Cllr Pat Daly, Mayor of Ennis, said: “The Tulla Road area of Ennis has experienced a significant population rise during the past 10 to 15 years which has consequently resulted in increased traffic congestion, particularly during peak periods. Developing and further improving the cycle network and introducing other traffic calming measures is key to ensuring improved road safety and to encouraging people to consider cycling to work or school. I congratulate the Active Travel Team’s work in delivering such necessary infrastructure.”
Siobhan McNulty, Director of Physical Development, Clare County Council, added: “One of the key aims of the NTA’s Active Travel Programme is to enhance the walking and cycling infrastructure so that walking, cycling and public transport will account for 50% of all journeys made by 2030.”
She continued: “Working closely with the NTA, Clare County Council is committed to the ‘Active Travel’ ethos and to encouraging commuters and residents of Ennis and County Clare to consider alternative methods of transport through the installation of top-class facilities. The introduction of segregated cycle lanes, widened footpaths, and new and upgraded pedestrian crossings on the Tulla Road in Ennis is the latest in a series of Active Travel schemes being undertaken by Clare County Council to achieve this objective.”
Carmel Kirby, Director of Economic Development, Clare County Council, stated: “The purpose of this scheme is to improve safety and continuity for cyclists and the response from the public throughout the public consultation process has been very positive. Getting more people to consider walking or cycling instead of the car is a key pillar of the Active Travel Programme.”
Ms. Kirby noted that the Local Authority also is making significant progress in relation to the delivery of a public bus service for the town.
She explained: “The NTA and Clare County Council have recently finalised the preferred routes for the Ennis Town Bus Service, which will traverse Ennis from the Lahinch Road to the Tulla Road and from Clarecastle to Ballymaley via a town centre terminus at Friar’s Walk, with scope for the development of an additional route from Doora Industrial Estate to and from the town centre. The Ennis Town Bus Service is scheduled for commencement during the first quarter of 2025.
Ms. Kirby noted that following on from the successful delivery of significant public realm enhancements at Parnell Street, and town laneways, and bow-ways in 2020 and 2021, Clare County Council received approval in July from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to proceed with a further €11.5m public realm regeneration of Ennis town centre which will result in significant enhancements being made to the streetscape of O’Connell Square, O’Connell Street, High Street, Bank Place, Old Barrack Street and Barrack Square.
She continued: “All these measures, together with planned projects by Clare County Council, Clare County Council’s Ennis 2040 Strategic Designated Activity Company, and Ennis MD, will help to realise the vision for Ennis to 2040 through transforming Ennis into a climate adaptive, pedestrian friendly, 10-minute town through modal shift leading to compact growth, enhanced with a wetlands amenity, creating an overall world class experience where people are attracted to live, work and visit.”
Commenting on the extensive public consultation process undertaken as part of the Tulla Road scheme, Anne O’Sullivan, Acting Senior Engineer, Clare County Council, said: “There was considerable engagement with local residents, businesses, and those who frequently use this section of road. In the interest of engaging with members of the public from the outset, a two-week non-statutory public consultation was advertised extensively and included two open evenings to seek input from, and discuss any concerns with, residents and businesses in the area and the wider public.”
Ms. O’Sullivan added: “Among the additional measures sought by members of the public that have now been incorporated into the design is the implementation of safety improvements at Ballymacahill Cross, including traffic calming measures on the four approaches to the existing pedestrian crossing. Other alterations include the provision of a pedestrian crossing east of the Hillcrest estate, and the widening of existing footpaths at pinch points.”
Ms. O’Sullivan confirmed that the Active Travel team will shortly formally request permission from the NTA to proceed through Gateway 4 and commence Phase 5 Detailed Design and Procurement.
For more information visit the Roads & Transport section of the Clare County Council website at www.clarecoco.ie.