Dundalk Town Council Engineer Catherine Duff has said every effort has been made to accommodate the concerns of residents and business people regarding the cycle lane system in Dundalk.
“This is a national project,” Ms Duff told Dundalk town councillors when she presented a review of the town’s cycling and walking to schools project.
“What we are doing here is a first and it has shown how difficult it is when you are doing something for the first time.
“We have worked with businesses, residents and schools trying to get that balance right.”
The aim of the project is to reduce the number of car trips to schools by 230 per day. Nine schools are taking part and three have been specifically targeted.
A review of the cycle lanes at the junction between Jocelyn Street and Chapel Street was carried out and talks held with local residents about the controversial changes to the street.
An engineer contacted residents to discuss their concerns.
The problems regarding oil deliveries, refuge collection, and emergency services using the street have also been addressed.
Also access for elderly, access for disabled, and other issues that may affect daily life.
The final stage of the project will be implemented over the coming school year.
This will include cycle training on the new route for school children. This will be done in partnership the Cuchulainn Cycling Club.
When completed the cycle lane project could be used by up to 4,000 local schoolchildren.
Talks have been held with Dundalk Fire and Rescue Service with regard to access to Chapel Street.
Time for deliveries to the Central Bar and Home Bakery have also been arranged and she thanked both businesses for their great co-operation on the issue.
However, Cllr Eamon O’Boyle was not happy about the way the lanes had been laid out.
“The people of the town have been outraged at what has been done,” he said, “especially at the Chapel Street - Jocelyn Street junction.
“No responsible parent would allow their kids to cycle there. It’s a monstrosity with poles in the middle of the road.
“I don’t see the safety element in those,” he said.
But Cllr Martin Bellew said the council got most of it right, although he would also like to see the poles in Chapel Street removed.
Cllr Kevin Meenan said the project brought home the need to consult fully with residents beforehand.