The Stapleton Place cycle lanes saga is almost over.
The cycle kerbs have been changed, the trees planted and the kerbs reconstructed. And it seems as if it has all been worthed in the end.
It certainly caused a lot of fuss. Fine Gael town councilor Maria Doyle has said that councillors who are elected in next month’s elections will need to pay more heed as to how money is being spent by council officials and see if the planning process is being duly followed.
She believes that councillors need to concentrate on the bigger issues and not just the smaller things they want to get done in their own electorial area.
She also said that what happened at Stapleton Place is a perfect example of how money can be thrown down the drain.
The Stapleton Place cycle lanes have caused a great deal of controversy since they were hurriedly constructed in 2012.
Residents claimed that they had not been adequately informed by the council about the planned changes.
The answer they got was that consultation was not necessary as the work was part of the town’s development plan.
Fianna Fail councillor Sean Bellew said at the time that “a fine great Victorian avenue has been butchered”.
Others councillors said the whole thing was “a great cock-up” and “an awful shame”.
“It should never have happened without proper consultation with the residents”. It is appalling how it came about,” they said.
Cllr Maria Doyle response was: “let’s call a spade a spade. It is a bad job. Why not undo it?”
So the whole job had to be pulled apart and reconstructed after consultations with the local residents.
But it now looks really well.
The roots of the original trees, which had been there for more than a hundred years, were causing problems. They hadn’t been maintained and the roots were breaking up the footpaths.
The residents were consulted by the town engineers about what new trees would be selected and it seems to have all worked out very well.
The road area has been widened and the width of the cycle lanes reduced and this has made a huge difference and is in line with what they residents had been looking for.
“The kerbs were also causing difficulties for elderly people and people with buggies, so this will be a big improvement for all concerned as the footpath and cycleway will be on the same grade and level,” Fine Gael Cllr Doyle said.
At the time of the original construction, Cllr Doyle had spoken to the residents, the gardai, and Grammar School staff, and they all criticised the work.
The main problem she said, was that there had been no consultation.
But although everything looks good now, the problem remains about the cycle lanes: how are they going to work?
If Hill Street Bridge remains in place - and there is no money available to remove it - then the cycle lane at Stapleton Place cannot link up with the lane on the Avenue Road.
But that’s another day’s work.