Approach Roads, Streets & Lanes
Bóithre Isteach, Sráideanna & Lánaí
In this Category The Tidy Towns Adjudicator can award 50 Marks
Appropriate presentation of approach roads, including the roadside verges and their boundary treatment. The appearance of town and village streets, connecting roads, laneways, bridges and cycle lanes. Provision for inclusive access and pedestrian connections.
Urban Roads & Streets – Design:
Kildare County Council is responsible for the extensive network of roads and footpaths in and around Newbridge, and they aim to provide a well-maintained public road network “subject to financial and human resource constraints”.
When looking at streets and roads, and planning improvements Councils now follow “The Design Manual for Urban Roads & Streets” (DMURS) published by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. #1
The Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets “offers a holistic approach to the design of urban streets in cities, towns, suburbs and villages in Ireland for the first time and promotes a collaborative and consultative design process. It requires professionals of different disciplines to work together to achieve better street design.” and will provide “added value and improvements in quality of life that will be achieved through implementation of this integrated and progressive approach.” #1
The surfacing and maintenance of the public road network, footpaths and streets surfacing in Newbridge is the responsibility of Kildare County Council.
Traffic management in Newbridge is also the responsibility of Kildare County Council, which has the responsibility to manage transportation in the county for the benefit of all road users – including vehicular users, pedestrians, cyclists etc. The Pay Parking Scheme in Newbridge is part of the Traffic Management system, and the scheme is used to regulate parking, deter illegal parking and manage public parking spaces to ensure a regular turn-over of parking spaces thus making Newbridge more accessible, more attractive to residents, shoppers, businesses and tourists.
There is a need to implement design changes to lower vehicular traffic speeds, reduce unnecessary car use (by creating a pedestrian / cycle friendly environment) and ultimately create a built environment / streetscape which will promote healthy lifestyles (i.e. Slí na Sláinte routes) while recognising the distinctive nature of residential / business communities and places.
Kildare County Council is also responsible for public lighting on streets, and in residential areas which have been “taken in charge”, for details on how to report a fault please check the http://kildare.ie/CountyCouncil/RoadsandTransportation/PublicLighting/ Kildare County Council Website – Public Lighting.
The visitor’s first impression of a town or village is often formed from the condition of the approach roads. Approach roads need to be litter free, the grass needs to be cut back to a reasonable distance – but not necessarily fully to the hedge as the hedge and grass area also needs to act as a wildlife corridor, and may have wonderful wildflowers. Therefore presentation of an approach road, its walls, fencing and tree planting (where appropriate) is essential to the general appearance of the town.
The main approach roads to Newbridge are from Naas (R445), Kilcullen / Athgarvan (R416), Curragh – Green Road, Curragh – Kildare (R445), Curragh – Standhouse Road, Ring of Roseberry and Milltown (R416), it is important that reasonable care is taken of these approaches – however the presentation options taken may differ for each road. Rural style hedgerows are evident almost immediately on leaving the town, particularly on the Milltown Road (past the Station), the Green Road, the Athgarvan Road, and on the Ring of Roseberry. We hope that hedgerows such as these will continue to be a feature of the town despite the prospect of development projects which are likely at some future date in “zoned” land banks just off these main approach roads.
Roundabouts & Traffic Islands:
Roundabouts should where possible be landscaped preferably to create a year round effect – some roundabouts are constructed entirely in brick or stone – and the opportunity may not exist for “softening” the appearance of the roundabout with shrubs and / or flowers. Where there is scope for planting it is probable that in the main perineal (permanent) planting scheme would be more appropriate than planting annuals which need to be replaced summer and winter.
Perennials require less work because you only need to plant them once, and they return each year however perennials tend to bloom for just a short time. “Annuals” have a life-cycle which lasts one year, and need to be re-planted each year, they can tend to flower for a longer periods.
Kildare County Council is implementing a pilot scheme for sponsorship of roundabouts around the county, and is seeking businesses or organisations that wish to avail of advertisement on various roundabouts. The business would be required to sponsor planting of the roundabout, and would be permitted to position some advertising on the roundabout.
The Streetscape – Roads, Streets and Footpaths:
We would like to see the Council commissioning an urban design framework (DMURS) for Main Street and the commercial Centre of the town – including Eyre Street, Moorefield Road, Military Road and adjoining streets and lanes. The commercial centre of the town needs a detailed plan which as a minimum would include enhancing the streetscape, paving surfacing, street furniture and open spaces etc.;
Better and more effective street design in urban areas such as Newbridge will lead to the achievement of a better balance between all road users – all modes of transport and road users, and the design must encourage more people to walk, cycle (or use public transport where available), thus making your journey safer and more pleasant.
Also addressing issues such as:
- Upgrade quality of footpath surfacing;
- Improve both hard and soft landscaping;
- Increased pedestrianisation;
- Development of a Town Centre “civic space”;
- Enhanced cycle routes, and cycle parking facilities;
- Suitable street furniture;
- Rationalisation and standardisation of signage (following KCC Signage Policy 2013);
- Extension of adopted street name signage design to all streets and residential areas (standardise design);
- Upgrading & resurfacing of linking / connecting roads and lanes – many of which make a less than good impression;
- Development and treatment of derelict sites;
- Elimination or rationalisation of unnecessary blockages on footpaths;
- Undergrounding wiring & services;
- Linkage to other areas of town – recreational facilities, residential areas, industrial and business areas, Liffey Linear Park, Curragh, Fen, Bogland etc.;
- Protection and preservation of our built heritage – protected buildings / structures, remaining Barrack walls / arch, roadside stone walls (Athgarvan Road / Railway Bridges etc.);
- Practicalities of having a co-ordinated shopfront design and colour scheme for both main streets and connecting streets;
Car parks need to be well surfaced, have adequate lighting and landscaped to take the “bare look” from the area. Car-parks provide an ideal opportunity for tree planting – suggest upright trees would be most appropriate, and shrubberies.
Dilapidated and derelict buildings are a problem, and need to be addressed, the Derelict Sites Act should be used to progress the demolition of derelict walls and buildings.
Protection of Heritage Buildings & Older walls:
Old walls such as the remaining walls of the former barracks, the walls along the riverbank, and on some approach roads support wall flora, lichens, mosses etc. and should not be disturbed, or “cleared down” with pesticides or manually. Heritage buildings must be conserved and protected.
#1 Download the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets (DMURS)