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Following an Active Travel  Zoom meeting earlier this year with DFI Minister Nichola Mallon, Newry.ie decided to look at the two 'half finished' cycle routes that exist in Newry City and to examine how they could be improved and made fit for purpose. At present apart from the Towpath and Greenway routes which serve recreational use more than practical there are no safe cycling routes in Newry, a city of 27,000 people.

The Armagh Road cycle path abruptly ends at Barrack Street and on the most dangerous stretch of the road, cyclists are left at the mercy of impatient motorists. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
The Armagh Road cycle path abruptly ends at Barrack Street and on the most dangerous stretch of the road, cyclists are left at the mercy of impatient motorists. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

The two routes are the Armagh Road and the Warrenpoint Road. The Armagh Road path starts on the footpath at Damolly Retail Park but quickly joins the road with just a white line separating you from the traffic. It then abrubtly ends at Barrack Street leaving you at the mercy of motorists from there on. Many times this writer has taken his life in his hands cycling up Canal Street hill from the traffic lights, with impatient motorists regularly overtaking when there isn't the space then swerving in when an oncoming car gets in their way. We have suggested three potential routes for the continuation of this path, down Canal Street, through Barrack Street and Mourneview Park and through Erskine Street.

The Warrenpoint Road path doesn't reach Greenbank which considering the number of people who work there and travel by bicycle is fairly ridiculous.

We submitted our proposed routes to the Department for Infrastructure but would love to hear your alternative suggestions for these two routes and also suggestions for other routes that could or should be in place.

The start of the Warrenpoint Road path. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
The start of the Warrenpoint Road path. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Our route destination of both of these paths is a central path that would link Newry Canal Towpath with the Carlingford Lough Greenway which we detailed in a previous post Linking Newry Canal Towpath with Greenway the idea being that you could easily get from one end of Newry to the other and everywhere in-between on a safe path that would serve thousands of schoolchildren and workers and most importantly, a cycle route that you would feel safe letting your children use.

We believe it would not be a major job to complete the Warrenpoint Road one off-road with footpath widths quite substantial. The Armagh Road one could easily be made safer at least as far as Barrack Street by widening the footpath and put down markings to cater for pedestrians and cyclists. After that road widths make things more difficult but an imaginative solution is a necessity.

Please check through images and captions below to see our proposals. We would love to hear your proposals. Feel free to add your comments on our Facebook and Twitter pages or email us on news@newry.ie

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