Dublin road changes to be ‘painful’ for drivers, says Lord Mayor

Road space needs to be ‘rebalanced’ to provide more room for sustainable transport

Once the works are completed there will be bus lanes and segregated cycle lanes. File photograph: Getty

The reallocation of Dublin road space is going to be “painful” for people who want to continue driving cars into the city centre, Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland has said.

She was responding to comments by Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan who said he wanted to "aggressively restrict" the road space for cars, to provide more protected cycle lanes in the city.

Cllr Gilliland said she would “prefer the word assertive” rather than aggressive, but agreed there was a need for the council to rebalance the use of the city’s roads.

“I absolutely agree that we are going to have to share our road space in a more balanced way,” she said. “That’s going to be painful particularly for those who do prefer to take their private car into the city centre and back out again.”


However, she said she hoped upcoming improvements to public transport, in addition to safer cycling facilities, would give motorists better options.

“I would hope, given we are going to put in more sustainable cycle infrastructure, and BusConnects, which will transform the bus network, that more people will opt for cycling or bus and Luas as the go-to mode of travel around the city.”

Cllr Gilliland was speaking at an event to mark the start of construction of the €62 million Clontarf to Dublin city centre cycle route.

The project, that also involves watermains rehabilitation and new bus lanes, will take two years to build with extensive roadworks between Alfie Byrne Road in Clontarf and Connolly station.

Car commuters would face additional congestion as a result of the works she said.

“This road is particularly used by motorists commuting into the city, it also has very strong and frequent public transport routes on it, and yes there will be difficulties with regard to the construction. It will have an impact on the private vehicle, so we will see congestion, but we have to do it. We have a massive climate imperative and this city has to react to that.”

The “private car” accounted for 28 per cent of emissions in Dublin she said.

“Sustainable cycling infrastructure has to become part of everyday life. We in our development plan have a target of doubling commuting cyclists and that’s from 13,000 to about 28,000. In order to do that and realise that ambition, and we absolutely are ambitious for our city, we need projects like this and I very much welcome that.”

Traffic lanes

Traffic will be restricted to one bus lane and one general traffic lane in each direction during the works. Currently there are two general traffic lanes in each direction over large stretches of the road.

Once completed there will be bus lanes and segregated cycle lanes on both sides of the road. There will remain one lane in each direction for general traffic continuing straight ahead, with provision for right and left turning lanes at some junctions.

Speaking at a cycling symposium in Dublin last week Mr Keegan said the private car “continues to be the preferred choice for too many residents and for too many journeys” in the city.

In the absence of congestion charges, reallocating space to cyclists was “the best and indeed the only option” to meet the council’s targets for “decarbonising” transport and for growing cycling numbers, Mr Keegan said.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times