€2.6m for bike scheme to roll out extension


A funding gap of €2.6 million to extend the DublinBikes scheme from Heuston Station and Phoenix Park to The Point in Docklands is to be bridged by the National Transport Authority (NTA), it was announced yesterday.

Previously, the scheme was financed by international outdoor advertising company JC Decaux in return for the right to erect advertising units – incorporating public information – at locations in the city.

The new funding is part of a package of nearly €44 million in grant-aid the NTA is providing to improve facilities for cyclists, pedestrians and public transport users in the Greater Dublin area. This will include a new cycle route from Phoenix Park to The Point.

Marlborough Street bridge

New cycle routes will be established across the city centre and surrounding counties as well as the Marlborough Street bridge, which the NTA confirmed would be for the exclusive use of buses, trams, cyclists and pedestrians; it is to be finished this year.

The new bridge will absorb an additional €5 million – bringing its overall cost to €13 million. It will carry the southbound track of the Luas Cross City project, linking St Stephen’s Green with Broombridge, in Cabra.

“These projects are designed to encourage more people to leave the car at home and try out alternative forms of transport,” said Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar.“We want to make the city safer for walking and cycling, and improve the experience of using public transport.

“The new cycle routes . . . across the Greater Dublin region should encourage more people to cycle to work, but many will also be attractive to tourists.”

Growing numbers of people are cycling to work in the city centre, with an average of 8,000 commuters using bikes, compared to 5,000 in 2006.

Many of these schemes will make it easier for commuters to cycle to work from further afield, according to the NTA.

The authority is providing €43.7 million under the Sustainable Transport scheme to the region’s seven local authorities: Dublin City Council and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal, South Dublin, Kildare, Meath and Wicklow county councils.

“It means that construction work can now be completed in 2013 or 2014 on a number of projects already under way, while planning and design work can start on others,” Mr Varadkar said.

Other key projects include €2.25 million for new traffic management schemes in the south city centre around St Stephen’s Green and Pearse Street and €2 million to resurface bus and cycle routes.