Council offers bike scheme for deliveries

 

BUSINESSES in Dublin’s city centre are being asked to swap their delivery vans for bicycles to minimise disruption and ensure continuity of supplies during the Metro North works.

The initiative from Dublin City Council and the Dublin City Business Association would see a fleet of “urban cargo” bikes carrying loads of up to 180kg on the city’s streets in the next 18 months.

The council is seeking expressions of interest for the scheme which would ensure shops and restaurants in the central business district, from Parnell Square to St Stephen’s Green and Smithfield to Merrion Square, are not cut off due to the large-scale roadworks planned for the Metro North and other infrastructural projects.

The scheme would be retained long term to protect road surfaces in pedestrianised areas such as Grafton Street and Henry Street and to allow for the better operation of bus systems in the city centre.

The operation of the scheme will depend on the expressions of interest the council receives from today. In Geneva and Paris, where there are similar schemes, businesses contract their deliveries out to a firm that operates the bikes instead of using their own vans or hiring couriers.

The council said it could make a central depot available for the delivery bikes in Smithfield or the markets area. Larger lorries could bring cargo to the depot, instead of entering the central business district – and the bikes would then be used to distribute the goods to businesses. The bikes were a cost-effective solution as the city centre becomes increasingly restrictive to traffic, Brendan O’Brien, head of technical services at the council’s traffic department, said.

“Urban cargo deliveries are more customer friendly than traditional delivery trucks; provide a long-term solution of greater access through city streets and pedestrian routes; flexibility in terms of delivery times and loading, and cost-effectiveness for operating businesses.”

After the metro, Dart underground and cross-city Luas works, the council did not want a return to the use of “unsustainable transportation vehicles”, he added.

The council had to spend several million euro repaving Grafton Street and the surrounding side streets due to wear and tear caused by delivery trucks, he said, a cost that was borne by businesses through commercial rates.