Business organisation opposes Liffey quays car ban

Dublin City Council proposing ban on private cars and lorries for cycle path

A  Google Street View image of North Brunswick Street in Dublin - if new plans are adopted all incoming traffic other than buses will be diverted up the narrow street from the north quays.

A Google Street View image of North Brunswick Street in Dublin - if new plans are adopted all incoming traffic other than buses will be diverted up the narrow street from the north quays.

 

Olivia Kelly Dublin Correspondent

Business organisation Dublin Town has said it cannot support plans to ban cars from part of the Liffey Quays to facilitate a continuous cycle path along the river from Heuston Station to Dublin docks.

Dublin City Council is proposing to permanently ban private cars and lorries from Ellis and Arran quays, on the north side of the Liffey, and to divert traffic for 1.5km through the residential streets of Stoneybatter and Smithfield.

The north quays between Blackhall Place and Church Street would be reserved for cyclists and public transport vehicles, under the biggest changes to Liffey quays traffic yet proposed by the council.

Chief executive of Dublin Town Richard Guiney said his organisation could not support the plan. “Some in the business community believe the ultimate goal is to have the city a car free zone, this doesn’t allay those concerns. My own view is there would be a significant economic impact if this goes ahead.”

He added that it would push “hundreds of cars” into local residential communities.

Independent councillor Mannix Flynn said while he supported cycling, it was “morally wrong” to push traffic into one area to make another area – the quays – “nice” for cyclists.

“You would be ghettoising those areas, there are ethical and environmental issues with pushing the traffic into those areas.”

However, Green Party councillor Ciarán Cuffe said the project would be Dublin’s “cycle superhighway” and would be a positive step-change for the city. “I would be very supportive of this, it is a significant project that can change the face of the city”. He said the pedestrianisation of Grafton Street had at the time seemed “really challenging” but had been a positive change for the city.

The council has been trying to develop a segregated cycle route along the river since 2012, but the plan has hit several stumbling blocks associated with the narrow width of parts of the quays. Most of Ellis and Aran Quays are only two lanes wide, with one lane reserved for busses.

Last year it planned moving Croppies Acre Memorial Park down to the quay wall, and running the cycle path through the park and then east along the river. This involved diverting buses along Benburb Street, and through an apartment block which was under construction in Smithfield, but had been overlooked in the route selection process. The apartments have since been completed.

Last May, the council decided to move the cycle path away from the river into back streets for the first quarter of the route from Croppies Acres until Church Street where cyclists would rejoin the quays.

However the council’s transport department said there had been considerable disappointment at the loss of this “iconic route along the river” and a “key stakeholder” the Dublin Cycling Campaign has said they would not be able to support this.

The council has since May reviewed all options and decided the cycle route should stay along the Liffey, with all general traffic heading into the city centre having to divert onto Blackhall Place at James Joyce Bridge, before turning right onto North King Street and North Brunswick Street and right again to Church Street to rejoin the quays – a journey of 1.5km.

Cars would still be allowed use Queen Street, but only to Cross the Liffey and not rejoin the north quays, which would have one public transport lane and one cycle lane between Blackhall Place and Church Street.