Councillors disappointed at loss of planned Liffey cycle route

Plans four years in making to be redesigned with cyclists using backstreets initially

Cycling along the south quays, in Dublin. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Cycling along the south quays, in Dublin. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Dublin city councillors have expressed disappointment at the scrapping of plans for a continuous cycle path along the river quays from Heuston Station to Dublin docks four years after planning for the route began.

Plans for the segregated cycle path are to be radically redesigned, moving the path away from the river into backstreets for the first quarter of the route.

The council had been developing plans for a segregated cycle route along the river since 2012. Consultants Aecom Ltd, initially considered 13 route options, which were reduced to a shortlist of four released for public consultation in March of last year.

Respondents favoured a two-way cycle path at the river side along the north quays. This route involved moving Croppies Acre Memorial Park down to the quay wall, and running the cycle path through the park and then east along the river. It also involved diverting buses along Benburb Street next to the Luas line until Smithfield where they would divert on to Hammond Lane, rejoining the quays at Church Street.

However, as reported last August, this option diverted buses straight through an apartment block which was under construction in Smithfield. The Dublin Loft Company received permission for the apartment block in 2014, but there had been permission for a building on the site since 2008.

The council asked Aecom to review the route to investigate whether buses could share the Luas line to bypass the building. It concluded this was not feasible.

The solution, is to leave the buses at the riverside and put the cycle path on the previously planned bus diversion route for 1km to the north of Croppies Acre and along Benburb Street on to Hammond Lane, rejoining the quays from Church Street.

‘Lost opportunity’

Fine Gael Cllr Paddy Smyth said not having the path down the full length of the city quays was a “lost opportunity”, while Independent Mannix Flynn said it had been a “huge waste of time and resources”.

Green Party Cllr Ciarán Cuffe said a “very visionary proposal” had been lost but the council’s engineers should now move on with the new solution. “To paraphrase Johnny Giles, it’s a good scheme but not a great scheme.”

Separately, plans to funnel all car traffic on Dublin’s Bachelors Walk down O’Connell Street are set to proceed following the presentation of the final Dublin City Centre Transport Study to councillors.

The draft Dublin City Centre Transport Study, published last June, proposed widespread traffic restrictions in the city centre including banning cars from Bachelors Walk and George’s Quay, effectively blocking motorists from travelling north on O’Connell Street.

However, the final report allows cars to stay on both the north and south quays and retains a left turn from Bachelor’s Walk on to O’Connell Street.

The draft study was made available for public consultation between June and August last year and almost 8,000 submissions were received, which the council and the NTA said showed a “high level of support” for many of the proposals. However, prominent business interests in the city felt the study was “anti-car”, and argued against the restrictions on private motorists and their access to city centre car parks, particularly the Arnotts car park.

Cars travelling on the north quays will now have to turn left and will not be permitted to continue straight on to Eden Quay, which would become a public transport only route, and will not be permitted to turn right on to O’Connell Bridge.

George’s Quay traffic will be permitted to continue south, or cross O’Connell Bridge into O’Connell Street.

Meanwhile councillors welcomed plans to cut speed limits to 30km/h .