Dublin City Council chief seeks to ‘aggressively restrict’ space for cars

Road and on-street parking spaces need to be reallocated to cyclists, says council chief executive

Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan wants to "aggressively restrict" road space for cars, to provide more protected cycle lanes 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.

Speaking at a cycling symposium in Dublin in recent days, attended by a delegation of cycling experts from Amsterdam, Mr Keegan said the private car “continues to be the preferred choice for too many residents and for too many journeys” in the city.

Dublin motorists were “proving a very resilient group with a remarkable capacity to endure long and variable journey times as they continue to travel by private car”, he noted.

There was “widespread public and political support” for cycling infrastructure “provided it does not have an undue adverse impact on motorists either in the form of reduced access to road space or reduced on-street parking opportunities”, he said.

“However, the political and public consensus breaks down when general traffic/private motorists are seen to lose out to facilitate the provision of improved cycling infrastructure.”

Worse off

Many residents and businesses believed – “with considerable justification” – that they would be worse off as a consequence of cycling infrastructure measures but he said a “significant reallocation of road space from general traffic to cycling and a significant reduction in on-street car parking provision” was necessary.

“We will need to intensify our efforts to make cycling a much more attractive option to a much wider range of citizen,” he said.

“In order to do this, it seems to me that the best and indeed the only option, in the absence of road pricing, is to aggressively restrict the road space available to general traffic by reallocating available road space to provide improved cycling and pedestrian facilities and especially protected cycling facilities,” Mr Keegan told the symposium.

It would he said be a “difficult transitional journey to a more sustainable cycle- and pedestrian-friendly city” and city councillors would “play a key role in bringing citizens with us, or not as the case may be”.