Plans for a five-fold increase in cycle routes in Dublin and its surrounding counties have been published by the National Transport Authority.
The Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network proposes to increase the provision of on and off road cycle paths from 500km to 2,840km in the four Dublin local authorities as well as counties Kildare, Meath and Wicklow.
Until now individual local authorities have determined cycle provision for their areas resulting in paths which stop at county or administrative boundaries.
The plan will mean that cycle routes will in future be linked, there will be continuity of cycle paths across the region and a consistency of design.
The proposed network will treble the existing cycle lanes in urban areas from 500km to 1,485km in length, and will provide over 1,300km of new connections between towns in the rural areas of the Greater Dublin Area.
The planned network will include safe, accessible and direct routes along primary and secondary roads to meet the demands of work and school commuters and greenway routes - off road facilities through parks, along waterways etc - more generally used for leisure and tourism.
A target of increasing cycling numbers to 75,000 each morning by 2021 has been set. This would represent a three-fold increase in cycling over 2011 levels and would mean the cycle network could carry as many commuters in the morning in 2021 as is currently carried by bus.
Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said the expansion of the network would build on recent successful measures taken to increase numbers of cyclists.
“Added to the bike to work scheme, the extension of Dublin Bikes and greater integration with bus, train stations and Luas stops, it is our vision to have as many people cycling into the city every morning in 2021 as currently take the bus. This is hugely ambitious but I believe it can be done.”
The network incorporates existing cycle routes such as the Grand Canal Cycle Scheme, but also proposes new routes, such as the off-road Dodder Route, connecting Tallaght to the South City Centre Business District.
The network has been devised following a study of the location and condition of existing facilities, and of the patterns of travel shown in census data and household surveys.
A cycling demand model was created for the main urban area of Dublin to assess the future demand in the busiest areas.
The plan can be viewed on the authority's website at nationaltransport.ie or its offices at Dun Scéine, Harcourt Lane, Dublin 2. Public submissions on the plan can be made online as well as by post, before the 5pm on October 14th.