Inconveniencing motorists in Sandymount not ‘the end of civilisation’ says Keegan

Dublin city council ‘committed’ to Sandymount cycle project despite order

Dublin City Council remains "absolutely committed" to the development of the Strand Road cycleway in Sandymount, council chief executive Owen Keegan said, despite a High Court order halting the work.

Mr Keegan said it would “not be the end of civilisation” if motorists in the area were inconvenienced and there had to be a realisation that the days of “unfettered private car travel” are over.

Traffic on Strand Road was due to be reduced to one way from Monday to facilitate the opening of the route later in March for a six-month trial.

Independent councillor Mannix Flynn and Sandymount resident Peter Carvill last Monday secured High Court permission to take judicial review proceedings against the council plans to restrict traffic as far as the Merrion Gates to a single outbound lane with the other lane repurposed as a two-way cycle track.

On Friday morning Mr Justice Charles Meenan approved their application to put a stay on the work pending the hearing of the judicial review proceedings on April 27th.

In a public interview with Lord Mayor Hazel Chu on Friday Mr Keegan described the stay on the work as a "temporary setback" for the project and said the council would be "fighting the case" in April.

“We will have to stop working, so all those half built works will just have to be stopped immediately,” he said “but the city council is absolutely committed, we’re not going to disappear just because of this. This was a temporary setback, I think it was very unfortunate but we will be back in April to make the substantive case again and I hope we will win the substantive case in court.”

There was a view among some in Sandymount there should be “absolutely no interference in vehicular traffic” he said.

“There are going to have to be difficult decisions. Some people will probably perceive themselves, and will actually be, inconvenienced but it’s not the end of civilisation. They will always have vehicular access to their houses or their businesses, they may have to do a slight detour but in return for that you get a very high quality cycling facility.”

A move to sustainable travel was “inevitable” he said. “There’s is notion that there will be unfettered private car travel, those days are over, it is not sustainable.”

Speaking after the hearing on Friday, Mr Carvill, of the Serpentine Avenue, Tritonville and Claremont Roads group, said the residents groups were “all pro-cycling” and fully supportive of an off-road cycle track, but he said: “We believe that the Council should not be permitted to act first and assess later.”