Legal action taken against Sandymount cycle path
Adequate public consultation not undertaken, document lodged to High Court states
Dublin City Council plans to limit traffic on Strand Road to one way to facilitate a six-month trial of a two-way cycle path beginning next month. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell
Independent councillor Mannix Flynn and Sandymount resident Peter Carvill want the court to quash the council’s decision to go ahead with a trial of the two-way cycle route on the coastal road, and are seeking declarations that the decision was “unlawful” and in breach of European Union environmental directives.
The council plans to limit car traffic to one way on the road to facilitate a six-month trial of the path beginning next month. From March 1st cars will be allowed to travel outbound only to the Merrion Gates.
A document lodged in the court by Mr Flynn and Mr Carvill on Thursday, setting out their grounds for seeking a judicial review, states the council did not undertake adequate public consultation, particularly in relation to determining if the project required an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
The document also states the council’s EIA screening report, which determined an EIA was not required, was “deficient” in that it failed to consider the displacement effects of traffic.
If an EIA is required, an application has to be made to An Bord Pleanála. The council determined it did not need to submit the Strand Road plan to the board and could undertake the work needed using its own traffic-calming powers.
Mr Flynn and Mr Carvill are asking the court to halt the implementation of the path until the judicial review has been determined.
Separately, the National Transport Authority (NTA) said an off-road alternative to the Strand Road path would take at least six years to develop.
Councillors last month wrote to Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan and the NTA asking that they revisit a 2015 plan to construct a cycle path on a boardwalk over the seaside of Strand Road, instead of on the road.
This plan, which was projected to cost €48 million, involved the closure of the Merrion Gates level crossing to traffic and the construction of a two-way traffic flyover between Strand Road and Merrion Road over the rail line and through the car parks of Merrion Hall and Our Lady Queen of Peace church.
The plan met widespread local opposition and was shelved by the NTA in 2018.
In its response to the councillors, the NTA said the 2015 plan may require revision due to new plans for flood protection measures along the coast.
The construction of the bridge over the rail line and the environmental designations at Sandymount Strand would likely require an application to An Bord Pleanála, and preparing that application could take “two to three years”. Securing planning permission would likely take a further two years and construction would take “about two years”, the NTA letter states.