Proposed Liffey car ban opposed by inner city communities

Dublin residents express concerns over plan to create continuous cycle path along quays

A view of Bachelors Walk and the north quays in Dublin. File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

A view of Bachelors Walk and the north quays in Dublin. File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

 

Plans to ban cars from parts of the Liffey quays to facilitate a continuous cycle path along the river from Heuston Station to the Dublin docklands will be available for public consultation from next year.

However, Dublin City Council is already coming under pressure from communities and schools in the north inner city to drop the plan, amid claims it would push more cars into residential areas.

The council is proposing to permanently ban private cars and lorries from Ellis and Arran Quays on the north side of the Liffey, and to divert traffic for 1.5km through the residential streets of Stoneybatter and Smithfield.

The north quays between Blackhall Place and Church Street would be reserved for cyclists and public transport vehicles, under the biggest changes to traffic along the Liffey quays yet proposed by the council.

The plan would also see car traffic reduced to one lane only on large stretches of the north quays, including on Eden Quay.

Fourteen mature plane trees which are more than 100-years-old would be felled on Bachelors Walk as part of the plan, and quayside parking would be removed from most of the route.

The council has been trying to develop a segregated cycle route along the river since 2012, but the plan has hit several stumbling blocks due to the narrow width of parts of the quays.

The council had considered putting the cycle path on a boardwalk over the river, but discarded this option because it would require cutting into the stone of historic bridges.

Last year, it planned to move Croppies Acre memorial park down to the quay wall, in order to run the cycle path through the park and then east along the river.

This would have involved diverting buses along Benburb Street, and through an apartment block which was under construction in Smithfield but had been overlooked in the route selection process.

The apartments have since been completed.

Last May, the council decided to move the cycle path away from the river into the back streets for the first quarter of the route, from Croppies Acres until Church Street, where cyclists would then rejoin the quays.

Review

However, the council has since May reviewed all options and decided the cycle route should stay along the Liffey.

It decided all general traffic heading into the city centre should divert onto Blackhall Place at James Joyce Bridge, before turning right onto North King Street and North Brunswick Street and right again to Church Street to rejoin the quays – a journey of 1.5km.

Cars would still be allowed use Queen Street, but only to cross the Liffey and not rejoin the north quays, which would have one public transport lane and one cycle lane between Blackhall Place and Church Street.

St Paul’s CBS secondary school on North Brunswick Street has written to the council expressing concern for the health and safety of students if the plan goes ahead.

“Many walk, a lot cycle, while others are dropped off by car.

“This all happens on a one-way two-lane street that already experiences a lot of congestion during peak travel times.”

Several residents associations and local councillors have also expressed concerns about the increase in traffic.

Separately, the council will decide in two weeks’ time whether to go ahead with by-laws to cut speed limits to 30km/h on residential streets and near schools throughout Dublin city and suburbs.