Redesign for Liffey cycle way from Phoenix Park to docks

Blunder that sent buses through a building forces part of cycle path away from riverside

Since 2012 Dublin City Council have looked at various options for a new cycle route along the quays. They may now be forced to divert the cycle lane away from the Liffey towards Smithfield. Olivia Kelly reports.

 

Plans for a segregated cycle path along the Liffey quays from the Phoenix Park to Dublin docks are to be radically redesigned, because of a major error in the route selection.

Dublin City Council has been developing plans for a segregated cycle route along the river since 2012, but is now planning to move cyclists away from the quays for a 1km stretch. Consultants Aecom Ltd, engaged by the council, initially considered 13 route options, which were reduced to a shortlist of four that were released for public consultation in March of last year.

More than 1,200 responses were received and half favoured a two-way cycle path at the river side along the north quays. This route involved moving Croppies Acre Memorial Park, in front of the National Museum at Collins Barracks, down to the quay wall, and running the cycle path through the park and then east along the river. It also involved diverting buses along Benburb Street next to the Luas line until Smithfield where they would divert onto Hammond Lane, rejoining the quays at Church Street.

However, as reported in The Irish Times last August, this option diverted buses straight through an apartment block which was under construction in Smithfield.

Review of route

The Dublin Loft Company received permission for the apartment block in 2014, but there had been permission for a building on the site since 2008.

The council asked Aecom to review the route to investigate whether buses could share the Luas line to bypass the building. It concluded this was not feasible and is according to the council “no longer a viable option”. Aecom found that a bus route at the bottom of Smithfield “wouldn’t be possible without seriously impacting on the quality of the bus and Luas services along this corridor.”

Aecom was then asked to review the remaining three options to keep the cycle route at the riverside, but by December last it was determined there should be a “complete review” of the scheme.

The solution, which will be presented to councillors next week is to leave the buses at the riverside and put the cycle path on the previously planned bus diversion route for 1km to the north of Croppies Acre and along Benburb Street onto Hammond Lane, rejoining the quays from Church Street.

By staying north of Croppies Acre the new route will provide a more direct path to Phoenix Park and better links for students at the new Grangegorman campus, the council said.

The council’s engineers are seeking the approval of the transport committee to begin preliminary designs for the new route.

The Dublin Loft Company building sits at the Luas line, with no road space in between, the council has not said if cyclists will share the Luas line to bypass the building. Cycling on the Luas line is not currently permitted.