Sandymount’s Strand Road to be one-way from March 1st

Traffic limited under six-month trial to facilitate controversial two-way cyclepath

Cyclist on Strand Road, Sandymount. Since Dublin City Council last August announced plans to trial the two-way cycle path, it has been met with determined local opposition. File photograph: Crispin Rodwell

Cyclist on Strand Road, Sandymount. Since Dublin City Council last August announced plans to trial the two-way cycle path, it has been met with determined local opposition. File photograph: Crispin Rodwell

 

Traffic on Strand Road in Sandymount will be reduced to one way from March 1st to facilitate the opening of a much disputed new two-way cycle route from the end of that month.

Work on the controversial project, which will see traffic limited to one lane with cars allowed to travel outbound only to the Merrion Gates for a six-month trial, will start next Monday.

Preliminary works will continue for the remainder of February before the road is made fully one way from the start of March.

Since Dublin City Council last August announced plans to trial the two-way path, it has been met with determined local opposition.

However, when the council undertook a public consultation process on the project 3,000 people responded, with 56 per cent “strongly in favour of proceeding with trial”. Just over one-quarter (27 per cent) objected to the trial, while 17 per cent stated they had some concerns, largely relating to the displacement of traffic.

Several residents groups last month said they believe the council’s proposal required planning permission and were preparing a submission to ask An Bord Pleanála to adjudicate on the issue.

The council said the cycle path was exempt from requiring planning permission. The project was in line with Government advice to implement walking and cycling schemes during the Covid-19 pandemic, it said. The council had engaged independent consultants who confirmed there was no requirement for environmental assessments which could trigger an application to An Bord Pleanála, it said.

Councillors were on Monday informed of the dates for the implementation of the one-way system and the opening of the path.

Labour councillor Dermot Lacey said it was a “really bad day for local government” and the views of the majority of local councillors had been ignored.

“The executive have rammed through a proposal against the express wishes of a considerable number of local people,” he said.

Councillors last month wrote to Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan and the National Transport Agency (NTA) asking that they revisit a 2015 plan to construct a cycle path on a boardwalk over the sea side of Strand Road, instead of on the road itself.

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.

Councillors were on Monday told there have been no responses as yet to the letters.