Dublin’s Lord Mayor has ‘serious problem’ with North Quays cycle lane
Brendan Carr says many councillors share his reservations about new traffic plan
Martin Sheehan uses the cycle lane by the Four Courts along the Quays, in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson
The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Brendan Carr, has said he cannot support proposals for a new cycle lane on the North Quays as they stand.
A proposed two-way cycle lane on the North Quays is one of the key constituents of a radical reconfiguration of traffic in Dublin city centre.
The plan, as proposed by city officials, would involve private traffic being diverted off the quays and through Blackhall Place, North Brunswick Street and Church Street, a diversion of 1.5 kilometres.
Cllr Carr said he could not understand the logic of diverting traffic through a residential area.
He added: “I think a lot of the councillors would have the same opinion. Everyone would love to see the North Quays being freer for cyclists to use but not at the expense of people who are in residential areas and where there are kids playing.”
Cllr Carr said the decision by the European Cycle Federation (ECF) to host the Velo-City Conference in Dublin in June 2019 demonstrated that the city was serious about cycling, “but you can’t just keep shutting the roads off to motorists”. The Velo-City Conference is regarded as the premier cycling conference in Europe every year.
City manager Owen Keegan acknowledged that the North Quays proposal was “controversial”, but he cited the cycle lane along the Grand Canal as an example of a dedicated facility which had encouraged commuters to take up cycling.
“We need to provide that option, that level of cycle service to cyclists from other areas of the city so there will be a whole series of developments required. The North Quays is particularly important. It is a major access route,” he said.
Two other proposals are also causing controversy. One is that all private traffic from the North Quays will turn left at O’Connell Street making it impossible to cross Dublin from west to east via the quays by private car. Another is the creation of a pedestrian plaza at College Green which would block traffic going to and from Dame Street. The plans are out for public consultation which finish on Monday.
Mr Keegan said he understood why people were objecting to some of the plans.
“There is always opposition and rightly so. It does affect the property interests and others. These are legitimate concerns. We need to mediate with these people. For some people the impact is significant. We will seek to address the issues as far as we can.”
Dublin City Council head of technical services Brendan O’Brien said test running on the Luas Cross City would start in mid-June. These will test that the gauge is correct and that the overhead electricity wires are working properly.
“You will start to see the trams, not in great numbers initially, building up to when they are comfortable enough to start their own service,” he said.
Full-scale testing will start in August with the roadworks in the city likely to be cleared by September or October. The Luas Cross City is on course to start working in December.
The Luas trams will be 55 metres long – 10 metres longer than on the existing Luas services.