Planned trial of Deansgrange cycle route hits major setback

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council says further consultations required for project

Cycle route for Deansgrange has been delayed. Image: Google Streetview

Cycle route for Deansgrange has been delayed. Image: Google Streetview

 

A planned six month trial of a contentious two lane cycle route running through Deansgrange in south Dublin has hit a major setback.

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council told elected representatives on Thursday that further consultations are now required for the Deansgrange section of a larger Active Schools Travel project in the area.

The scheme would involve 25km of dedicated cycle track along three separate routes linking 65 schools. No roads would be closed but part of Deansgrange Road would become one-way for almost 1km.

That section had become a contentious issue locally as supporters of cycling and safe road use backed the design, but others were less convinced. Last month, businesses in the area were preparing legal action to prevent it going ahead, a move now rendered unnecessary.

A vote was scheduled for Monday’s meeting of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co Council to prevent the trial proceeding. Had that failed it was likely work on the route would have begun this month but now question marks remain as to when it might go ahead.

An official circular to elected members on Thursday said that following a large number of submissions on the Deansgrange element of the project, a further round of engagement with stakeholders was necessary. A subsequent report is due to be issued in January.

“I am quite disappointed. It was just going to be a six month trial,” said Blackrock councilor Séafra Ó Faoláin, frustrated that moves were made against simply testing the scheme’s viability.

“People have raised issues around traffic and business concerns and rat-running and these issues are plausible but the trial would have allowed us to see which of these issues were real and which weren’t.

“But most of all it’s dangerous for children who have to get to school without safe infrastructure.”

Among the opponents were some local businesses who claimed it would lead to traffic disruption and possible job losses in the area. The Deansgrange Village Business Group was preparing litigation.

“We have four takeaways in Deansgrange village and our delivery drivers will now be rerouted through estates that will never have seen this kind of traffic,” Tadhg Leonard, owner of Tiger Wood Fired Pizza and a member of the group, said last month.

“On a busy Friday night, we estimate there will be between 200 and 300 additional car journeys through these areas. There is an obvious safety risk, particularly with regard to families with young children, but also a risk to people’s entitlement to the quiet enjoyment of their neighbourhood.”

However, a live petition set up locally to counter those views and press for the trial has now surpassed the 1,000 mark, according to its organisers.

One local resident and supporter of safe school cycle routes, Kevin Mangan, said efforts by those in favour of the trial to engage with the business community were largely unsuccessful.

“I am really in favour of opening up the neighbourhood to kids and people who want to travel without a car or their parents to school, shops and sports clubs,” he said. “For this to be delayed is disappointing.”