Greens plan to amend legislation on provision of cycle lanes

Councils need ‘legal certainty’ following Strand Road controversy, says Ryan

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan will amend legislation to give ‘better legal certainty’ to local authorities on the provision of cycle lanes and greenways. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan will amend legislation to give ‘better legal certainty’ to local authorities on the provision of cycle lanes and greenways. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan will amend legislation to give “better legal certainty” to local authorities on the provision of cycle lanes and greenways following the Sandymount Strand Road controversy.

The Green Party leader said the High Court judgment about the cycle lane on Strand Road on the south Dublin coast “has the potential to have a real chilling effect in terms of what we do to deliver safe transport infrastructure”.

Speaking on the second day of the Green Party think-in at Airfield Estate in Dundrum, Dublin, Mr Ryan said Galway councillors deferred a vote on whether to put a greenway into Salthill, while Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Council deferred a vote on the creation of a “safe space for children to walk and cycle to school” in Deansgrange.

Mr Ryan said the changes were not aimed specifically at the Strand Road controversy but to address the issues identified by the High Court.

A legal action was taken against Dublin City Council’s decision to install a cycle path based on existing powers and without seeking planning permission. The High Court ruled that the cycleway would have to go through the planning process.

“We are looking at legislative amendments that will try and create better legal certainty, better public consultation, the use of experimental measures so we can test, try and adapt” to make the necessary road and traffic management changes “we’re going to need to make our cities and towns work better”.

‘Give power back’

He said he wanted “more than anything” to “give power back to the councils, to really put it up to the councils that they too have a central role in tackling climate change” and making the call on the “better democratic way of how we roll out some of these new traffic management measures we need”.

Mr Ryan said he would be flagging the issue in the Dáil during transport questions in advance and amending road transport legislation which has been through the pre-legislative scrutiny process.

He will amend the Miscellaneous Provisions Bill, which includes a range measures including the regulation of e-scooters and variable speed limits.

Mr Ryan said the committee stage amendment will give local authorities “much greater clarity on how they will do the cycling and bus lane measures that we need”.

This would include measures similar to those applying in the UK “to do experimental measures where they put something in and see after 12 or 18 months how it’s performing. And we’ll give real power back to councillors to make decisions on what are very difficult, challenging but vital things to do to meet our climate challenges.”

Party deputy leader Catherine Martin described the think-in as a “really good opportunity to reflect on the year gone by and the challenges ahead. It struck me that it’s really the first time in 18 months in person and I’m really enjoying that and it’s a very constructive discussion.”

She said that in the Dáil term ahead a lot of her focus will be on the arts. Culture night on Friday she described as a “symbol of hope with 80 per cent of the 1,000 event s in person and I look forward to the full reopening on October 22nd but cognisant of the supports that are still needed for the sector and the sustainable recovery of tourism”.