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The Irish Times view on cycling in Dublin: Skewed priorities

The Irish Times View

At least 10% of transport budget should go towards catering for cycling

Part of the proposed new cycle route along the Liffey at Aston Quay in Dublin.

The fact that it has taken seven years to finalise a plan for new cycleways along the Liffey quays tells us a lot about the trials and tribulations of transport planning in Dublin.

Indeed, it would not have happened at all but for the persistence of cycling campaigners in demanding safe routes for two-wheelers through what is clearly an intimidating and unpleasant environment dominated by cars, vans and buses.

Originally planned by Dublin City Council, this €20 million-plus project had to be taken over by the National Transport Authority after public consultations showed that there was little support for a series of options, some of which would have involved diverting cyclists off the quays to preserve road space for motorised traffic while others were obviously unworkable – such as re-routing that traffic through residential areas.

Seville managed to create a 160km cycleway network in just a few years, vastly increasing the number of cyclists

The NTA’s latest plan is far from ideal, however, as the twin 5km cycleways would not be consistently linear, switching from left to right on the north quays to avoid a bank of bus stops along Bachelors Walk.

But at least the routes would be segregated, with a continuous concrete kerb to safeguard against encroachment by traffic. There would also be extensions to the Liffey Boardwalk, this time on both sides of the quays.

It is axiomatic that many more cyclists will use the quays once this direct route between Docklands and Phoenix Park becomes relatively safe.

Other cities have invested heavily in cycling infrastructure, and it is long past time for Dublin to fall into line.

Seville, for example, managed to create a 160km cycleway network in just a few years, vastly increasing the number of cyclists.

Under the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 strategy, billions of euro would be spent on roads and rail-based public transport schemes such as Metrolink, while a miserable amount has been allocated for cycling infrastructure.

These skewed priorities urgently need to change to meet the not unreasonable demand from cycling campaigners that at least 10 per cent of the national transport budget should go towards catering for this environmentally sustainable mode.