Frank McDonald: Major hurdle may now face future cycleways

Legal challenges threaten Dublin's ability to become pedestrian- and cycling-friendly

Segregated cycleway from Blackrock to Dún Laoghaire: There were bound to be battles over the drive to change traffic priorities around the city and suburbs. Photograph: Tom Honan

Segregated cycleway from Blackrock to Dún Laoghaire: There were bound to be battles over the drive to change traffic priorities around the city and suburbs. Photograph: Tom Honan

One of the really positive benefits of the Covid pandemic is that it prompted more enlightened local authorities worldwide to reallocate road space in favour of cyclists and pedestrians. Dublin was no exception to this trend, with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council leading the way by installing a coastal cycleway between Seapoint and Sandycove as well as calming motorised traffic in villages such as Blackrock.

But given the overwhelming dominance of cars on city streets, facilitated by road-widening schemes in the past, there were bound to be battles over the drive to change traffic priorities. The recent High Court order quashing the proposed cycleway on Strand Road in Sandymount not only killed that scheme in the short term but also has “potentially devastating consequences for our capacity to deliver future cycling projects”.

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