Dublin City Council estimates 100km of cycle track it is planning could cost as much as €80 million – but according to the councillor behind DublinBikes the spend is “well worth the investment”.
The upgrade of primary cycle routes is linked to the National Transport Authority’s draft Cycle Network Plan for the Greater Dublin Area.
Cllr Andrew Montague said the price tag represents “good value for money” and “a good long term investment” compared to the estimated Luas Cross City construction cost of €368 million for the 6km of a tram route extension, which is expected to carry far fewer people than the cycling network.
As it stands, more commuters who are city council area residents hop on their bicycles than take the Luas or Dart combined. The 2011 Census recorded nearly 23,300 city residents who said they mainly cycled to work or education, while less than 18,200 mainly choose any rail-based public transport.
The city council is one of the seven local authorities in the area covered by the cycle network plan which includes counties Dublin, Meath, Kildare, and Wicklow.
As we reported already, no funding estimates or time frames are included in the plan as these are “to be addressed as part of a separate investment funding process.” However the Dublin City estimated was reviled to councillors at a traffic and transport committee meeting last week.
“It’s a pretty major investment to look at us doing about 100km of cycle track. You’re looking at a potential expenditure in the region €70 – €80 million if all the projects we’re looking at doing get accepted for National Transport Authority (NTA) funding,” said Brendan O’Brien, head of technical services of the roads and traffic department at the council.
The council are currently in the process of setting out their priority a 5-year programme for cycling projects and this will feed into the NTA funding programme.
“The ambition of this plan is to get to 25% modal share [of all trips] for cycling. Depending on which way you count it, we’re at 7-8% at the moment. If we were to get to 25% it would have a phenomenal impact on congestion and that would speed up journeys for everybody,” said Montague. “Our city centre and suburbs would be much more attractive places to be – quieter, less pollution and a lot of people would be healthier and fitter. So, it is something worth striving towards.”
“You’re talking about spending €70-€80 million, but we’re about to spend about to €350 million on Luas and we won’t get as many passengers as we would get if we get this 25% on bikes,” added Montague.
“It’s good value for money, well worth the investment and a good long term investment,” he said.