Part 8 public consultation for cycle routes is “overridden” by updated regulations

— Change may affect projects across the country
— Drops Planning Act requirements for public consultation and public display of plans for cycle projects and other road and street upgrades

Dublin City Council officials confirmed that they have received a letter from the National Transport Authority telling the council it should not use the statutory public consultation process known as Part 8 for cycle routes and other road changes, which do not include extending roads or demolition.

Part 8 includes a legal requirement to advertise projects with site notices and newspaper advertisements, and for the plans to be made available for public inspection.

Feedback for the public, groups such as cycling campaigns, and elected councillors would then be taken into account and councillors would vote on the proposals.

“We have been in receipt in correspondents from the NTA… what the NTA has brought to our attention is that there is an ammement in the regulations,” said Brendan O’Brien of Dublin City Council’s traffic department.

He added: “Under the road traffic act a road is what we call building line to building line, or edge of front garden to front garden. A road includes the footpath either side and the roadway. So, as long as you’re not doing any work to widen that, within that if you’re putting a bus lane and a cycle track… it’s not a question that we can decide… the clear advice from the NTA is that we can’t, the regulations have changed to specifically exclude this from the planning act.”

He said Part 8s for the Royal and Grand Canal cycle routes will proceed as these are outside the boundary of current roads.

The issue was raised at a meeting of the Dublin City Council traffic committee by Cllr Mannix Flynn, who said he had seen a copy of the letter.

Cllr Flynn told IrishCycle.com that the move would be “less democratic” because Part 8 had a legal requirement for public consultation and included the oversight of the councillors, who made the final call.

At the transport committee, Cllr Flynn questioned council officials if the Part 8 process will be “overridden” and if projects “will no longer be be brought about by Part 8 but by the NTA and their ruling.”

3 Comments

  1. This is not necessarily a bad thing as what I have seen from public consultation regarding traffic changes shows delays and focusing on minority of protesters (be it very vocal) in a street to block a wider project. What we need though is someone with vision and the balls to see it through and that is lacking greatly in the NRA or DCC.

  2. Cian….I have to admit I am not happy with the misleading headline on this piece! In reality, much of this is already taking place, and most of it for the better, where cyclists are concerned. Road resurfacing has taken place in quite a few locations around Dublin City, and in many locations the engineers have taken a decision to widen the cycle lane out. This is a real positive, but is of course dependant on the Council attitude! I can see where it might easily be misused, but its a case of being vigilant, and as Sam above says there are no major planning delays on the issue – schemes can be activated more easily! It will be important to feed into the design through being active in he Local Authorities’ Transport Committees, and where they exist Cycle Forums

  3. Just to be clear: The “overridden” comment is from Cllr Flynn (for clarity, I’ve made that clearer in the article text) and Brendan O’Brien confirmed that the NTA are clear that the city can no longer use Part 8 for the outlined type of projects. So, I’m unclear how the headline is misleading.

    According to those who have seen the letter, this goes far beyond road resurfacing and making relatively minor changes to lane widths (as required by the National Cycle Manual). I say relatively minor because making lanes wider in line with the outlined standards is quite different to changing the nature of a street or road by inserting or deleting a bus lane, cycle lane, or cycle path.

    Schemes being activated more easily — where that means no requirement for engagement with the public set out in regulations, and no legally-binding last-word type oversight from elected officials — is looking for trouble. For two reasons:

    1. One of the most common complaints from the public and elected officials is a lack of meaningful public consultation. So, even if every council official is geared towards the best practice of cycle path design, there should still be a requirement to at least somewhat convince the public and bring councillors along with you.

    2. Feedback from the Part 8 process has led to notable improvements for cycling (and walking) conditions. It was only in the last week or two where somebody linked to the Blackrock bypass final design, which is far from perfect but is an notable improvement over the Part 8 consultation design.

    Part 8 has issues, but making the radical change of dropping the current system for projects which don’t include road widening is a poor substitute for reform or streamlining the system in a coherent way nationally.

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