Majority of businesses objecting to Liffey Cycle Route own car parks

Four out of the six letters from businesses objecting to the Liffey Cycle Route sent to the manager of Dublin City Council were written by companies with a business interest in car parks, Freedom of Information documents show.

It follows the trend of car park owners objecting to previous sustainable transport projects, including the now-successful College Green Bus Gate.

The six businesses and business groups who wrote the letters are: Club Travel (better known as Budget Travel), Park Rite, Parking Ireland, Retail Excellence Ireland, Ilac Centre, and Brown Thomas.

Two politicians contacted Keegan’s office — Terence Flanagan TD (FF) on behalf of an unnamed individual and Cllr Tom Brabazon (FF) on behalf of Club Travel. The full letters are available to read below this article.

Correspondences referring to the walking and cycle route which was sent last year to the city’s CEO, Owen Keegan, were released to IrishCycle.com under the Freedom of Information Act. Final four options for a cycle route from the Phoenix Park to the Point is due to be presented to a full sitting of Dublin City Council next Monday, March 2, before being put on public consultation.

We had previously reported that Brown Thomas and Club Travel / Budget Travel were objecting to the cycle route, but the businesses were redacted in the files originally released to us, however, on Friday, the council released versions of the letters without redactions in the business letters.

Three of the letters sent to Keegan seem to use a template, with few edits. One of these were from Parking Ireland which says it represents “all interested stakeholder in the parking sector in Ireland”; a second letter is from Park Rite which operates a large number of car parks around Dublin; and a third is from the Ilac Centre shopping centre off Henney Street, whose large car park is run by Park Rite.

These letters were signed by Keith Gavin, chairman of Parking Ireland; Mark Feeny, genral manager of Park Rite; and Andrew Diggins, director of the Ilac Centre.

Brown Thomas — which has a strong history of objecting to sustainable transport projects —  licenses its name to car park, the Brown Thomas Car Park. The retailer’s managing director, Stephen Sealey, claimed he supported sustainable transport but said he was “horrified” by the planned route.

Retail Excellence Ireland says on its website that it represents “over 1,100 leading retail companies who operate more than 11,500 stores in Ireland”. It adds: “Our members are the most progressive and innovative retailers. REI is by far the largest retail industry body in Ireland.” It however does not list its current members on its website.

David Fitzsimons, chief executive of Retail Excellence Ireland, wrote: “Many retailers in the North City area sell bulky goods which necessitate car journeys into the heart of the City Centre.” He added that the cycle route would do “untold damage” — a claim which the city manager rejects.

Club Travel, better known for its Budget Travel brand, is a travel agent with its retail headquarters at the Luas stop on Lower Abbey Street. Liam Lonergan, one of Club’s directors, suggested putting the cycle lanes on footpaths or on a boardwalk which he says is “much safer” than the plan by the council.

Under FOI there are no grounds to blank out business names, unlike personal information relating to individuals which can be more easily redacted or outright refused under Data Protection legislation. IrishCycle.com made it clear that its main focus was on busineses and groups, not the views of individuals.

London recently approved similar cross-city cycle routes. While some retailers complained about the plans by mayor Boris Johnson, the route was backed by over 170 employers including large firms such as Microsoft, Deloitte, Penguin Random House, Royal Bank of Scotland, Coca-Cola and Unilever.

Keegan replied to the letters saying that: “…the City Council is very conscious of the importance of maintaining car access to the city centre in general and to the Abbey St / Henry Street / O’Connell Street area in particular, especially outside peak commuting periods, in order to support retail activity.”

He acknowledge that there are “certain trips to the city centre for which the car is not only the preferred but the only viable transport option.” However, he said that Luas Cross City, which is already under construction from St Stephen’s Green to Broombridge just south of Finglas, will reduce the road capacity in the city centre and the cycle route will help traffic to flow.

MORE: Full coverage of radical changes to improve Dublin’s Liffey quays
MORE: Public to have say on four options for Liffey Cycle Route
MORE: Dublin City manager says quays cycle path will help traffic flow
MORE: High-end retailer “horrified” that Liffey Cycle Route will take space from motorists
MORE: Brown Thomas against quays cycle route; wants cheap parking but licenses its name to car park charging more than city council

Below are the letters objecting to the Liffey Cycle Route sent from car park owners and other businesses to the CEO of Dublin City Council — the response from the city manager is detailed in this article and within this PDF file of combined letters released.

Terence Flanagan TD:

Terence Flanagan TD

Cllr Tom Brabazon, on behalf of Club Travel:

Cllr Tom Brabazon

 

Club Travel: (white space on released letter cropped)

Club Travel

 

Park Rite:

Park Rite

Parking Ireland:

Parking Ireland

Retail Excellence Ireland:

Retail Excellence Ireland

Ilac Centre: (white space on released letter cropped)

Ilac Centre

Brown Thomas:

Brown Thomas

 

RELEASED: North Quay Cycle Route FOI (PDF)
MORE: Full coverage of radical changes to improve Dublin’s Liffey quays
MORE: Public to have say on four options for Liffey Cycle Route
MORE: Dublin City manager says quays cycle path will help traffic flow
MORE: High-end retailer “horrified” that Liffey Cycle Route will take space from motorists
MORE: Brown Thomas against quays cycle route; wants cheap parking but licenses its name to car park charging more than city council

5 Comments

  1. This is great research on the businesses and individuals speaking out against the proposed wonderful concept of a Liffey Cycle Route. It is good to be aware of those who remain to be convinced. Great reporting!

  2. Surely there are some businesses who are willing to get behind these proposals, as has happened in London?

  3. I am a business owner in Dublin city and I am very much looking forward to having cycle lanes and a pedestrian friendly city. More time = slower traffic = more customers = more business. I would like to launch a small business support network for such changes to reflect the fact that business owners are not only conservative car centric people!

  4. Anneanas…..why not link in with Dublin Cycling Campaign and the Bike Retailers Group, presently being set up. In particular the Campaign are now very active in working on a Bike Theft project with Bike retailers and Garda + Local Authorities. Check out http://www.dublincycling.ie for more info, or feel free to contact me.

  5. You guys are killing it! Keep it on!
    While countries like The Netherlands are promoting cycling, it seems that it’s starting to fall in Ireland (and Dublin specifically)

2 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Ireland’s cycling sporting body appeals to 22k members to support Liffey Cycle Route
  2. Liffey Cycle Route: Over 1,200 submissions received

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