Yes, the Liffey Cycle Route public consultation was widely publicised

COMMENT & ANALYSIS: Public consultation on the Liffey Cycle Route was widely publicised — we’ve reported that line a few times, but people who object to the project are not happy with this line.

In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, as aliens called the Vogons are on the verge of destroying Earth, they tell humans down below them that: “There’s no point in acting all surprised about it. All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for fifty of your Earth years so you’ve had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaints and it’s far too late to start making a fuss about it now.”

Liffey Cycle Route objectors have claimed that because the drawings for the project were published on Dublin City Council’s cycling website, cycledublin.ie, that means nobody could find them — it was only aimed at cyclists. We’re led to believe that it was like the Vogons. But the Liffey route’s online consultation was light years easier to find than the local planning department in Alpha Centauri.

Dublin City Council also featured the consultation on its main homepage at dublincity.ie, and for longer at its consultation hub at consultation.dublincity.ie (this is where the consultation actual took place online). The council also mentioned it a few times on social media, including its main accounts and sub-accounts such as LiveDrive. These have significant numbers of followers.

But does the council’s website and social media accounts count as widely publicised? Not half.

The media picked up on the story in a big way before the consultation started, including RTE who reported in detail on how “New cycle tracks that could displace cars and buses from sections of Dublin’s quays are being proposed by the city council”.  The coverage after the consultation went live was extensive…

On March 19, 2015, The Irish Times published a story “Public called on to choose a Liffey cycle route” — it included two links to cycledublin.ie. On the same day, UTV.ie had a similar story: “Council wants feedback on proposed Liffey cycle route“, which linked directly to the Liffey Cycle Route page on cycledublin.ie. 98FM also ran a story with the inviting headline: “Have Your Say On New Liffey Cycle Route“, and, you guessed it, that too linked to cycledublin.ie.

Articles were also published by local newspapers, including the Dublin People (now off line for some reason) and the Evening Herald. It was also featured on the homepage of events website dublineventguide.com.

The Dublin city centre business organisation, Dublin Town, featured it on their consumer-facing website and their social media accounts, also with significant numbers of followers.

Social media posts covering it included ones from a wide range of accounts, including: North Wall Community Development Project, HappeningsIRE, the Rediscovery Centre in Ballymun; the Canal Partnership; CISireland.com; Coillte; Exchange Dublin, Irish Architecture Foundation, and a solicitors firm based in Dublin 5. Many other accounts retweeted or shared the links.

City councillors and many members of the public also shared direct links and links to articles on the consultation.

Reminders were also posted by the city council, DublinTown and The Irish Times even ran a reminder article: “Last day for submissions on segregated Liffey cycle route“.

This is the most widely covered public consultation we have ever seen — it was covered by local and national media, on the websites of a number of groups, and by many, many social media accounts.

10 Comments

  1. and yet that’s not enough, the public consultation system as it is doesn’t work, don’t tell me it does

  2. The public consultation system is generally far from perfect, but in this case it was widely publicised — more so than any other project I’ve seen and I’ve seen a lot of public consultations.

  3. yet people can still miss them, they should put up public notices along the route and leaflets to the people homes and business atleast those directly next to it, you may want to argue for the Liffey cyclie route but you can’t argue the public consutlation system as it is, works.

  4. Even if this was only aimed at cyclists, which you have very comprehensively proven is utter rubbish, are we to believe that this grassroots organisation doesn’t have a single cyclist in it?

    Anyone who didn’t want to know about this didn’t want to know. It’s hard to believe that they could have missed all those notices mentioned in the article and if they had any interest they could very easily have found out everything they wanted to know.

  5. The public consultation system does not work as well as it theoretically could mostly because of human nature. No matter how well explained, accessible and publicized a public project is, people will perceive it as complex and bureaucratic until a simplifying (in this case negative) spin is put on it by vested interests to provoke the reaction and hence the outcome they desire.

  6. I didn’t see it in the Northside News therefore the consultation process was unfair. /S

    This whole episode is mind-boggling. There was public consultation process which was well publicised. And yet despite the outcome being in-line with the will of the vast majority, we still have this backtracking. Whilst I’m not in favor of the tyranny of the majority and whilst rights of minorities should always be protected, there was a fair process in this case. These things are never going to be to everyone’s liking, but it’s beyond credulity that those living in affected areas wouldn’t have known.

    For the love of Odin, we NEED to change our city. We NEED to break our dependence on private car usage. Having more people cycle and less people driving will have very real and demonstrable positive effects on all our lives. It will enrich our city and make it more livable. At the moment kids can’t play outside for fear of death or serious injury. And this isn’t a ‘oh won’t someone think of the children’ ploy. This is simply that children not being able to play outside is a barometer of how livable and healthy our environment is. That affects ALL of us.

  7. There is no such thing as a “perfect” public consultation process. In fairness to the council, this scheme got a lot of publicity across a range of media. This was clear when you see the level of responses received. I think the consultation process did work.

    What is most disappointing is that the report that the scheme is halting due to what looks like misinformation by some parties. I can understand where there might be some uncertainty around changes to traffic flow. However, there will also be some significant gains. This balance needs to be recognised.

    We need to be ambitious as a city, and a nation. We have to progress and improve our city space for all citizens and not be held back by what is a small minority.

  8. the public consultation system isn’t just imperfect it simply doesn’t work.

  9. “the public consultation system isn’t just imperfect it simply doesn’t work.”

    Stating something as true does not make it so, and this is simply not true. In this case the public consultation system has worked pretty much as well as such a system could hope to work.

    Just because you don’t like the outcome of a process does not make it invalid. People had ample opportunity to object to a widely publicised consultation. They did not do so at the time. A campaign of misinformation followed and the project got torpedoed.

    Is that a better way for things to work in your opinion?

  10. who said I did or didn’t like the outcome of the process? I’m not just talking about this cycle lane? i’ve already suggested improvements

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