— Gardai say council sanctioned use of cycle paths as coach parking
— Location designated as coach parking for events and matches at Croke Park
— Coach industry complains large venues built without coach parking
Cycle paths at the start of the northern section of the Sutton to Sandycove cycle route were “suspended” for the “safe loading and unloading” of coaches serving recent Bruce Springsteen concerts at Croke Park, Gardai have said.
“Sanction was sought and granted from Dublin City Council for the suspension of the cycle lanes on both nights of these concerts to allow Alfie Byrne Road to be utilised as a drop off and collection point for coaches. This was to allow for the safe loading and unloading of patrons to and from the concerts,” said Sergeant Jim Molloy, at the Garda press office.
IrishCycle.com contacted the Garda press office after a reader sent us photographs taken a week ago of coach parking on the Alfie Byrne Road. A coach driver who spoke to our reader told him that the parking was sanctioned by the Gardai.
The location is over 1km from stadium and is understood to have replaced previous coach parking at the central locations including the historic setting of Mountjoy Square, which was disallowed for coach parking after residents and others objected.
Three Twitter users, some using the #freethecyclelanes hashtag, also highlighted coach parking on the cycle paths at Alfie Byrne Road last year on July 24 — a date which corresponds to an Ed Sheeran concert at Croke Park.
Cllr Ciarán Cuffe (Green Party), a city centre councillor and chairman of the city’s transport committee, said: “The issue [of the most recent cycle path closure] didn’t come before SPC. Had it been brought to Committee’s attention I suspect we would have sought alternatives that didn’t involve closing off cycle lane.”
Cuffe added: “It is important that cycle lanes don’t become de facto parking spaces during major events. If anything we should be making more effort to encourage people to walk and cycle to such events and provide pop-up bike parking as they do in the Netherlands.”
Secure event parking is also common in some US cities. As we covered last year, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition highlighted how valet bike parking is mandated by the San Francisco city council: “Monitored bicycle parking is required for events requiring a street closure and with an anticipated number of participants greater than 2,000 (SF Administrative Code, Section 2.76). While we’re not the only bike parking solution, we pride ourselves on being the best one.”
Under the heading “Match Day & Concert Parking”, Crokepark.ie states that “There is on-street coach parking on the Alfie Byrne Road on the south side of Croke Park… Match day patrons can disembark on the Alfie Byrne Road and coaches should remain there until the return of their passengers after the event finishes. There is also a limited coach parking facility at Western Way (off the Phibsboro Road). Parking for coaches here is on a first come first served basis.”
In a submission covering moves to get coach parking out of Mountjoy Square, the Coach Tourism and Transport Council of Ireland said: “All of Dublin’s new crowd-drawing venues were built without coach parking facilities, including: Croke Park, The National Convention Centre, Aviva Stadium, The O2, and the Grand Canal Theatre. These examples of bad planning have pitted the residents of the Mountjoy Square against the coach companies, and neither should be put in this position.”
Coach Tourism and Transport Council of Ireland said that the National Transport Authority should use its powers to provide coach and bus parking facilities at State-owned depots, including Broadstone, Summerhill, Bus Aras and Donnybrook) to private bus and coach operators. It also said that all local authorities, should prioritise coach and bus parking facilities in planning permissions granted for any public amenity.
Part of the Alfie Byrne Road route is also used for car parking outside a park every Tuesday for soccer training, but users of the path complain that this illegal parking is never tackled:
— Citizen Wolf (@CitizenW0lf) May 10, 2016
IMAGES: Thanks to ‘Citizen Wolf’