Cycling route and bicycle parking projects in Dublin City need €25 million a year for next four years

— Department of Transport says there was no funding cut
— Dublin City Council agrees there’s no 2016 funding cut
— Council highlights issue of uncertainty of future funding.  

Dublin City Council has said its current cycle route funding has not been cut but it says it needs €25 million a year for next four years for cycling projects and there is uncertainty over that level of funding.

At last Monday’s monthly council meeting, Owen Keegan, the manager or CEO of Dublin City Council, had claimed that a “shock and surprise” central government walking and cycling funding cut was to blame for a number of cycling projects being postponed. The claim that central government are to blame for a delay to cycling projects was refuted by the Department of Transport.

A Department of Transport spokesman said: “The has been no change to the 2016 STMG [the National Transport Authority’s sustainable transport measures] allocation. The department has provided funding under the sustainable grant programme for the Greater Dublin Area in 2016 of €23.2M. Under this Programme Dublin City Council was allocated €11.6M in 2016.”

The National Transport Authority’s sustainable transport measures grants for the Greater Dublin Area for 2016 was announced back in March, when we reported on them.

cycling-aA statement from Dublin City Council issued to IrishCycle.com on Friday said: “The Chief Executive was referring to the uncertainty regarding the funding allocation for the cycling projects in 2017 and beyond. It is correct to say there have been no cuts to the Sustainable Traffic Management Grant budget from the Department/NTA for Dublin City Council cycling projects in 2016.  However, the majority of the current year’s allocations are for design work rather than construction activities. (The main exceptions to this are the Clontarf S to S and the Newcomen projects, both of which are in construction phase.)”

The council said it needed €25 million per year for the next four year for cycling projects just in its area — that’s more than the 2016 €23.2 million allocation for all of the Dublin area councils.

“What is uncertain at present are future funding levels – we will not be in a position to know the funding amount for construction work on cycling schemes for 2017 until final allocations are determined following the [national] Budget next month. To progress all the cycling  projects we have currently in design to construction will need funding in the order of €25 million a year for the next four years, excluding any funding for bus lanes and other sustainable traffic management measures.  This level of funding is not provided for at the moment in the medium term capital programme. However, a review of that capital plan is planned to be undertaken next year,” said the council spokesman.

grand-canal

IMAGE: The Grand Canal cycleway is one of the few investments in segregated cycle paths in Dublin city in the last 10 years

He added: “The Chief Executive did advise the Council that he was confident that the necessary funding would be forthcoming in due course. He also advised the Council that due to the need to prioritise work associated with Luas Cross City including the College Green project certain staff resources had to be diverted from a number of cycling projects. The issue here is not any cuts to existing funding but the prioritisation of projects based on the City Council’s limited staff resources and the likelihood of future funding to construct schemes becoming available.”

The council said that work on the Liffey Cycle route and the Amiens Street to Fairview / Clontarf cycle routes is continuing as these are “critical city centre projects”, a reference to the city centre transport study changes due next year including Luas Cross City and linked bus priority measures on the Liffey quays and the College Green Plaza. It also said these routes already have high numbers of users who cycle.

“It is not unreasonable that cycling infrastructure projects be prioritised based on the number of cyclists that use them and as such cycling schemes such as the Liffey Cycle route and the Amiens Street to Fairview cycle routes are critical city centre projects which the NTA and DCC have agreed must be prioritised over other schemes,” the council said.

IrishCycle.com asked why, if projects were funded for 2016, are these projects now postponed. The council replied: “Regarding the query re where the money is going to the majority of the allowable expenditure has already occurred and that any outstanding expenditure on these schemes is expected to take place in 2017 as resource issues are addressed.”

We are waiting for a reply from the National Transport Authority.

This morning the Dublin Cycling Campaign said it was “planning an event re cycling safety & funding issues” under its #allocate4cycling campaign. It posted the following image to Twitter and Facebook:

11 Comments

  1. Sounds like gobleligook to me

  2. Thanx Cian for bringing some clarity to a confused situation. It is not good enough for the City Manager, Owen Keegan, to be making statements such as these, together with statements from Ann Graham, NTA CEO, if they are not accurate or true.
    We in the cycling community need full clarity on the ongoing budgets and staffing issues related to delivering of critical cycling projects. Priorities from Government need to be revisited and updated. Cycling needs to grow to help Ireland meet its sustainability targets, and it needs to be safe and enjoyable, through the construction of well designed and appropriate infrastructure, and the application of appropriate legal measures.

  3. how about before they spend money they run in past a cycling representative group. instead of spending money on badly designed infrastructure they could be told in advance that it wont be used because its so poorly designed and a danger to cyclists.

  4. So either Owen Keegan was being disingenuous or the whole thing was grossly misrepresented. Either way, we need much better progress on cycling infrastructure. It can no longer be the first casualty of funding gaps or resource issues. It is the single most cost-effective, inexpensive, efficient, healthy, progressive and environmentally friendly use of public resources that there is. Get on with it.

  5. I am only pondering aloud here but we do know that Roads Division is short of staff with public sector non-replacement policies still in place. I don’t think that many citizens understand how critically short of ‘capacity’ is our public service.
    I hope too that road/transport funds are not being diverted into solving the housing crisis in the city.
    But we must not forget that Cllrs decided to reduce the RPT applicable to Dublin’s residents by the maximum 15% permitted in law – that forgone sum would fund a lot of projects. Cllrs need to be reminded of this decision.

  6. Agreed. Another short-sighted populist misstep. People are starting to understand that tax reductions lead to crappy services and more inequality. Good services are what make society function effectively.

  7. Dublin house prices are the dearest in Ireland. The 15% discount is fully justifiable. the council were taking in so much money that they had to redistribute funds to other councils.

    the majority of infrastructure users within the Dublin city area live outside the council area. so why should local property owners pay taxes to provide infrastructures to others?

    I commute from the DLRCoCo area, I do not expect the LPT payers in Dublin City to pay the highest in the country to provide me with somewhere to park my bike.

  8. Which is precisely why there needs to be a single elected mayor for Greater Dublin (including areas outside the County itself) with the ability to collect LPT funds to be used to provide a balanced, comprehensive and integrated transport system for the region. That way nobody is “expected” to pay for anyone else in the way you describe, and LPT collected in the region contributes to the common good of the whole region.

  9. three of the 4 counties voted for mayor, Because of Fingal county we don’t don’t have one.
    LPT is a flawed TAX, it based on a properties current value, and does not take in account the debt owed on it or the price paid on it, so its a tax based on speculation. Also its the residents as oppose to the owner who benefit and hence should be an occupants tax.

  10. Big Phil cynically and skillfully managed to set back the cause of an Elected Mayor with his ridiculous technical stipulations most likely because it would create a rival center of power of which rural-centric conservative parties are afraid. The idea is not dead and will happen eventually. The existence of a mayor would very much help to level the playing field with regard to cohesive transport infrastructure provision.

    I agree that LPT is not perfect, though I would not agree that price paid or debt owed should be factors as they would make it extremely complex and unwieldy, not to mention contentious.

    I personally believe that a Land Value Tax would be far more equitable (though I accept that it is tricky to calculate). At the end of the day, no person made the land. At best it was appropriated by Landowners of previous generations. There should therefore be a tax to the occupier of all land so that a benefit returns to the wider public. That is of course unlikely to fly in political circles currently.

    The point I think Mike was making is that the council chose to reduce the income to which they were legally entitled thereby reducing the amount that they can spend on cycling and other progressive projects that benefit the common good. The fairness or otherwise of that method of income is an issue for Central Government, not Local government.

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