Petition to save trees in Fairview reaches nearly 12,000 signatures

— There are alternatives to cutting Fairview trees, says cycling advocates.

Cycling campaigners describe the existing conditions between Dublin City Centre and Clontarf as highly unsatisfactory for cycling in both directions, but say it can be upgraded without cutting down trees in Fairview.

IrishCycle.com understands that councillors were told last week that the petition to save the trees included “a large number of petitioners are cyclists who are broadly satisfied with the existing cycleways on this stretch” — but campaigners and most related comments left on petition disagree with this.

An examination of the reasons for signing shows that only a minority of signatories say that the existing cycle route is adequate and few of those self-identify as cyclists. Advocates say many people will not cycle on the existing route, will not allow their children to cycle on it, and will discourage people they know from cycling on it because of their reasonable view that it is unsafe and non-continuous.

IMAGE: The cycle route along the edge of the park at Fairview stops and starts, is often sub-standard in width, and includes obstacles (like bus stops) which forces people cycling and walking into the same space.

When the planned cycle route was at public consultation back in March, all categories of groups who made submissions — including the general public, businesses, councillors, and cycling groups — stated a preference for a fully segregated two-way cycle path.

However, Dublin City Council has opted to argue against the concept of two-way cycle paths and continues to plan a non-continuous route which will be interrupted by experimental mixing zones with buses at bus stops and no protection at most junctions.

Colm Ryder, chairperson of Cyclist.ie and secretary of the Dublin Cycling Campaign, said: “Dublin Cycling Campaign continually advocates for safe and serviceable cycle routes for all ages and abilities” and said it was “patently not the case” that the route was adequate.

Ryder added: “Dublin City requires major transportation changes to help it to move into the 21st century, to reduce its level of noxious fumes, and to help meet our climate change targets. If necessary a solution to the ‘tree’ problem in Fairview must be found that works.”

Donna Cooney, Green Party Clontarf area representative, said: “Our submissions looked for a proper segregated two way cycle way that did not require the removal of the trees,”

In a recent statement Cooney said: “They are making a mess of this whole process. There are alternative designs which would allow the trees to remain in place, and would create a safer path for cyclists.”

She added: “These trees are over a century old and are of significant historical significance. Nationalist and Unionist communities came together in 1908 to plant these trees, and they would go on to inspire public policy around reforestation and tree planting in the country. The planting ceremony even made the front page of the Irish Times on Arbor Day in 1908. It would be a terrible mistake to cut them down.”

5 Comments

  1. Not sure why the council insists on choosing the most difficult and damaging option possible every time there are plans drawn up for cycle lanes. We NEED a full cycle network in this city with suburbs like Fairview linked to the city centre by proper segregated lanes but NOT at the expense of the historical character and use to other members of the public in public spaces like Fairview Park. There is no reason to cut down these trees when there is a five lane road where space can be take from the very thing we are trying to encourage people to give up in favour of bike – private cars. I understand that plans for more cycle lanes on the left hand side of each direction of the road were dismissed because there were too many side roads that acted as obstacles. In cases like this side cycle lanes are never going to work and can’t easily be segregated due to bus stops and loading bays. Instead the council should install a two way cycle lane in the MIDDLE of the existing road, taking up the space of what would be essentially one lane of traffic. Middle lanes can be entirely segregated, and cyclists and motorists adhere to traffic laws that apply to junctions, rather than constantly looking behind them to make sure no one is going to turn left in front of them at the next side street. These lanes work really well in Barcelona on streets with the same space and landscape (surrounded by trees, parks and residential areas). Examples below:

    https://farm7.staticflickr.com/6086/6046395232_4ea0e96987.jpg
    https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRLO5Uz0llucoJY7TsJDFlGbp4jh-HHJhivDksKiAyiGd9JonNNBA

    Like I said we NEED a fully integrated cycle network in this city and a new way to think about how to install that network, but it should NOT be achieved at the expense of these trees which add to the citizens enjoyment of the space they are in, and have environmental benefits beside carbon choked roads. None of the local cycling activist groups support this decision, cyclists don’t want this. I’m tired of the progress in this city apparently having to come at a price for the historical and aesthetic character of the town. It doesn’t have to be this way and it shouldn’t. Dublin City Council, find better solutions to these problems. Dubliners deserve both beautiful park spaces AND sustainable alternatives to cars. We can do both if you try to think outside the usual boxes.

  2. @Laura, there’s ample space inside or outside the trees, the centre of road cycle lanes require larger buffers and thus more space, not less space.

  3. 5 lanes for cars is crazy. Give one to 2 way cycle lane which can be segregated from the other 4.

  4. @Laura Hmm, I’m not sure I’d want to cycle down the center of a road with cars on both sides of me. As it is, I don’t like them on one side of me, even when it’s segregated.

    As for other considerations, I’ve never seen a center-lane segregated cycle-track in NL, so I wouldn’t be in favor of trying something like that. I’s much rather follow the Dutch model. They’ve managed to produce a system that works, so they’re the ones I’d personally prefer to follow.

    I agree with all else you said. A fully segregated NETWORK is what’s needed, not just a few disparate non-connected cycle-lanes. DCC, NRA, the government need to f-ing wake up to what’s needed and get it done. Invest in sustainable modes of transport not the failed experiment that is the private car as a means of mass urban transport.

  5. There are many options which should be looked at for Fairview and the City Council should have produced a study setting them out. Others include a) putting the bus lanes in the centre of the road with island bus stops connected to the sides by pedestrian crossings, and b) having a segregated access lane on the west side of the road for bicycles and other vehicles accessing shops etc. The apparent reason that these options haven’t been looked at is that the City Council decided very early in the process that the current carriageway width (6 lanes/ 5 lanes) has to remain to maintain the capacity for cars.

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