— 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.
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.”