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Bike scheme advertising questioned

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON DUBLINOBSERVER.COM (2010-2012)

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DublinbikesAdvertising funding the Dublin Bikes scheme was called a “horrendous” obstruction for pedestrians by a city councillor last night.

Councillors of Dublin City Council were debating the proposed Outdoor Advertising Strategy at a meeting on the draft development plan.

“I don’t doubt of a moment that the Dublin Bikes scheme has being a success but I have always said that the cost of selling our public space on our footpaths for me was always too high and I think we need to have a full and rigorous assessment of that,” said former lord mayor Cllr Emer Costello (Labour).

Cllr Andrew Montague (Labour), one of the main promoters of the on-street bicycle rental system, responded: “[Some councillors] have been strongly against the advertising policy going back some time so they are being consistent here, but if we followed their advice we wouldn’t have Dublin Bikes.”

Dublin Bikes is rated as the most successful on-street bicycle rental system, with over 31,000 long-term and 10,000 short-term subscribers.

Funded by extra street advertising, the council is to proceed with providing 100 new bikes, extra capacity at current stations, and new stations at Smithfield, Eccles Street, Harcourt Terrace, and Charlemont Mall.

Montague said, “I think its being one of the most successful things the city has done in a long time. And I think we have to pay for the bikes scheme, and everybody wants the bikes but nobody wants to pay for them. I think the advertising is the right way to pay for them and we should continue with the advertising.”

Cutting in, lord mayor Cllr Gerry Breen (FG), said: “I think you’re not being fair dragging a successful bike scheme and what affect the pay back for that bike scheme may have on the city. For me there would still be questions over the cost of the bike scheme.”

He added: “We’re all for apple pie and sunshine, but there are issues around the scheme.”

Cllr Mannix Flynn (Independent) said “I’m totally pro the Dublin Bike scheme and have always been from the moment it started. The questions I raised before I was a councillor on the radio were in relation to the contract that was made between Dublin City Council and JCDecaux. I was always pro the bike scheme but always concerned about the contract.”

Flynn said, “We’re simply looking for the best possible place for the pedestrians to walk without horrendous obstructions in their way, which are on the footpath now at the moment in the guise of the JCDecaux advertising, which serve no purpose what so ever, understand me: none.”

Agreeing with the link between the bicycles and adverts, Cllr Michael Conaghan (Labour) said, “I think Cllr Montague was perfectly right to draw the linkage between the bike scheme and the advertising matter that has been raised. There are some people in favour of the bike scheme in theory but in practise the JCDecaux intervention has enabled that scheme to happen. It’s one thing to be in favour of something in theory, but to make it happen you need hard cash.”

Meanwhile, Cllr Christy Burke (Independent) brought up the issue of advertising on hoardings with tables outside pubs blocking footpaths. City manager, John Tierney, said this is a matter for the roads and transport department within the council. It rents footpath space under the condition that sufficient space is left for pedestrians, and any issues should be reported to them.

The manager suggested that the Outdoor Advertising Strategy be kept in the draft development plan and for it to be put out for public consultation and then returned to the council later this year for further debate before the plan is fully adopted. This approach was agreed.

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON DUBLINOBSERVER.COM (2010-2012)

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