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Dutch-style cycle path on Dublin’s quays?

As reported first in The Sunday Times yesterday, Dublin City Council are to consider concepts for a Dutch-style segregated two-way cycle path along the river side of the north quays in Dublin.

The concept were drawn up at an Innovation Dublin workshop by engineers and planners from a number of state agencies and councils. The event was hosted by Dublin City Council and the Dutch Embassy, with help from Fietsberaad and the Dutch Cycling Embassy.

The council and others involved stressed that they have not committed to the concept plans and that even if one of the options were to go ahead it’s very early days — there would be a lot of work needed to look at and possibly develop these into workable plans. The council may even come up with other options.

There is however quite strong backing from for a route of this type along the quays in the Dublin City Development plan, agreed on by councillors and officials. The development plan says:

“It is an objective of Dublin City Council: …To achieve the following critical linkages within the lifetime of the development plan…”

“To provide a continuous cycleway connecting the Phoenix Park and HeustonStation to the proposed S2S route along the city’s quays in consultation with theOffice of Public Works”

This would have a huge potential to link up a large amount of areas for cycling commuters, shoppers, and tourists who currently avoid the quays. It would like up major commuter routes as well as inner city areas with Phoenix Park, Heuston Station, the Guinness Store House, the Criminal Courts, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the National History Museum at Collins Barracks, Smithfield, the Four Courts, the Fruit Markets, Henry Street shopping area, Temple Bar, O’Connell Street, Tara Street, the IFSC and the O2 at the Point Village.

The develoment plan also backs the idea of making cycling attractive to people of all ages and abilities:

“The vision for cycling is to make Dublin a city where people of all ages and abilities have the confidence, incentive and facilities to cycle so that by 2017.”

I’ve mapped a very roughly outline of the two early options. Click images for larger versions.


Both concept cycle route options use a two-way cycle track on the riverside of the north quays. The two options start at the Phoenix Park / Heuston Station, and end at the Point. The routes differ mainly in how traffic and buses are managed at pinch points along the quays.

The first route option diverts motorists off the quays at two points. The second route option reverts the south quays to two-way traffic and diverts westbound buses onto bus priority measures on College Green, Dame Street and Christchurch before rejoining the quays after Christchurch.

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Option one:

South quays remain unchanged. On the north quays the current general are diverted off the quays Wolfe Tone Quay at Liffey Street West onto the back streets along the along the Luas red line — Benburb Street, Arran Quay Terrace and Hammond Lane, until Church Street where traffic rejoins the quays at Inns Quay.

Thought traffic is then diverted off the quays at Lower Ormond Quay onto Jervis Street. Motorists wishing to travel to the Docklands are diverted around O’Connell Street using
Jervis Street, Parnell Street, and Lower Gardiner Street. General traffic rejoins the quays after Custom House Quay. Bus lanes are improved and made continuous from Wolfe Tone Quay to North Wall Quay, possibly up to Bus Rapid Transit standard.

Option two:

The south quays are reverted to two-way for general traffic from Victoria Quay to George’s Quay. Eastbound buses are the only traffic allowed to use the north quays as a through route from Wolfe Tone Quay to the start of North Wall Quay. Westbound buses are diverted off the quays at or before D’Olier Street. Bus priority measures are
strengthened on a route using College Green, Dame Street, Christchurch, High Street and Bridge Street. Buses then rejoin the quays at Usher’s Quay and travel on the current bus lane along side the two-way traffic to Victoria Quay. is reader-funded journalism. That means it's funded by readers like you.

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Cian Ginty


  1. Hopefully this will be put in place soon as it is very bad Traffic at Rush Hour along the Quays Nth and Sth totally unsuitable and dangerous for Cycling at moment. I was annoyed when they took away the 30KM limit on part of the Quays. I would prefer if they banned Vehicular Traffic entirely on the Quays or only allowed Buses at 20KM . I hope a decent Cycle Path is put in without the Dublin City Council intervering with the Original Dutch Cycling concept and Pandering to the Motorist like they normally do. They got the Sam Beckett Bridge wrong did they not,designed it for Motorists then put in an inadequate Cycle Path afterwards.

  2. Fantastic proposal. Actually, for option one, once traffic hits Capel Street it is in the 30kmph zone and there are still two lanes inbound so – reallocating one of these to bikes – there would be no need for the traffic diversion at Jervis Street, making this solution a very simple and effective one.

  3. Unfortunately it seems the more space that bus drivers have the faster and more reckless they get. I’m delighted with the suggestion of this initiative but the smarter travel plan to educate bus drivers seem to be amiss. They are the main reason I don’t cycle along the quays (and don’t walk on Aston quay! Another scary near-miss last week).

  4. Why dont we just push cyclists onto the river boardwalk as it is. Remove the footpath on the river side of the quays, Let me cyclists in onto the board walk. Leave traffic as it is.

    We’ve seen some improvement in traffic over the past few years on the quays then these bunch of idiots come along and decide to make life harder for motorists? WTF

    • Some traffic improvement? How come cars still grind to a snail’s pace daily for large parts of the day on much of the quays?

      It’s not about improving things for one group or another, it’s about making the best use of the space and moving the most amount of people, and making the city a more attractive and healthy place for people who live, work and visit the area.

      The boardwalk is not suitable for cycling on and the footpaths cannot be removed as they are needed to access the boardwalks.


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