Owen Keegan, the recently appointed manager of Dublin City Council, has said that the city council does not have to apologise for its plans for a walking and cycle route on the city’s north quays.
Details of the improvements, which includes a two-way segregated cycle route and a reduction in general traffic lanes, are expected to be presented to councilors within weeks. The overall idea to improve cycling and walking conditions, however, is already an objective of the city’s development plan.
Keegan’s comments to The Irish Times seem to be in response to the newspapers’ negative and motoring-focused approach to the story.
Calling the project “inevitable”, Keegan told the newspaper: “It is not something that we have to apologise for.” He said that cycling has to be for the “unbrave as well”.
As IrishCycle.com reported at the start of this year after ‘key stakeholder’ consultation for the project, the head of one of the city’s business groups called the latest outline designs “a well structured plan that will work for all”.
Richard Guiney, CEO of the Dublin City Business Improvement District, tweeted in January: “NTA & @DubCityCouncil plan for new cycle route from Heuston St to The Point is a well structured plan that will work for all.”
The latest plan is less radical than some of the original options for the route. One option had included moving most private traffic off the north quays, but this was deemed to be a step too far.
The project is not just about cycling, for example: The current setup on the quays makes it difficult to walk or travel with a wheelchair or pram along the river-side of the quays. This should be addressed as part of the project.
The Irish Times reports that the “ultimate goal is to increase the number of commuter journeys by bike from 4 per cent to 10 per cent by 2020”, however these figures no not correspond to the current or target modal share for Dublin City.
According to the 2011 Census, cyclists now accounts for nearly 8% of commuters in Dublin City and the city’s well publicised cycling target is 20-25% by 2020.
Cycling modal share for all of Co Dublin is 5.1%. A detailed breakdown by area can be found at here.
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A survey of Dublin councilors in 2013 found strong support for reconfiguring the quays for a cycle route, as well as support generally for replacing parking and traffic lanes with segregated cycle paths.