— Change may affect projects across the country
— Drops Planning Act requirements for public consultation and public display of plans for cycle projects and other road and street upgrades
Dublin City Council officials confirmed that they have received a letter from the National Transport Authority telling the council it should not use the statutory public consultation process known as Part 8 for cycle routes and other road changes, which do not include extending roads or demolition.
Part 8 includes a legal requirement to advertise projects with site notices and newspaper advertisements, and for the plans to be made available for public inspection.
Feedback for the public, groups such as cycling campaigns, and elected councillors would then be taken into account and councillors would vote on the proposals.
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“We have been in receipt in correspondents from the NTA… what the NTA has brought to our attention is that there is an ammement in the regulations,” said Brendan O’Brien of Dublin City Council’s traffic department.
He added: “Under the road traffic act a road is what we call building line to building line, or edge of front garden to front garden. A road includes the footpath either side and the roadway. So, as long as you’re not doing any work to widen that, within that if you’re putting a bus lane and a cycle track… it’s not a question that we can decide… the clear advice from the NTA is that we can’t, the regulations have changed to specifically exclude this from the planning act.”
He said Part 8s for the Royal and Grand Canal cycle routes will proceed as these are outside the boundary of current roads.
The issue was raised at a meeting of the Dublin City Council traffic committee by Cllr Mannix Flynn, who said he had seen a copy of the letter.
Cllr Flynn told IrishCycle.com that the move would be “less democratic” because Part 8 had a legal requirement for public consultation and included the oversight of the councillors, who made the final call.
At the transport committee, Cllr Flynn questioned council officials if the Part 8 process will be “overridden” and if projects “will no longer be be brought about by Part 8 but by the NTA and their ruling.”