is reader-funded journalism. To keep it going and free-to-view, it takes people like you to act now and subscribe today for €5, €10, or €20 per month.

Royal Canal Greenway: How can a 7.5km cycle path cost over €10m?

COMMENT & ANALYSIS: A greenway for walking and cycling is planned for the Royal Canal in Dublin City, but why and, even, how is it set to cost €10-€12 million? That’s one question always asked with urban greenway projects like this. Another which is worth answering first is: Why not fix commuter routes first?

The Royal Canal Greenway is an important one for many reasons. It will link residential areas of Dublin City and its commuter belt of Dublin 15 (and further out) to the high-density employment area that is the Dublin Docklands, and less directly to parts of different parts of the city centre. Unlike many greenways, this one does serve commuters.

As a greenway it is part of Ireland’s first cross-country route, from Dublin to Galway. And it will make up part of the EuroVelo 2 route.

But… Why will it cost so much?

It’s not a case of just adding a simple layer of tarmac to the current paths. While tarmac will be added in places — foundations will likely also need to be widened, and strengthened.

But that’s a fraction of the overall cost, which includes a network of CCTV cameras, lighting along the route, drainage, and road crossings — it all add up. On top of that you have landscaping, and street furniture such as benches and bicycle racks.

However, per single item cost, far ahead of all of the above is likely going to be the cost of new bridges and ramps. New or more cycling-friendly ramps from the canal towpath to road level will be needed at a number of locations. Underpass space, where in place in the central sections, is unsuitably low and narrow, and mostly non-existent.

New bridges will be needed. One of the largest ones will cross a railway between the Docklands and North Strand Road. This section of the route is currently wasteland and will be upgraded into a park — adding to the overall cost.

It should also be mentioned that there are higher costs working in urban environments and higher again working near water and sensitive natural environments. This route has it all — a functioning canal, wildlife, and crossing major streets and roads.

So, is it all worth it?

You're read this much of the article... So, if you value our journalism, please subscribe today for €5, €10, or €20 per month.

The answer is most likely yes because the cost–benefit analysis of cycling projects is generally great compared to other projects — the benefits outweigh the costs. In this case, there’s a lot of benefits: improved health of users; providing for commuter local and regional travel with very low environmental impact; providing for mobility between high-density areas of Dublin; and providing for local and national tourism.

MORE: Royal Canal Greenway in Dublin City: First details and images of full route is reader-funded journalism. That means it's funded by readers like you.

Subscription drive update: reached its target of 270 subscribers by the end of August -- thank you to all who have helped! Our new target is to have 300 subscribers by the end of 2022 -- originally this was hoped to be exceeded by the first year of running the site full time (end of October).

If you can help push above 300 subscribers, please subscribe today for €5 or more. If you have already done so -- thank you!

Please remember, every month there's a natural drop-off in subscriptions due to people getting new cards, cards stolen, Revolut not topped up etc.

*** is a reader-funded journalism publication. Effectively it's an online newspaper covering news and analyses of cycling and related issues, including cycle route designs, legal changes, and pollical and cultural issues.

There are examples, big and small, which show that the reader-funded or listener-funding model can work to support journalism -- from the Dublin Inquirer and The Guardian to many podcasts. To make it work for, it just needs enough people like you to believe!

Monthly subscriptions will give's journalism a dependable base of support. But please don't take free access for granted. Last year had an average of 15,800 readers per month and we know our readers include people who cycle and those who don't, politicians, officials and campaigners.

I know only a small percentage of readers will see the value of keeping this open enough to subscribe, that's the reality of the reader-funded model. But more support is needed to keep this show on the road.

The funding drive was started in November 2021 and, as of the start of June 2022, 250 readers have kindly become monthly subscribers -- thank you very much to all that have!

But currently, it's only around 1.6% of readers who subscribe. So, if you can, please join them and subscribe today via

Cian Ginty

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.