Dublin City Council’s transport and traffic committee last Wednesday asked council staff to re-examine all options for the Liffey Cycle Route, rather than focus on the preferred option from public consultation.
Committee chairman, Cllr Ciarán Cuffe (Green Party) said that there was serious urban design issues with option 3 which was the preferred option chosen by Dublin City residents and commuters who responded to the first round of public consultation. Further public consultation is expected when, or if, the project reaches Part 8 planning.
Council officials and the council’s consultants are now to look at issues raised regarding the all options and reevaluate the options before reporting back to councilors in September. As we reported earlier in the week, wo-way cycle route options were supported by 80% of respondents, while the bulk of that support (48%) was for option 3. It’s unclear if any option will be progressed in detail at this stage, as the council had planned to do.
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Cllr Frank Kennedy (Fianna Fail) said “like a lot of other councillors” he has been contacted by apartment block management companies based on Benburb Street “raise a lot of concerns” which the council should try to alleviate.
Cllr Paddy McCartan (Fine Gael) said he that some individuals had complained to councillors that they were unaware of the public consultation “but it was well highlighted in the media and on television as well.” He suggested that the committee should walk the site to get a better perspective on the project before recommending anything to the wider council.
Cllr Ciarán Cuffe said that the consultation was “flawed” — he said that the detailed drawings took a long time to download so were inaccessible. He said: “What people did see was four images, one of which was bright green and kids practically holding balloons in it and the other three were fairly grey and dreary and I think that influenced the consultation. And I think the consultation was flawed from that perspective. I feel quite strongly on this, possibly because I favour option 1 and I see that option 3 was strongly supported.”
Cuffe added: “I have real concerns about option 3, the Croppy Acre option. There are deep unresolved urban design issues around running a major roadway around three sides of a park and I’m not convinced that they are solvable. I’m very conscious that it’s engineering led and, as far as I can see, we don’t have somebody with an urban design perspective looking at this proposal in detail.”
He said he lives nearby so has studied the plans in detail, and highlighted how the plan would dissect part of one section of a small current park.
Cllr Ciarán O’Moore (Sinn Fein), Cllr Mannix Flynn (independent) and Cllr Teresa Keegan (independent) agreed with an on-site meeting. Cllr Paul Hand (independent) suggested to have experts on hand to explain the historical significance of the area.
Derek Peppard, the Dublin Cycling Campaign rep on the committee, said he would be concerned with delaying the project after there was such an “overwhelming support” for it. He said: “The whole idea of putting a cycle route down the quays would be outrageous 10 years ago and now there’s powerful support for it. I’m just mindful of the negative fact of blocking it, because it is hard enough to get these things through.”
Peppard said that the council officials should be allowed to proceed working on the detail of the project.
Cllr Kieran Binchy (Fine Gael) said he questioned the general idea of deferring but said he would not oppose it. While Cllr Jane Horgan-Jones (Labour) said that if it is deferred that more than just walking about the site should be done in the three months.
Brendan O’Brien from the Dublin City Council transport division said that the council received far more public input from this public consultation compared to practically any other consultation they have done. He said said that they had intended to look mainly at the preferred route, option 3, and that the report on the consultation was mainly to keep the councillors informed. But, because of the reservations expressed, he was now looking for guidance from councillors on how to proceed.
The chairman of the committee, Cllr Cuffe, asked the council officials to look at all the options in more detail and to report back to the committee at their next meeting in September. He also requested that a presentation be made to councillors at the relevant local area committee in early July and to have a site visit around the same time.
The council committee meeting webcast can be watched back at dublincity.public-i.tv, any time in the next 12 months.
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