Elected councillors in the south east area of Dublin City have asked Dublin City Council to assess the feasibility of introducing a Ciclovía event.
Ciclovías, which are hosted in cities around the world, are designed to let people enjoy city streets without motorised traffic, usually on a Sunday for a large number of hours and always along a free-roaming route which is usually many kilometers long.
Cllr Paddy Smyth (FG), who proposed the motion explained: “It is basically an event for which a small section of the city, in this case around Merrion Square, is closed off to vehicular traffic for a morning for cyclist, joggers, people in wheelchairs, parent’s with prams, etc, to enjoy our historic city streets without the need to worry about the threat of motor cars.”
However, many readers may be sceptical that such an event will be held in Dublin because a previously mooted car-free, monthly “Sunday street festival” and markets event never got off the ground. It was planned for last summer by lord mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn but was quickly killed off by opposition.
Last year, The Sunday Times reported that Stephen Sealey, managing director of the Brown Thomas Group, said the proposal was “yet another illustration of the council being out of touch with the real world”.
You have read this far, now please think of supporting this reader-funded journalism. The current target is to reach 20 more subscribers by the end of August: Thanks to readers like you, as of August 2, there's now 265 readers subscribed to IrishCycle.com -- that's just five short of the target. Help us surpass the target by subscribing today.
In recent years, Dublin’s Bike Week Lunchtime Cycles have also had a host of problems relating to lack of rolling road closures. This year’s Lunchtime cycle also brought a large amounts of bicycle uses in conflict with large trucks on a HGV route which is designed to keep such trucks out of the city centre. Ciclovías require fuller and longer closures, with controlled crossing points for motor traffic.
In contrast to Dublin, car-centric Los Angeles regular runs CicLAvia across a number of miles of city streets which have road closures for most of the day on a Sunday. The Los Angeles Metro transport authority, the equivalent of the Irish National Transport Authority, already plans to run two more events this year, a 6 mile route near the west coast of the city next month and an event in downtown LA in October.
This time there might be more success in Dublin because the streets being proposed by Cllr Smyth are further away from the retail core than last year’s proposals by Cllr Quinn.
Cllr Smyth suggests a potential route, which he says is accessible via existing cycle infrastructure, could include Grand Canal Dock-Sir John Rogerson’s Quay-Lombard St East-Westland Row-Merrion Sq-Mount St Upper-Grand Canal Greenway.
He added “This type of event has being a huge success in Bogota since it’s introduction in the 1970s and has being adopted in numerous cities around the world.”
The original Ciclovia in Bogotá, Colombia, includes routes of up to 70 miles. This video shows how that event is run:
(article continues below video)
Belfast is also reportedly on the verge of hosting such an event.
In Dublin, local south east area councillors agreed to the following motion: “This committee requests that the Traffic Dept, the Events Team and Beta Projects team assess the feasibility of introducing a Ciclovía event (prohibiting traffic from certain streets in a defined area) in the south east area to allow cyclist, walkers, joggers and those in wheelchairs to use the traffic-free streets on the morning of a Sunday or Bank Holiday next summer.”
Cllr Smyth said: “If passed I will be seeking sponsorship from the private sector for the event so there should be no budget impact.”
“To limit disruption, such an event might be held the morning of next June’s Bank Holiday Monday prior to the Women’s Mini-Marathon that afternoon, as many of the street surrounding Merrion Sq will be closed off to traffic anyway,” he said.
Hello Reader... IrishCycle.com 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 IrishCycle.com, it just needs enough people like you to believe!
Monthly subscriptions will give IrishCycle.com's journalism a dependable base of support. But please don't take free access for granted. Last year IrishCycle.com 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 ko-fi.com/irishcycle/tiers