— Link to city centre at pre-planning stage
— Blackrock to Ringsend route study nearly finished
A 2km missing link on the northside section of the Sutton to Sandycove (S2S) route along Dublin Bay is to be finished by this time next year, officials said yesterday as a minister and councillors visited the site.
The completion will mean there will be a segregated two-way cycle route from Sutton head to Fairview Park with few interruptions, mostly for minor junctions.
The continuation of the route from Fairview Park into the city centre will depend on councillors agreeing to support the planned Amiens St to Clontarf route. However, Dublin City Council has claimed that segregation from motor traffic is not possible on large sections of this route, including sections alongside parkland and where there is a large central traffic island.
Meanwhile the southside of the route has been stalled for years due to costs of linked coastal defences and environmental concerns, but the National Transport Authority said that it expects to receive a preferred route option for the section between Blackrock and Ringsend. The authority commissioned consultants to look at this in November 2014.
A statement said: “The study [between Blackrock and Ringsend] has identified a preferred alignment for the route on the south side of the Bay, taking account of the environmental constraints within the study area. A final report is being revised at the moment for submission to the Authority.” It added: “On the southside, while some local deviations from the [original] S2S alignment are proposed due to the environmental designations that apply to the Bay, the route largely follows the S2S route identified previously.”
Yesterday, transport minister Paschal Donohoe, deputy lord mayor Cllr Cieran Perry, and officials from the National Transport Authority and Dublin City Council made a site visit to the currently under construction 2km missing link section from the Wooden Bridge to Causeway Road on the Clontarf Road.
The €6.5m scheme includes flood defences, a water main renewal, the two way cycle path, footpaths and re-surfacing the roadway. The plan includes narrowing the roadway and is significantly less expensive than a more elaborate design which was to put the walking and cycle route on stilts over the water at a cost of around €20m.
Deputy lord mayor, Cllr Cieran Perry said: “I’m delighted to review the progress of this important scheme today… The provision of high quality cycling facilities is essential to encouraging people to take up cycling for commuting or recreation in Dublin. The project will also be important for pedestrians in the area, offering a segregated pedestrian facility.”
In a statement Cllr Perry was quoted as saying that 6% of commuters cycle and the aim is to grow this to 15% over the coming years, however, estimates using 2011 Census and recorded growth in bicycles entering the city centre seems to indicate that the more than 10% of Dublin City residents now cycle.
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Minister for transport Paschal Donohoe, said: “This project represents the ‘missing link’ on the very popular Northside cycle and promenade between Sutton and Clontarf, with the construction including flood defence and arterial water main. Dublin is an ideal city in which to cycle and it is a key objective of transport policy to ensure that investment is targeted in the most effective way that encourages people where possible to leave the car at home and to walk, cycle or avail of public transport.”
As part of the 2013 Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network Plan published by the National Transport Authority published, the S2S becomes part of a longer route called ‘the East Coast Trail’.
The NTA explained: “Within the Greater Dublin Area, the East Coast Trail extends from Arklow in the south to Drogheda in the north and incorporates the full extent of the S2S project. The Cycle Network Plan identified an indicative route for the trail, mostly along greenways separated from traffic, and with some localised use of quiet minor roads in the areas most removed from the city, with the aim of achieving a high-quality and attractive cycle route.”