— Threat of legal action from residents
Dublin City Council has delayed presenting newly developed options for the Liffey Cycle Route to councillors and other members of the council’s transport committee. Officials had previously said they would present progressed plans at the meeting yesterday.
It’s unclear when — if ever — the route will be further developed. It has already suffered delays in pre-planning stages and objections are mounting from retailers and local resident groups. The committee members were only told that it would be the next committee at the earliest, but no firm commitment was made when a more detailed option would be made public.
An under-construction building is now in place on a previously planned bus detour needed for option 3 for the route, which is the most popular route chooses by members of the public in heavily reported on public consultation. Despite local speculation of use of compulsory purchase orders to buy the site, this is understood not to be an option the city is looking at.
Councillors yesterday voiced concern from local residents — a clear echo of councillor-action in 2011 ended up resulting in the council forfeiting €4 million in cycling funding and scrapping a key planned cycling link on S2S Dublin Bay, the abandoned section would have linked Fairview and the Docklands with segregated cycle paths.
At the transport committee, Cllr Ciaran Cuffe (Green Party), Cllr Ray McAdam (FG), Cllr Mannix Flynn, (Ind), Cllr Paddy McCartan (FG), and Cllr Frank Kennedy (FF) highlighted how they had been contacted by residents. It was mentioned by councillors that residents may take legal action against the project — similar threats were made by rich residents in New York City against one of first high-profile segregated routes in that city.
City centre retailers don’t want shoppers arriving by car affected, while residents are against a rerouting of bus routes, and the realigning of parkland and a roadway. A potential plan to move parkland would allow for a car-free, river-side park with cycling and walking paths stretching from Parkgate Street to Liffey Street West (near Blackhall Place).
There are also concerns relating to the Croppy Acre Memorial Park. There are conflicting claims over the idea that there are graves for the rebels of the failed Rebellion of 1798 on the site. Some claim that there are mass graves of the rebels on the site, while others claim that the bodies were let wash way into the tidal section of river.
In the 2011 case, residents of the Eastwall area lobbied councillors to stop a key part of the long-awaited S2S route. Local residents in that case and with the Liffey route, complained of lack of public consultations and of other motives behind the project.
In 2011 it was conceded there were some issue with the consultation, however, with the Liffey Cycle Route residents are now threatening legal action over what they see as flaws in the pre-statutory consultation. This is despite the fact that it has been made clear a number of times that the consultation is not the final one, that it was one of the most widely reported on consultations, and that the public response to the consultation was the highest the city has had for any project in recent years.
Residents in 2011 claimed the S2S and canals cycle route was linked to Dart Underground, which they were also opposing. With the Liffey route, residents have claimed that the plan is just a road-widening scheme dressed up as a cycling project.
A large part of an online and on-street campaign against option 3 of the Liffey route centres on the idea of road widening, although a large amount of the Liffey Cycle Route project includes road narrowing — including between Parkgate Street to Liffey Street West where the current Liffey quays roadway with three traffic lanes and a bus lane would be replaced by just two traffic lanes and a bus lane. Elsewhere on the route it was planned to removing parking and general traffic lanes.