COMMENT & ANALYSIS: Public consultation on the Liffey Cycle Route was widely publicised — we’ve reported that line a few times, but people who object to the project are not happy with this line.
In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, as aliens called the Vogons are on the verge of destroying Earth, they tell humans down below them that: “There’s no point in acting all surprised about it. All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for fifty of your Earth years so you’ve had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaints and it’s far too late to start making a fuss about it now.”
Liffey Cycle Route objectors have claimed that because the drawings for the project were published on Dublin City Council’s cycling website, cycledublin.ie, that means nobody could find them — it was only aimed at cyclists. We’re led to believe that it was like the Vogons. But the Liffey route’s online consultation was light years easier to find than the local planning department in Alpha Centauri.
Dublin City Council also featured the consultation on its main homepage at dublincity.ie, and for longer at its consultation hub at consultation.dublincity.ie (this is where the consultation actual took place online). The council also mentioned it a few times on social media, including its main accounts and sub-accounts such as LiveDrive. These have significant numbers of followers.
But does the council’s website and social media accounts count as widely publicised? Not half.
The media picked up on the story in a big way before the consultation started, including RTE who reported in detail on how “New cycle tracks that could displace cars and buses from sections of Dublin’s quays are being proposed by the city council”. The coverage after the consultation went live was extensive…
On March 19, 2015, The Irish Times published a story “Public called on to choose a Liffey cycle route” — it included two links to cycledublin.ie. On the same day, UTV.ie had a similar story: “Council wants feedback on proposed Liffey cycle route“, which linked directly to the Liffey Cycle Route page on cycledublin.ie. 98FM also ran a story with the inviting headline: “Have Your Say On New Liffey Cycle Route“, and, you guessed it, that too linked to cycledublin.ie.
Articles were also published by local newspapers, including the Dublin People (now off line for some reason) and the Evening Herald. It was also featured on the homepage of events website dublineventguide.com.
The Dublin city centre business organisation, Dublin Town, featured it on their consumer-facing website and their social media accounts, also with significant numbers of followers.
Social media posts covering it included ones from a wide range of accounts, including: North Wall Community Development Project, HappeningsIRE, the Rediscovery Centre in Ballymun; the Canal Partnership; CISireland.com; Coillte; Exchange Dublin, Irish Architecture Foundation, and a solicitors firm based in Dublin 5. Many other accounts retweeted or shared the links.
City councillors and many members of the public also shared direct links and links to articles on the consultation.
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Reminders were also posted by the city council, DublinTown and The Irish Times even ran a reminder article: “Last day for submissions on segregated Liffey cycle route“.
This is the most widely covered public consultation we have ever seen — it was covered by local and national media, on the websites of a number of groups, and by many, many social media accounts.