— Hosting conference shows city is serious about cycling, claims lord mayor.
— Cllr Carr says inner orbital traffic route is “where there are kids playing”.
Dublin’s lord mayor yesterday welcomed the contract signing for the Velo-City conference, due to take place in Dublin in June 2019, but then he went off-script and told The Irish Times that he opposes the proposal to divert cars off the quays for the Liffey Cycle Route.
According to The Irish Times, Cllr Brendan Carr (Labour) said that hosting the conference showed that the city was serious about cycling, but he added that “you can’t just keep shutting the roads off to motorists”.
In planning since 2011, the two-way cycle path on the north quays of the River Liffey could be a backbone to a network of safe cycle routes in Dublin city centre. If built, the 4.6km route would be the first major continuous segregated cycle route in the city centre and it link a large number of existing and planned cycle routes and greenways together.
Cllr Carr said: “I think a lot of the councillors would have the same opinion. Everyone would love to see the north quays being freer for cyclists to use but not at the expense of people who are in residential areas and where there are kids playing.”
While opponents of the route and newspaper reports have focused on a detour route around Smithfield, the council has said repeatedly that it expects traffic reduction and that people who contuine to drive will be directed to divert to the southside before Smithfield, and that other motorists will divert at the North Circular Road and South Circular Road.
The existing inner orbital route around Smithfield includes a four-lane road before joining with two-lane one-way traffic system — none of the streets are low-traffic residential streets.
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In a statement yesterday, Dublin City Council said: “Velo-City conferences are widely considered as the premier international cycling conference series and serve as a global communications and information platform to target and influence decision makers, and improve the policies, planning and provision of infrastructure for cycling and the daily use of the bicycle in an urban environment.”
The council added: “Dublin’s theme for Velo-City 2019 is Cycling for the Ages, which will encourage cycling by people of all ages, young and old, male and female and to promote the health, environmental, social and economic benefits of cycling. The theme will also show the evolution of cycling in Dublin through the ages and into the future.”
A quote attributed to Cllr Carr in the council’s press release said: “Hosting Velo-City will accelerate efforts to further the development of Dublin as a world class cycling city.”
Bernhard Ensink, secretary general of the European Cyclists’ Federation, said: “We are excited to bring participants from all continents in 2019 to Dublin. Velo-City 2019 Dublin will – as all our Global Cycling Summits do – offer a great opportunity for sharing the experience, knowledge and expertise about the promotion of cycling worldwide.”
Dublin City Council said that the Velo-City conference will attract 2,000 international delegates and will be an “estimated €3.8 million boost to the economy”. Dublin last hosted the event in 2005.
Last Sunday morning an estimated 1,000 people cycled along the quays in support of the Liffey Cycle Route, while nearly 1,700 people have signed a petition to keep the route on the quays.
The position of lord mayor in Dublin is elected by agreements among councillors, not by residents of the city.