COMMENT & ANALYSIS: With Luas works drawing to a close there’s little signs yet on St Stephen’s Green of the project team following the city’s development plan which calls for contra-flow cycling to be provided for.
Back in February we reported that a long-promised contra-flow cycle route on St Stephen’s Green West may finally be constructed as part of the Luas Cross City works, but that it may not stretch onto the north side of St Stephen’s Green.
In addition to that, the north side of the green has now been made one-way between Grafton Street and Dawson Street (westbound only, when it was two-way previously).
Dublin City Council should be using the Luas works as the time to provide two-way cycling all around the green, but instead it has so-far allowed the TII project team to continue without following city policy.
TII or Transport Infrastructure Ireland is a merger of two of the state’s least cycling friendly bodies, the Railway Procurement Agency and the National Roads Authority, so it’s not a surprise that they aren’t thinking much about cycling. But the city has a legal responsibility to follow its development plan which calls for contra-flow on one-way streets and also have regard for the Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network, and push others to do the same.
Indeed, the National Transport Authority (NTA) are technically leading TII on this project. So, questions must be asked why there has been so little regard for the planned cycle network, which was developed by the NTA.
Not only is between Grafton Street and Dawson Street now made one-way, but after Luas was put it, over two thirds of the space on the carriageway is now left to taxis and loading, with no dedicated space for cycling in any direction:
Now, the city might have some more difficult decisions to make around the politics of space, especially, around the junction of Dawson Street.
Even at the sections made narrow by Luas, there is many ways to provide for cycling perimiblty in both directions around St Stephens Green. There is also space at the existing Luas stop on the green (pictured below).
We must be clear on this: it’s not an engineering question. This is about following policy and it’s political questions — does Dublin want to provide for cycling or not? Will TII, the NTA and council bother following their own policy and the development plan? If not, policies aren’t worth the paper they are written on.