COMMENT & ANALYSIS: An open letter to residents of Stoneybatter, Smithfield, Grangegorman and the surrounding area:
I would ask that people please think before listening to the hype about Stoneybatter and Smithfield getting flooded with traffic because of the Liffey Cycle Route. There was scaremongering before the extra bus lanes were put on the quays and, as it turns out, the sky didn’t fall in after the bus lanes went in.
If you’re worried about where the traffic will go, please have a read of this: this great article from DIT’s David O’Connor (and you can also read my more rambling article, covering similar points and some extra ones).
The claim by some that there will be “6,000 additional cards, vans and lorries” going via Stoneybatter or Smithfield is bewildering — the inner orbital route and all the rest of the roads in the area combined won’t handle that increase in traffic. The truth is that the level of commuters crossing the canals is down over the last 20 years, and number of cars using Ellis Quay at rush hour decreased 32% in just two years between 2014 and 2016.
There will be less and less space in the city with all that is planned — new bus lanes are already in place on the quays and Luas Cross City will have a tram crossing the Liffey every 90 seconds at peak times, and trams will also be crossing at Constitution Hill and Bolton Street. This will mean less cars in the area, not more. When it opens in December, the extended Luas green line will offer an alternative to car commuters in Cabra, Phibsborough, the North Circular Road and added connectivity in both directions between the existing green line and the northside.
After Luas is up and running, the Liffey Cycle Route and other cycling and bus routes will take space from cars while offering people an alternative way to get around the city. This isn’t even anti-car. The city is growing and there’s no more space — the number of cars entering the city has to decrease and space needs to be given over to more space-effective modes of transport.
The Liffey Cycle Route will be a fully segregated two-way cycle path from the Phoenix Park to the Point Village and will link to existing and planned segregated cycle routes. It is the start of a network of segregated cycle routes in Dublin and it will be a far better way of cycling from Stoneybatter and Smithfield to get to a good chunk of the city than any of the current routes available.
Focus should be on making the streets in the area safer, not fighting against a cycle route which will cut traffic across the city city centre. Some people campaigning against the Liffey Cycle Route are nearly implying that the streets and roads around Stoneybatter and Smithfield are tranquil, when nothing could be further from the truth. Local improves area needed, including improved pedestrian and cycling crossings, traffic calming and safer cycling connections.
Anybody who is interested in a more livable city, safer roads, better health, and more transport capacity, including safe and attractive cycling access for Stoneybatter and Smithfield, should support the Liffey Cycle Route and other measures (such as the Blanch to UCD bus rapid transport route) which will get commuters and shoppers out of their cars.