1,000 people back call for “a few car-free streets” every Sunday in Dublin

After just 24 hours of a petition going online seeking car-free Sundays in Dublin, over 1,000 people have backed the campaign.

The petition, started by the Dublin Cycling Campaign, seeks to create “just a few car-free streets every Sunday [so that] we could enable people of all ages and abilities to walk, cycle and enjoy themselves in the heart of Dublin City.”

Similar car-free street events happen all around the world, including yearly in Belfast. One of the more popular brands of events are Ciclovías, which started in Colombia and are now held across north and south America and in Australia and New Zealand.

Ciclovías usually involve closing a long route of at least a few kilometres allowing a large number of people to cycle, walk, roller skate, etc along it from close to their homes. Bogotá’s weekly Ciclovías stretch to over 120km long, while Belfast’s is 2km.

On the petition, the Dublin Cycling Campaign said: “Car-Free Sundays have been trialled successfully in cities around the globe including Paris, Mexico and Singapore. The ‘Paris Sans Voitures’ (Paris Without Cars) initiative was started by the city’s Mayor to tackle chronic air pollution. The first car-free day in Paris resulted in a 40% drop in air pollution and a 50% fall in noise pollution.”

It added: “Each year in Ireland, up to 1,600 premature deaths are linked to air pollution, with motor vehicle emissions making up a substantial proportion of that pollution.”

The group said the concept can also be combined with free public transport for the day to encourage people to leave their cars at home.

“We are calling on Dublin City Council to realise the potential of Car-Free Sundays and to begin trials of the concept in the summer of 2018,” they said.

I am editor of IrishCycle.com and have reported on and commented on cycling in Ireland for over a decade. My background is in journalism -- I have a BA in Journalism from DCU and HDip in Print Journalism from BCFE. I wrote about cycling for national newspapers, and then started CyclingInDublin.com for overflow stories. Later the website was re-branded to reflect a more national focus.

8 Comments

  1. I think this is a great idea. I’m sure nobody will be surprised when this is fought tooth and nail by the usual suspects though. City closed down, businesses destroyed, families ruined, small children forced to sell their bodies.

    I wonder how this went in other cities. Paris would be a good site to investigate since they close the entire Champs Elysee but Belfast would be easier since all the complaining would be in English. How many people objected when the plan was floated and what type of objections did they make. How did the authorities deal with these objections. What actually happened in the aftermath, did the scenarios painted by the objectors come true or not.

  2. while I think its a good thing, we can’t ignore the fact the Paris has a Metro. so people are transported under the street and are not to put out by road closures

  3. Car-free Sundays would be heaven! It would encourage families to get out and walk, cycle and explore their city and suburban spaces in a safe and pollution-free environment. If (in Dublin) DART and LUAS could be run on mid-week and not Sunday timings and allow bikes on board, then people could see the value of Dublin as a bay city, with access to the sea, uncluttered by cars. I call on the Councils to support this initiative and create car-free corridors.

  4. Presumably everyone who drives down the Champs Elysees usually is doing that in preference to taking the Metro. I don’t think claims along the lines of “that might work over there because they have a subway but it won’t work here” have much validity.

  5. @Brian
    Looking for spurious reasons this won’t work is hardly constructive. The Dutch have been doing car free Sundays in similar sized metro-free cities since 1973 and it works fine there.

  6. @aka
    You can’t ignore facts. comparing Paris to Dublin when ignoring the Metro isn’t honest or constructive. because the first thing the objectors will say if you bring up Paris is that people can use the Metro to get around.
    As some one whose weekly commute by bike is 300km. I’m all on for it, but if a proposal is to be made, you better be sure its constructive and not full of holes

  7. Sorry if I sounded dismissive there. You are correct that our relatively lousy public transport system is one of the most often-cited reasons for objecting to any attempt to restrict car usage. However, objectors will pick holes in any proposal they don’t agree with. No prior example of an initiative like this is entirely without some factor that will be used as a lever to attempt to undermine the idea.

    However, this is different to other grand initiatives that do require very careful planning and care in presentation to gain acceptance. This is actually a very low impact and potentially high benefit proposal. All that is being asked is that a few streets are closed to traffic once a month on the quietest traffic day of the week. Much like the greenways, if even a proof of concept actually gets off the ground, it could gain serious momentum when the obvious and immediate benefits become apparent. People may well look back in a few years and wonder how car-free Sundays were ever not the norm.

    Paris is the most visible, successful and high-profile of similar recent initiatives so it is an obvious example to use.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: