“Strong opposition” to Dublin’s first cycle route with Dutch-like junctions

A TD has said that there was strong opposition against the planned Fitzwilliam Cycle Route at a public meeting last night.

The project which is set to have Dutch-like segregation at junctions is aimed to be built by June 2019.

The route goes from Leeson Street to the junction of Holles Street and Mount Street Lower, running along Fitzwilliam Place, Fitzwilliam Street, and Merrion Square East.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan tweeted after the meeting: “Strong opposition from local residents at the meeting tonight. We need a clear presentation from @DubCityCouncil on the future of cycling in our city, so that people can see how individual schemes fit into an overall plan.”

Asked by a member of the public “What were the main points raised in opposition or was it plain old NIMBYism?”, Ryan replied: “Not clear. Main concern seemed to be that the justification for prioritising this project was not outlined. Also a worry that pedestrians would be vulnerable to cyclists.”

This morning, Cllr Paddy Smyth — who has promoted using parking-protected cycle lanes on the route — said: “The justification for prioritisation is that the current layout is ridiculously dangerous for cyclists.”

“I don’t see how pedestrians would be vulnerable as modes would be segregated. Other concern was possible conflicts with people getting out of their cars and oncoming cyclists but buffer [space between the cycle lane and parked car] sorts that.”

As IrishCycle.com reported over the weekend, councillors at the South East Area Committee meeting on July 9 raised concerns about lower amount of car parking and people accessing cars across cycle lane, as well as potential loss of turning lanes.

Christopher Manzira, from Dublin City Council’s transport department, said that the aim is to provide of between at least 0.7-0.8 metres of a buffer between a parked car and the cycle lane and this will allow space for people to open car doors and get out without standing in the cycle lane.

A number of councillors welcomed members of the South Georgian Core Residents Association in the council chamber’s gallery.

Cllr Claire Byrne (Greens) said that of the main question that residents have is why is this route being prioritised over, for example, Leeson Street. Manzira said that the cycle routes on main arterial routes are expected to be covered under BusConnects, which includes Leeson Street and Baggot Street. Consultation for the infrastructure segment of BusConnects is expected to start within the next two months.

Council officials said that that just 54 residential parking permits are available along the streets of the route.

A presentation given to councillors showed that within the study area of the streets on the route and four side street, there will be 580 car parking spaces. This will fill a peak demand of 573 cars and demand drops to around 300 cars by 5pm and just 100-150 cars at night.

ALSO READ: Cycle route to be Dublin’s first with parking protection and junction segregation

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.

7 Comments

  1. Kevin O'Farrell July 24, 2018 at 11:18 am

    The “strong opposition” seem to have anonymity here. Calling them out and exposure is needed big time. A small vocal minority cannot be allowed to block such a scheme with wide ranging benefits. Who are these people and why are they hiding ? Ignoring them and just keep going seems to not an option for some reason.

  2. Oisin O'Connor July 24, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    Have the council given any mechanism by which people can provide strong support for the proposals? We always end up with vocal opposition and widespread but quiet support for these initiatives. Perhaps through the Cycling Works initiative? All signatories release a statement saying they’re in favour of the proposal? Or is there a petition anyone knows about?

  3. I wonder will this ‘strong opposition’ turn out to be largely ficticious like it did with the Drumcondra project.

    It’s hard to see how anyone could possibly think it is more dangerous for pedestrians. If anything, going by the number of pedestrians on the footpath killed by motorists, it’s got to be safer for pedestrians to be protected by a buffer of cyclists.

    The point about priority (which I paraphrase as “we support cycling but we just think it should be done somewhere else first”) is an odd one too. Some place has to be first.

    The headline could be a template:- “Strong opposition to “. It seems that some people would be against ending war and hunger world wide if it reduced the number of parking spaces they might theoretically want to use some day.

    I don’t even like the idea much, but the reasons against it given make no sense. I wonder how long until we find out what Mannix Flynn and Finian McGrath think. Against it I imagine, but for what specific reasons.

  4. @Eric
    What is most curious about the objections that the “strong opposition” to this project have raised so far is how vague and spurious they are. This leads to the inevitable conclusion that it is mostly the usual Nimbyism and the desire to retain parking that is the real cause, but that those objecting have not yet uncovered an apparently reasonable argument to hide behind. The objecting residents are most likely fully aware of the obvious advantages of the project and they don’t want to just come out and admit they are not nearly as progressive and socially conscious as their upmarket address and well cultivated self-images would have them believe.

    It never ceases to surprise me how well-to-do liberals are often the most vocal in support of progressive projects such as this as long as there is no potential impact whatsoever on their own status quo.

    Meanwhile, I imagine Mannix et al are busy brainstorming other feasible objections that offer more palatable cover than the nonsense we have heard so far.

  5. Here’s a free one. Cyclists are out of character for this Georgian area. BMWs and Range Rovers are the authentic period vehicles. I’d be suprised if this wasn’t already tried on to block the Dublin Bikes stand. I’d like to take credit but that argument was deployed to block cycling infrastructure in up market areas of New York.

    My angle brackets disappeared earlier. Should have read “Strong opposition to «insert any cycling project here»”

  6. @Oisin The consultation is starting next month but you can always email councillors in advance of that.

  7. Etain J Feeley June 24, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    Just as there are traffic lights for cars, why not introduce traffic lights on cycle lanes, this would cut down on the number of pedestrians getting hit by over zealous cyclists. It is extremely dangerous crossing over lanes at peak times as you can’t hear a bike travelling at high speed.

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