Dublin City to ban cycling on another city centre street

— Delivery vehicles to retain access while cycling to be banned.

Dublin City Council plans to ban cycling on a section of a second street in the city centre, Lower Liffey Street.

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Council officials are seeking approval from the local central area committee of councillors tomorrow (Tuesday) to lodge a Part 8 planning application in late February, with public consultation for 4 weeks.

The street would be a potential key link between the long-delayed Liffey Cycle Route and the Henry Street area which has a large volume of workplaces as well as shops.

It follows the council banning cycling on Suffolk Street since the start of February for a pedestrianisation trial which will last at least 6 weeks.

The latest plan includes banning all general traffic, including cycling, on the section of Lower Liffey Street, between the quays and Strand Street.

While cycling will be banned all day long, delivery vehicles, including vans and trucks, will be given access up to 11am. The city council’s draft plans shows the access system will use automated retractable bollards.

According to the council’s consultant, the project is to include the refurbishment of the street surfaces and widening footpaths, pedestrianisation of area of Liffey Street Lower outside Woollen Mills to form new plaza area, facilitating deliveries to pedestrian streets during delivery hours up to 11am, extra trees, and a water feature at plaza.

(article continues after draft drawings)

The plan also includes no provision for contra-flow on northern half of Lower Liffey Street, when the council’s development plan looks for contra-flow to be provided where possible.

Commenting on the outline of the proposals, Colm Ryder of the Dublin Cycling Campaign, said: “Dublin City Campaign broadly welcomes the project to improve the public realm, but cycling needs to be accommodated.”

According to a briefing report issued ahead of the local area council meeting tomorrow: “A traffic study was conducted and showed an average of 1,000 vehicle movements a day along Liffey Street Lower and 32,000 pedestrian movements along the same axis in both directions. Liffey Street has become the preferred pedestrian connection between Temple Bar and the Henry/Mary St commercial area, including the links to Parnell Street and the north inner city. Pedestrian movements heavily outweigh vehicular movements and this is not reflected in the current layout of the streets. The proposals include for widening of existing pavements to cater for existing and anticipate pedestrian demand.”

The council’s report also outlines how the plans were developed — IrishCycle.com understands cycling campaigners were not involved — the report states: “Dublin City Council has established a public realm coordination group to bring forward projects and drive improvements in the public realm. Guided by the Public Realm Strategy, the City Centre Masterplan and the Reimagining Dublin One Study, Liffey Street Upper & Lower is one of these projects. The objective is to bring forward and implement a proposal that improves the quality and experience of the public realm for the local community, business and visitors to the area while effectively dealing with all the challenges that are associated with a complex public realm refurbishment project.”

It adds: “A multi-disciplinary design team led by dhbArchitects was appointed by DCC in May 2018 to deliver on the project objectives. The design team has worked closely with the Steering Group, the Public Realm Working Group and stakeholders to develop and gain consensus on the proposals. The project involves street improvement works to Liffey Street Upper & Lower. The proposals aim to declutter the streetscape while creating a pedestrian-friendly environment through a series of safe and enjoyable public spaces linking the Hal’penny Bridge to Henry Street.

It continues: “The importance of the axis as a connector between the north and south commercial and cultural quarters of the city is combined with the place’s importance as a destination in its own right, in terms of its own history and character as well as its own commercial offering. Prioritising the needs of the pedestrian over the vehicle is central to the concept, and pedestrian numbers can be expected to increase once the proposals have been implemented”.


Artist’s impressions:

Draft drawings:


  1. There is a Dublin Bikes stand on Srand Street adjacent to Liffey Street. So technically if you wish to get a Dublin Bike and go to the Quays you will have to walk 100 metres with the bike.

  2. I don’t see this as having nearly as much impact for cyclists as closing Suffolk Street. Contrary to what was said in the article this is not a connection between Henry Street and the quays because Upper Liffey Street is already pedestrianised. Jervis Street and O’Connell Street serve this purpose already.

    Really this just disrupts people who want to go from Middle Abbey Street back to the quays and they can either stay on O’Connel Street which gives them ready access going to all four compass points or follow Strand Street to Capel Street (which is no longer for anyone going South or West (assuming there is a two way cycle lane on the quays, it will be faster with the current set up).

    I have occassionally cycled through here because I chose to lock my bike on Middle Abbey Street. Not being able to use this will disrupt me hardly at all. Perhaps coming upon this unexpectedly might disrupt my planned route one time but the next time I’ll go a different way. The first time I’ll probably just walk my bike through.

    I do wonder how the law works allowing access to trucks but not cyclists during the morning commute. Do pedestrians not commute in the morning? The data shows that this is used FAR more by pedestrians than motorists. Of course since pedestrians can use Liffey Street Upper this actually is a good connection to the Henry Street area for them.

  3. @Eric Liffey Street Lower gives people access away from Abbey Street and Liffey Street Upper which has a lot of bicycle parking and due to get more. This may or may not be important to you but it is more important to people with disabilities who cycle, people with children on board, and individuals or companies trying to use cargo bikes.

    There’s also a DublinBikes station at the edge of Strand Street.

    From that point dismounting across an area which will allow large delivery vehicles seems a bit mad. This is more so the case when permeability for cycling is low and cycling across the “ghost” carriageway would have little impact on pedestrian flows which are mainly from the bridge to Henry Street.

  4. Cycling campaigners were not consulted meaning DCC do not consider them stakeholders nor did they feel it necessary to include them in the Public Realm Working Group. Hopefully they, Dublin Cycling Campaign etc. can elbow their way into this group to be heard the next time.

    This project looks like DCC picking off some low hanging fruit in improving pedestrian routes, so every little bit counts but not if they ignore cyclists.

    While the banning of cycling on the stretch nearest the quays may not have a massive impact on cyclists as it is currently used, there is a missed opportunity to open up access in the other direction (from the quays). Currently if you want to access the Great Strand St. Dublin Bikes station from the north quays, the shortest route is via Litton Ln./North Lotts which is horrible to cycle on because it is cobbled. Allowing cyclists to cycle the short stretch of Liffey St. from the Quays to Great Strand St. would be a big improvement in convenience and permeability.

  5. @Cian the fact remains that this is not a vital route. Liffey Streeet Upper is already pedestrianised. Your re-use of the trope claiming this might not matter to me but what about the disabled and children so beloved by people who want to park their BMWs wheverer they like is, frankly, pathetic. It’s insulting to me, deliberately so, and shows that you do not handle disagreement well.

  6. @Eric — sorry for any offence, I wasn’t trying to be insulting to you or anybody else.

    Nobody had said it is a vital route. If you only look at vital routes you don’t get a highly functional and attractive cycle network and thus not a cycling-friendly city. A high level of permeability and providing access is key to promoting cycling and this area is already one of the more restrictive already in terms of permeability.

    Liffey Streeet Upper is indeed already partly pedestrianised (you can currently legally cycle up to the door of M&S — it’s the end point destination where there’s already bicycle parking and there’s plans to install more bicycle parking as part of this scheme.

    Abbey Street is also open, and most of Lower Liffey Street is planned to remain open to general traffic. The Dublin City Development plan indicates cycling permeability should be increased rather than reduced.

    To me it wasn’t a trope to talk about people cycling with disabilities (they aren’t abstract, they are readers and people I know), or people with children (that’s me and others I know), or companies doing the right thing by using cargo bicycles rather than vans (would great to have more of), or DublinBike users (many just cycle cycle across the delivery area part of the plaza anyway). As for people with disabilities in cars, I think it’s also correct and proper to think about them too.

    Nobody is suggesting there isn’t a need for a balanced to be struck at times (like no cycling on Grafton Street, Henry Street etc), but there’s little to no reason to ban cycling across the planned “ghost” carriageway on part of Lower Liffey Street.

    Any signs that I don’t handle disagreement well is likely down to my frustration with myself and my inability to get across just how much permeability you get in a cycling friendly city. 

But honestly, no offence intended at all.

  7. Having lived in Utrecht I’ve seen first-hand how permeability is important for a city. I understand on one side that people may not feel that it’s important to have cycling on Liffey Street Upper. But on the other hand, having seen what can be done, when it’s done properly, I also see why streets such as these should remain open to people on bikes.

    Yes, sure, you may not think it’s a hill worth dying on, but, this sort of planning seems to be a pattern in Dublin (and Ireland in general) when it comes to cycling. Cycling is just not seen as important. The ridiculousness with the recent announcement about Suffolk Street, with bikes being banned, but multi-tonne trucks still allowed up to 11am is maddening to see.

    Personally I don’t know what the answer is to try and get those in control to do things right, but I do understand why some people like Cian feel the need to raise these issues even if some of us don’t think they’re important. For example, I’m not always on-board with everything the cycling ‘advocacy’ groups say, but I know that I’m not always right, or at least, I know that there’s often room for more than one approach.

    Btw, having read a lot of what Eric says on these pages, I’ve been very impressed with his insights and arguments.

  8. For Suffolk Street It is only pedestrianised in one direction. You can cycle from Nassau street, through the planters and up Suffolk street. There are no signs to say you can’t as they forgot to put the pedestrian zone sign at this end, or the No-Entry…etc. So what the city council think they are putting in place, often ins’t the case for the normal cyclists as there is always somehting they’ve forgotten to put it on the street to inform cyclists. You can cycle in one direction in Suffolk street becuase they forgotten to put up the correct signs in that direction. Or is the pedestrianisation of Suffolk street ‘Fake News’.


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