— One resident claimed cyclists travel at 100km/h and calls councillor racist against Irish people for proposing cycle route.
Dublin City Council has conducted 20 different public and stakeholder engagements on the Fitzwilliam cycle route, which is just 1km long.
The council said it received 1,763 submissions on the project, which is the largest number of online submissions it has recorded to date. The vast bulk of submissions — 1,710 — were supportive of the cycle route. Commuters made up the most submissions but a majority of all submissions types including from residents, businesses, and councillors were supportive.
Only 20 submissions focused on expressing concerns about the project and 33 were said to be not relevant to the scheme.
All of the public engagements — run between June 2018 and last night — included a number of public meetings, public consultation and one-to-one meetings with residents and cycling campaigners.
Sources said that the public meeting last night was the clearest sign yet that most of the focus from the objectors to the scheme was relating to car parking. To ease concerns on the loss of some parking spaces which is planned, the city council is also looking at allowing resident with parking permits to use their permits on different streets.
Another parking-related worry is that residents will have to cross the cycle lane to access their parked cars because the cycle lane is parking protected — this is a design which has been used widely in Cork City for a number of years, it is a standard feature of cycle routes in cycling-friendly cities, and buffer space is planned to be wider than that often used in other countries.
At a public meeting tonight, attended by around 25 members of the public, one of the public attendees accused Cllr Paddy Smyth of being a “racist” because the cycle route which he first proposed was for foreigners and for tourists, not residents.
Cllr Smyth, who is not contesting the local elections this year, said on Twitter: “Easily the high point of my five years in local politics. How I will miss this job!”
A number of sources confirmed the comments and that the same man claimed some cyclists have traveled at 60mph or 100km/h on the street.
The meeting was also told that Irish Water have said they need to upgrade a water main under the street, so this will likely delay the project.
Some design changes were also outlined at the meeting including the DublinBikes stand on Merrion Square being moved to provide a fully protected cycle lane and having a wider buffer zone around parking spots reserved for people with disabilities and mobility issues.
Officials said safety and user audits backed the design of the parking-protected design of the scheme.
It is also understood that how the junctions will work — including the traffic light sequence — was not discussed at the meeting. This is widely viewed by cycling planners as well as transport planners as being key to making protected junctions work for people cycling and walking.
The redesigned drawings for the project are expected to be presented to local area councillors at their next committee meeting.
Easily the high point of my five years in local politics. How I will miss this job!
— Cllr Paddy Smyth (@padsmyth) February 25, 2019
There were 1,763 submissions received on the Fitzwilliam Street Cycle Scheme – the largest number of online submissions of any @DubCityCouncil scheme.
1,710 of these were supportive
33 were not relevant to the scheme
20 expressed concerns about the scheme
— Ciarán Ferrie (@ccferrie) February 25, 2019