How do we fix Grand Canal Greenway access issues?

IMAGE: An archive image shows a woman struggling with the original access arrangements.

COMMENT & ANALYSIS: The Grand Canal Greenway from Inchicore to Adamstown in Dublin opened in 2010, but restrictive barriers blocked many types of bicycles and have limited its popularly for legitimate use.

Authorities have shown little concern of users’ experiences that the barriers act as a focal point for anti-social behaviour and don’t stop horses or scramblers. Under pressure, Waterways Ireland and South Dublin County Council have messed around with the barrier design for years. The current situation is a mix of barrier types– a reader, Xavier Maher, sent us his story after trying it out:

Early last year I contacted South Dublin County Council regarding access to the Adamstown to Inchicore greenway and about the gates and I was told they would be open by Summer 2018 — they weren’t, but when I was at the recent Liffey cycle one of the other cyclists said the gates were now open, so, on Saturday I set off to cycle into Dublin.

The first gate from the Adamstown end was locked but rather than admit defeat my wife and I manhandled our semi-recumbent tandem through the small gap and continued on our way. The next few gates as far as Clondalkin were half open and easily negotiable but from 9th lock road into Inchicore all the gates were locked.

Not all the gaps in the gates are the same size. Some can be passed with care and gentle leaning and moving the bike side to side. Some need lifting which for two cyclists with a combined age of 135 years is not that easy.

The worst of all was at Kileen Road where there is only a kissing gate and no gap — this required reversing the tandem into the gate and then both of us lifting the front up high enough to swing over the gate. Looking back I should have given up and returned at this stage as I hurt my back lifting the bike, but I wanted to see what way other gates were.

It is a disgrace to see a publicly owned and funded resource like this closed to any cyclist who used anything other than a standard bike at the whim of Waterways Ireland. I have numerous bikes (pictured below) that cannot fit through the gates including a touring tandem, tricycle, cargo bike, and long wheelbase recumbent. These are home-built but the same applies to shop-bought bicycles of different types.

How do we get this great amenity opened for proper use? It is a waste the way it is now.

6 Comments

  1. Kileen Road is controlled by Dublin City Council(DCC). The semi open gates are in South Dublin County Council (SDCC). SDCC opened the gates due to pressure from the public and local politicians. However I dont belive that DCC have received any pressure from anybody. To be fair the scramblers/horses have decreased due to Garda actually doing their jobs however they is now increase muggings.

    https://www.dublinlive.ie/news/dublin-news/huge-gang-teens-attack-three-16163839?fbclid=IwAR2MbO9TEUqddVqaR1I35Ww11k1_rpU-SKhYAdFQoAUI785vWdCgSOrqWxM

  2. I agree but if the gates are opened, which I’ve seen from time to time, every little Mad Max wannabe on a motorbike of various types zoom up and down not to mention the poor Ponies left tied up. Is it therefore a question of patrolling it also?

  3. Thats like saying we should ban bikes from cycle lanes because cars park in them.

  4. Like Xavier I also tried to cycle down the Grand Canal with my cargo-bike, but I wasn’t able to make it far because of stupid gates. Utterly insane stuff.

  5. It is annoying enough on a standard bike (which put me off using much, I had expected a longer route, but easier and quieter), and not really possible on anything else. Maybe I’m meant to follow a programme of weight training in the Swan Leisure Centre, shelling out 360 Euro or whichever. I could then maybe lift a cargo bike over the gate and intimidate the would-be muggers having become a muscleman. Garda patrols and gates open would be very good.

  6. Daniel Mullen July 13, 2019 at 9:51 pm

    I am not one to cheer on vigilantism or vandalism but this is such a disgrace that I am confused the public have not torn them down. If I lived nearer to this I would be out with my angle grinder cutting them down. They are so useless at deterring crime etc they should be forcefully removed as the relevant agencies don’t give a damn. The people who want to use this amenity need to take responsibility for fixing the problem as nobody else will.

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