— S2S route is to be showcased to international Velo-city conference attendees next month.
— Cycling campaigners to protest to protect cycle path.
One of Dublin’s most-loved cycle paths is still under threat of closure tomorrow as the Gardai so-far will not confirm if a section of the S2S Dublin Bay cycle route will be closed on the Alfie Byrne Road.
Gardai had indicated last year that the practice of parking coaches on top of the cycle path for events at Croke Park stadium would be discontinued. Late last year the Garda press office told this website that the force had written to Croke Park to tell them to remove the location from its website listings for coach parking.
The latest threatened closure was sign posted last week. Most of the signs have since been removed but it’s unclear who took this action.
The section of the S2S is between East Wall and Clontarf and was built in the 1980s. Dublin has struggled to build a continuous cycle path around its bay but the northern section is now mostly complete, offering a continuous segregated route from East Wall to the southern point on the Howth Head.
On Tuesday, Sinéad Murphy, a spokeswoman for Dublin City Council said: “The closure of Alfie Byrne Cycle track is being undertaken under An Garda Síochána powers and not under any Dublin City Council powers.”
Yesterday, Colin Heeney at the Garda press office said: “A full traffic plan has been decided on by Dublin City Council, An Garda Sicohana and event organisers. This is available from DCC.”
He said: “Due to the scale of the event this plan is necessary, however we are cognisant of the safety of all road users in particular the most vulnerable, i.e. cyclists and pedestrians. An Garda Siochana will be present in the restricted areas to ensure the safety of all road users.”
“If you have any further queries you would be best placed contacting Dublin City Council.”
At the time of publication, authorities have yet to answer follow up questions.
According to the campaigning group I Bike Dublin they are urging people interested in protecting the cycle path or protesting to meet at 5pm on the Alfie Byrne Road at the bottle bank at the East Wall Road end of the road. Members of the Dublin Cycling Campaign are also expected to join in tomorrow.
I Bike Dublin said on Twitter: “Bad Spice Girls puns aside, we’d like to see a big turnout to ensure that this important cycling commuter route is not decommissioned at rush hour on Friday. Seriously @DubCityCouncil – who do you think you are? (sorry!)”.
The Dublin Cycling Campaign said: “The lack of advance notice about the cycle lane closure on Alfie Byrne Road was never really an issue. The issue is the closure of the cycle lane itself. Putting up signs about the closure is not a solution.”
Paddy Monahan, a Social Democrats local election candidate for Raheny/Donaghmede, said: “Alfie Byrne Road is a rare example of a well-designed segregated cycle lane in Dublin. That DCC and Garda have decided to cannibalise the limited cycling infrastructure in this city for coaches to park in the middle of rush hour shows anti-cyclist bias.”
Donna Cooney, a Green Party candidate for Clontarf said: “This is just not good enough that the Garda traffic is closing a well used cycleway. We have been requesting that they help us keep parking out of cycleways and instead they are closing one of our few designated segregated cycle routes to facilitate coach parking thus endangering vulnerable road users”.
She added: “Sustainable transport should be supported as a means of tackling climate change not actively hindered.”
UPDATED WITH MORE POLITICIANS REACTING:
Ciarán Cannon, a Fine Gael junior minister for the Diaspora and International Development, who is a supporter of cycling issues, tweeted: “Putting the lives of cyclists at risk to facilitate coach parking is not acceptable, particularly when there are alternative coach parking facilities nearby. It’s time to treat all road users fairly, particularly the most vulnerable group.”
The Green Party also issued a second press release on the issue today with councillor and European candidate Ciaran Cuffe, and councillors Patrick Costello and Claire Byrne all speaking our against the closure of the cycle path.
Cllr Cuffe said: “I have raised these issue before of parking at this spot, during the Bruce Springsteen concerts in 2016 for example, and it is disappointing that Dublin City Council, Gardaí and Concert promoters still have not found alternatives.“
Cllr Costello, said: “If anything we should be making more effort to encourage people to walk and cycle to events by providing pop-up bike parking as they do in the Netherlands.”
Cllr Byrne said: “The NTA spent €1.7 million to provide parking for coaches [nearby in the Dockland], why is that not being used?There is something wrong when we allow a cycle lane to be used for coach parking while at the same time letting an expensive parking service to sit empty”