— Reasons for not using other areas for buses includes avoiding traffic disruption.
— “Alternative route” involves cycling on busy roads and deadly junctions.
— Authorities say Spice Girls coach parking on cycle path is Garda issue.
— Campaigners say NTA and city council should not sign off on flawed traffic plan.
Both the National Transport Authority and Dublin City Council yesterday distanced themselves from a Garda plan instructing coaches to park on top of the popular S2S Dublin Bay cycle route.
As we reported on Thursday, Ciarán Cannon, a Fine Gael junior minister; Paddy Monahan, a Social Democrats local election candidate; Donna Cooney, a Green Party candidate and Green Party councillors Ciaran Cuffe, Patrick Costello and Claire Byrne have all objected to coaches parking on top of the Alfie Byrne Road cycle path.
According to I Bike Dublin campaigners and videos and photos posted online, the cycle path was kept clear of all but one bus.
The actions of campaigners to protect the cycle path meant that the cycle path remained functioning in rush hour this afternoon. Videos showed and sources said that there was a steady flow of people cycling, including parents cycling children from a creche in Eastpoint Business Campus.
A spokeswoman for Dublin City Council: “An Garda Siochana compile and implement general traffic management plans associated with large scale outdoor events. This is done in consultation with the relevant parties associated with the event. The summary of the traffic management plan is available on An Garda Siochana website.”
“Issues to do with the licencing of private coach drop off and pick up/ parking are a matter for the Event Organisers (MCD in this instance) and the NTA. The Event Organisers are required by the NTA to source a suitable site to facilitate this in order that required licences can be issued. It is the understanding of Dublin City Council that a number of alternative locations were explored but were deemed not viable. Alfie Byrne Road was considered to be the only viable option,” she said.
She added: “Queries relating to An Garda Siochana arrangements and legal mechanisms for the control and management of this area should be referred to the Garda Press Office.”
Previously the Gardai directed this website to contact Dublin City Council. IrishCycle.com again yesterday contacted the Garda press office, but no response was forthcoming before the time of publication.
National Transport Authority spokesman Dermot O’Gara, said: “NTA licences issued to bus operators for events like this cover the operation of the service from the passenger pick-up point to the passenger drop-off point. What happens to the vehicle after that is determined by An Garda Siochána in accordance with whatever traffic management arrangements they have in place for the event.”
The traffic management plan for the concert claimed that the National Transport Authority coach parking unit which cost €1.7 million is not suitable. This is despite part of the calls for such a parking unit to be built related to parking for large events, and that the planning permission for the coach parking includes extra time allowances for events.
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“This is a bus storage facility. It has no facility to drop off or load patrons” the management plan claims. However, cycling campaigners have said that they have no issue with passenger drop off or loading on the Alfie Byrne Road as long as the roadway is used rather than the cycle path being blocked.
Ciarán Ferrie, a spokesman for IBikeDublin said: “We are being failed on all sides by the authorities whose role it is to ensure our safety. An Garda Síochána has prepared a Traffic Management Plan which, in our view, makes the roads less safe for people cycling. Dublin City Council has approved that Traffic Management Plan and has instructed private coach operators to park on the cycle path.”
He continued: “The National Transport Authority operates a coach park five minutes’ drive from Alfie Byrne Road which is specifically designed to accommodate parking for special events and concerts and in which parking is permitted on a 24 hour basis and access and egress is permitted up to 12 midnight, seven days a week. Despite that, the NTA has issued licences to coach operators which disregard the safety of people who cycle.”
Ferrie added: “There are close to a hundred thousand people cycling in Dublin city daily and the Alfie Byrne Road cycle path is an important part of the very limited infrastructure that keeps people safe while cycling. It is unacceptable that this infrastructure be closed off to facilitate private coach operators serving a privately funded event at one of the busiest times in the day.”
Last year, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan wrote to the then Acting Garda Commissioner in relation to the related matter of illegal parking in cycle lanes which, he said, was forcing cyclists to dangerously merge with other traffic.
Earlier this year, Minister Flanagan stated: “I am concerned that there are continued risks to cyclists on Irish roads. While pleased that there has been an increase in the issuing of fixed charge notices for parking in a cycle track, I am fully aware that more can be achieved to make cycling safer. Roads safety is a collective responsibility, and I would urge the public to be aware of such responsibilities towards other road users, especially vulnerable users such as cyclists.”
Yesterday, a spokesman for the Department of Justice said: The Minister has raised the general issue with the Garda Commissioner. With regard to the specific incident referred to [the Alfie Byrne Road], it is understood that a temporary measure was, in this case, necessary to overcome significant safety implications of an event of this magnitude.”
The traffic management plan discusses potential impacts on general traffic, but there is no analysis of bicycle traffic flow and no direct mention of the safety of people who cycle.
An appendix of the event management plan, which deals with coach parking, states: “The consensus opinion is that Alfie Byrne is the most suitable (only site). It can cater for a large volume of coaches with the least impact and inconvenience to city wide traffic and local residents. We appreciate that the it’s use has a serious impact on the cycle lane but alternative routes and advance information we hope will mitigate the impact.”
It is unclear who the consensus mentioned in the document includes.
The claimed alternative cycle route listed on a map in the document does not provide for segregated cycling access back onto the S2S. The Alfie Byrne Road cycle path was busy yesterday evening, including children being transported from a child care facility in Eastpoint Business Campus and commuters coming from the Docklands.
According to a number of sources, Gardai yesterday at first directed people to the Fairview Park gate on Alfie Byrne Road but this gate was locked yesterday evening and is not part of a current designated cycle route in the park. Dublin City Council officials on charge of the park were unaware of the proposed detour and there was no signs outlining it.
As IrishCycle.com has previously covered, monitored bicycle parking at large events is the norm in many cities. For example, in San Francisco it is a legal requirement to provide bicycle parking for events requiring a street closure and with anticipated number of participants greater than 2,000. The traffic management plan for the Spice Girl at Croke Park has no mention of bicycle parking.
A sample of the reaction on Twitter:
So as I approached @IBIKEDublin on Alfie Byrne Road this evening, a blind man was walking past. A group of us had to warn him that in fact @GardaTraffic had directed buses to park on the cycle/footpathfootpat where he was going. Great work lads. #ibikeivote
— Des Egan (@des_egan) May 24, 2019
— Ciarán Ferrie (@ccferrie) May 24, 2019
. @GardaTraffic gave the go ahead to block the safest bike route from the City to NE Dublin so coaches can PARK, despite a €1.7m purpose built coach park lying idle literally mins away! @VelocitySeries next month, more sh*t to showcase #VC19 #VC19 #VC19Keynote #FreeTheCycleLanes pic.twitter.com/7Xcz0ZmDu7
— Ness 🚲🌈☀ (@IsMiseNessy) May 24, 2019
— Laura (@TheDublinDiary) May 24, 2019
— Donna Cooney (@donna_cooney1) May 24, 2019
It’s time to #SpiceUpYourBike and #FreeTheCycleLanes. No more private coach parking on the cycle lanes for concerts! Cyclists need the protection segregated bike lanes provide. Coaches belong in the Transport Authority’s coach park. pic.twitter.com/d4Y0WND8zH
— Kevin Baker (@__kbaker__) May 24, 2019
People protected bike lane is up and running at Alfie Byrne Road#FreeTheCycleLanes #PeopleProtected@IBIKEDublin @sticky_bottle @IrishCycle @dublincycling @bikesnobnyc @Ollie_Cycles @ pic.twitter.com/YSN4NzkGkb
— Alan D (@alan_downtown) May 24, 2019
— Alan D (@alan_downtown) May 24, 2019
Well done to all who protected the Alfie Byrne cycle track and its cyclists. It’s terribly dispiriting that the very people tasked and paid to do this job are ones placing cyclists at risk. #SpiceUpYourBike #FreeTheCycleLanes
— Mary Caulfield (@SusanTheSilent) May 24, 2019
#IBikeIVote #SpiceUpYourBike #FreeTheCycleLanes @IBIKEDublin @dublincycling Alfie Byrne road being protected for people cycling home. Alternative route #cyclist proposed through park accessible for cyclists. Will stay here until all home safe especially children @GardaTraffic pic.twitter.com/dzKtVX0I4W
— Donna Cooney (@donna_cooney1) May 24, 2019
— Louise Williams #andacyclist (@loureports) May 24, 2019
#wannabe a cyclist,lets make it the safest option.Its #Spicetastic !😂 #allocate4cycling Welcome @spicegirls #Dublin a city that needs to become the beacon for cycling it can be for #ClimateActionNow for healthier greener, SPICIER city. #IBikeIVote #SpiceUpYourBike #SpiceGirls pic.twitter.com/DtfUeUuvH3
— Neil Fox (@NeilGerardFox) May 23, 2019