— 16 out of 40 local elected councillors signed up for Cycling For All.
— New council chairman to promote a school cycle bus programme.
— Also looks to connect the planned Dodder and S2S greenways.
Dublin Cycling Campaign’s branch for the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council area has welcomed the commitment of the new group of councillors to cycling. It follows the new chairman for the council listing cycling as a priority in his first speech.
After he was elected by fellow councillors as the new Cathaoirleach, Cllr Shay Brennan (Fianna Fail) said: “First off, I noticed that my parking space was full off bicycles this morning.” After laughs in the council chamber, he said: “I fully intend to leave it that way.”
Cathaoirleach is the Irish name for the chairperson roll in county councils in Ireland — it is equivalent to the lord mayor roll on the city council in Dublin.
As previously reported by this website, the outgoing Cathaoirleach, Cllr Ossian Smyth (Greens), installed 10 bicycle parking in the car parking spaces reserved for the chairperson at the county council offices. Brennan added: “When I’m on my bike I’ll use the bicycle parking and when I’m in my car I’ll take my chances [at finding a space].”
Cllr Brennan — who was chairman of the local Cycling Forum in the last council — focused on housing first and then said that transport was a major issue for the council area. He said: “I don’t want to force people out of cars but rather offer people viable alternatives.”
He continued: “In order to do this, we must provide for modes of transport that are safe, reliable, comfortable and convenient. I will use my influence as Cathaoirleach to implement and promote a school cycle bus programme, to seek to connect the Dodder Greenway to the S2S, to have a full review of all existing and potential cycling infrastructure carried out, and to avail of all opportunities to influence the expansion of major public transport projects such as the Luas expansion and Bus Connects.”
The council is to be run with a coalition of Fianna Fáil, the Green Party, the Social Democrats and independents.
Before Cllr Brennan was elected, Cllr Carrie Smyth (Labour) had asked potential chairpersons to keep the bicycle parking in place. Referring to outgoing chairman Cllr Ossian Smyth, Cllr Carrie Smyth said: “I hope that Cathaoirleachs that follow you in your footsteps will continue leave that as cycle parking as it really sends a message.”
Oisin O’Connor, spokesman for the DLR Cycling Group, welcomed the commitment from local councillors to cycling.
O’Connor said: “It’s very encouraging to see so many new and re-elected councillors who’ve committed to prioritising cycling infrastructure over the coming 5 years. 16 out of the 40 elected councillors have signed up for Cycling For All principles which shows that the appetite for higher standards of cycling infrastructure is there. We’re looking forward to working with all councillors to bring cycling in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown to the next level.”
“We have a huge amount of painted lanes in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown that offer little/no protection and are regularly abused as illegal parking spaces. Anyone who cycles in Sandyford, Clonskeagh, Blackrock, Leopardstown Road know what painted lanes mean. We strongly welcome the new Cathaoirleach’s announcement that he will order an immediate review of all current and planned cycling infrastructure,” he said.
O’Connor added: “We have shared a list of over 50 “quick wins” with the Council. Dishing kerbs, removal of anti-cycling metal barriers, resurfacing, repainting lines etc. We’d hope that the new members in the council chamber will help us to get some impetus on these low-effort, medium impact wins. We welcome any councillors who would be ready to work proactively with us to get these low-cost improvements over the line.”