Action welcomed on making more space for walking and cycling in post-lockdown Dublin

IMAGE: A previous I Bike Dublin 'people protected' cycle lane protest in Ranelagh -- yesterday, the city council installed lane dividers to segregate the cycle track.

Action on getting Dublin ready for post-lockdown has been welcomed by councillors and campaign groups, which IrishCycle.com reported on in detail this morning. 

Dublin is now following the path of other cities such as Paris and London which see increased levels of cycling as a way to help their cities moving after lockdown.

Senior council officials said that pedestrians traffic lights changes to avoid crowding on footpaths means that Dublin city centre cannot handle pre-COVID 19 levels of motor traffic — it means peak capacity for cars crossing over the canals into Dublin city centre is cut from 46,000 cars to an estimated 27,600 cars.

Dublin City Council said that requests and suggestions for other social distancing space and cycling measures can be made at https://dublincity.ie/trafficservice.

Cllr Michael Pidgeon (Green Party) said: “It’s just great to see rapid changes coming through so quickly.”

He said: “It’s down to decent, progressive officials — including at the highest levels of Dublin City Council — acting fast. But it wouldn’t be possible without the decades of groundwork by campaigners, politicians and the people of Dublin to claw back space from cars for people.”

”We need to keep going and push for more. But we know that reactionary forces will work to undo a lot of this once the pandemic is over. In many places, we’ll have the power of the status quo on our side. We need to celebrate the changes and fight to keep them,” he said.

Cllr Ray McAdam (FG) said: “With social distancing here to stay for the foreseeable future, an opportunity now exists to reorganise Dublin City Centre away from commuter traffic filled streets to one where pedestrians and cyclists are prioritised. Fine Gael City Councillors are on board. #letsgetthisdone”

Former Lord Mayor and now Dublin TD, Paul McAuliffe (FF) has called for new segregated cycle tracks on Father Mathew Bridge (aka Church Street bridge). On Twitter, Deputy McAuliffe said: “A question about cycling on Fr. Mathew Bridge. Often adding a cyclist slows both car lanes and causes a danger to all concerned. Would car traffic flow quicker here if we installed a dedicated cycling lane? Or does High Street’s inclination mean it’s not a cycling priority.” 

Later he tweeted: “Thanks for the feedback guys. I’ll send in the traffic request and let you know how I get on with Dublin City Council. You might drop a line of support to traffic@dublincity.ie.”

Campaign group I Bike Dublin also welcomed the action from the council.

In a press release, I Bike Dublin thanked its volunteers for their “people-protected cycle lanes” protests over recent years on cycle tracks on Westland Row, Camden Street Upper and Ranelagh village — all locations which Dublin City Council has in the last week or so segregated with plastic bollards and dividers.

I Bike Dublin spokesperson, Alan Downey, said, “We are pleased to note that following our actions at these locations, Dublin City Council have installed flexible traffic wands and orcas to segregate these cycle lanes from general traffic. This keeps the lanes safe for people to cycle through, particularly important for children and people new to cycling in the city. There is also added benefit for pedestrians as these footpaths remain clear of private and commercial vehicles at a time when we all need a bit more space around the city.”

Another I Bike Dublin spokesperson and a city centre resident, Joan O’Connell, said, “We see this as another step in the right direction to improve Dublin for people walking and cycling but there’s still plenty more to do, especially given the urgent need to facilitate social distancing as Dublin and Ireland re-open on a phased basis.”

O’Connell said: “We’re calling on Dublin City Council to rebalance the allocation of public space in the city by giving more space to people walking and cycling and less space to private cars. We also encourage Dublin City Council to investigate and explore alternatives to the plastic wands, such as the use of planters for urgent temporary measures.”

I Bike Dublin said that it will continue to look for short term fixes in areas where these problems are most evident, it’s statement added: “but ultimately, we see major infrastructure investment like the Liffey cycle route, the Amiens Street to Fairview cycle route and the Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network Plan as the long term solution.”

Responding on Twitter to dividers being installed to segregated the cycle track on Westland Row Dublin Commuter Coalition said: “This is all a bit surreal tbh. Does anyone else feel like we’re through the looking glass? Spending months and years begging for even the bare amount of segregation to have it fall on deaf ears. But now it’s like ‘Yes, of course you can have that’.”

I am editor of IrishCycle.com and have reported on and commented on cycling in Ireland for over a decade. My background is in journalism -- I have a BA in Journalism from DCU and HDip in Print Journalism from BCFE. I wrote about cycling for national newspapers, and then started CyclingInDublin.com for overflow stories. Later the website was re-branded to reflect a more national focus.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: