Dublin City Council has said that an alternative proposal for a trial cycle path on Strand Road in Sandymount was “not viable” and that the council’s version trial is expected to be in place in the new year.
The trial includes making Strand Road one-way for cars to provide space for the trial cycle path — objectors have claimed that this will cause “traffic chaos”, while supporters claim the trial will help encourage more people to cycle.
The alternative proposal was put forward by STC Community Group — a group set up to oppose the trial — and some local councillors asked to have a the alternative examined by officials. Nearly 3,000 submissions were received in public consultation and majority supported the trial.
STC Community Group also criticised Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council’s Coastal Mobility Route and the county council took the unusual step to contact the city council to counteract what the group said.
In a “Lessons Learned” section of its submission, the STC Community Group said: “With the benefit of time, we can all see the impact of the recent DLRCC Covid coastal cycleway changes. While there is delight that a route along the coast is now partially available, the chaos and disruption to locals and those trying to access facilities is palpable.”
The county council replied: “The Coastal Mobility Route, from Blackrock to Sandycove, spans 4.5 km and it is unclear
what ‘locals’ or ‘facilities’ are suggested to be in a state of disruption and chaos. Given that there has been no detail provided and the comment appears to be intended to paint a negative picture of facilities in another Local Authority area without any factual support, we suggest it this be treated as anecdote or opinion and not evidence.”
The county council added: “The ‘Lessons Learned’ put forward by the STC Community Group should be considered as anecdote or opinion and do not represent the actual experience and evidence from the operation of the Coastal Mobility Route… The points raised by the STC Community Group in relation to the Coastal Mobility Route in the DLRCC are presented without any supporting evidence or data whatsoever.”
The county council also said STC provided “no evidence” to support its claim that Dún Laoghaire is “gridlocked” at weekends.
Dublin City Council said in a statement tonight that Lord Mayor and councillors on South East Area Committee were today briefed by officials and given an update on the proposals for the cycle route trial on Strand Road.
The city council said: “They briefed on the outcome of the City Council’s analysis on the alternative proposal submitted by the STC Community Group. The analysis concluded that the STC proposal was not viable. The STC proposal was also evaluated by the National Transport Authority who communicated to the City Council that they could not support it and they would not provide funding for it.”
The city council said: “Dublin City Council wishes to thank the STC Community Group for its proposal and ongoing engagement.”
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In a letter to the city council, Hugh Creegan, Director of Transport Planning and Investment at the National Transport Authority said that it could not support or fund the alternative proposal.
The National Transport Authority said that the alternative proposal does not allow for sufficient space for cycling, and includes arrangements at bus stops which are “inadequate and unsafe for bus passengers” with conflict points between cyclists and bus passengers.
The authority said that the idea of a shuttle queueing system in a second alternative proposals by the STC group would result in heavy congestion. The letter added: “Separate from the traffic congestion increase, the impacts of the proposed arrangement on the safety profile of the railway level crossing is a serious concern for the NTA.”
Tonight, the city council added: “The Elected Members were informed that it is proposed to commence the Strand Road Cycle Route trial on January 15th. The trial will last for a period of 6 months.”
It said that work will now continue in preparation for the trial in January 2021.
It said this includes the establishment of “a forum for stakeholders to be chaired by the Lord Mayor, which will hold its first meeting late November; undertaking speed and traffic count surveys; considering various measures to mitigate the impacts of diverted traffic; preparing an information campaign for people affected by the trial; and ensuring that advance notification and signage are in place prior to start of trial.”