Sandymount cycle route trial likely to go ahead next month

Dublin City Council has said it does not need to and it will not pause work on a trial cycle route on Strand Road in Sandymount while objectors make their case to An Bord Pleanála.

Like the Covid Mobility Route between Blackrock and Sandycove, the trial Standymount cycle route will use an existing general traffic lane to make up a two-way cycle path.

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The trial cycle route will link up with existing infrastructure to make up a near-continuous segregated cycle route stretching around 11km from just outside the city centre to the suburbs — the first such route of its kind in Dublin.

Supporters of the trial see that level of new connectivity as have huge potential for getting people out of cars, but objectors have said it will displace traffic into residential streets.

The objectors have also dismissed Dublin City Council’s attempts to provide measures which makes sure traffic displacement does not fill residential streets, including traffic calming and possible new restrictions on trucks.

A group set up to to object to the trial —Serpentine Avenue, Tritonville and Claremont Roads (STC) — said last week that it was making a Section 5 appeal to An Bord Pleanála. It is only at the early stage of mounting such an appeal and it is understood that the appeal had not yet been lodged.

The STC groups claims the council does not has the authority to go ahead with the trial, however the Road Traffic Act, as amended by the Public Transportation Regulation Act allows for wide-ranging changes to existing roads and streets, including fully closing off streets to motorists.

The primary legislation approved by the Dail allows the council to “restrict or control the speed or movement of, or which prevent, restrict or control access to a public road or roads by, mechanically propelled vehicles (whether generally or of a particular class) and measures which facilitate the safe use of public roads by different classes of traffic (including pedestrians and cyclists).”

It “includes for the purposes of the above the provision of traffic signs, road markings, bollards, posts, poles, chicanes, rumble areas, raised, lowered or modified road surfaces, ramps, speed cushions, speed tables or other similar works or devices, islands or central reservations, roundabouts, modified junctions, works to reduce or modify the width of the roadway and landscaping, planting or other similar works.”

RTÉ has reported that the city council’s law agent stated that the residents’ Section 5 application is “quite clearly an attempt to frustrate the Council in providing this trial of improved cycling infrastructure”.

RTÉ also quoted the council as stating: “Given the urgent need to provide improved cycling infrastructure on Strand Road and that this is a six month trial, the City Council will continue to prepare for and implement the trial, put in place monitoring of impacts and take part in the consultative forum with all interested parties”.

The State broadcaster said that law agent said that there is no legal obligation to halt work on the trial while a Section 5 application is being made.

The only possible legal bar to stop the trial would be a High Court injunction, but it is so-far unclear if residents will take that approach.

The objecting group, STC, has claimed that local councillors voted this week to stall the trial, but the video of the meeting (below) shows how some councillors were confused about the point of the motion they were voting on, and the proposer said that it was substantially about writing to the Minister of Transport about a long term plan for the S2S cycle route and noting what the objectors had to say, but not stalling the trial.

Many local resident groups had also objected to the long-term plan, which they now want reviewed.

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