— 57% in favour of two-way cycle path trial in latest public consultation.
A group set up to oppose Dublin City Council’s planned trial cycle route on Strand Road in Sandymount has so-far raised nearly €14,000 of its €20,000 target on GoFundMe.
The donations are for an average amount of just over €155 each, with some large donations of around €1,000. Most donations are listed as “Anonymous” while individuals are named as well as Paddy Byrne Life Pharmacy.
Meanwhile, Dublin City Council said that a majority of respondents said that they wanted a two-way cycle path on Beach Road. On Twitter, the Council said: “Thank you to everyone who took part in the Beach Road consultation. The report is now available at bit.ly/36Lr0wu. The trial route will include one-way traffic at Beach Road and retain the footpath on the seaside, which 57% of people were in favour of.”
The Strand Road trial includes making the road one-way for motorists to make room for a two-way cycle path. Objectors claim that all the traffic on Strand Road will be diverted onto other roads in Sandymount, while supporters claim that many people will switch to cycling and people from south of Sandymount on longer-distance trips will divert to the M50.
Objectors to the trial, which is due to be installed this month, want a cycle path installed on the coastal footpath. The objectors claimed this footpath is hardly used but Dublin City Council found that coastal footpath is used more than the footpath on the other side of the road, and the National Transport Authority confirmed that the footpath on Strand Road is unsuitable for a conversion into a cycle path.
IrishCycle.com asked the STC group — which was set up to object to the trial — a number of questions via GoFundMe on Tuesday, but these so-far remain unanswered.
Our questions included: What legal action is planned; if there is no legal action planned is it a misrepresentation to fundraise for such; and if there is legal action is there any breach of the third party litigation funding rules by using GoFundMe.
IrishCycle.com also asked STC could it explain how it can claim on its website that both (a) the routes via other Sandymount streets will not be able to process the volume of traffic to be diverted and (b) that nearly 8,000 extra vehicles per day will use the same streets. The group did not answer if these are Schrödinger’s streets — both being able and not able to hold extra traffic at the same time.
We also asked STC why one page of its website makes the claim that two council officials, the Lord Mayor and the Minister for Transport “strongly supports diversion of up to 500 cars per hour through our side streets” etc, when a second page on the same website outlines these people’s actual view that there will be evaporation of traffic and some traffic will divert to the M50.
As Rachel Aldred, Professor of Transport at University of Westminster, wrote on her website in 2015: “While the SACTRA report showed that building new roads often does generate new traffic, the Cairns et al report – using a series of detailed case studies of road capacity reductions from across the world – showed the converse to be true. Case-by-case outcomes vary substantially, but in many cases, when you reduce road capacity, existing motor traffic doesn’t all just find another route. Some of it ‘disappears’, or ‘evaporates’.”
“It sounds odd because it doesn’t fit with the concepts we’ve inherited (including the concept of traffic itself), which as Naess et al write, still dominate the way that people think about motor traffic… we got the model of traffic as basically like water flowing down through a series of interlinked pipes. If one pipe is blocked, the water will follow a different route. Flow continues, it just diverts,” said Aldred.
However, Aldred added: “Yet ‘traffic’ does not consist of millions of vehicles appearing as if by magic every day, each taking the quickest route to its destination. ‘Traffic’ (of all types) is a result of you and I, making decisions – often without much in the way of ‘rational choice’, based heavily on habit and under time pressure – about where, when and how we carry out daily activities.”
STC group on its GoFundMe page states: “We are in the process of raising funds to cover costs in relation to our planning and legal options and to continue our fight for a solution that will provide Sandymount with a cycle lane that utilises existing available off road potential. We are now seeking contributions to finance this. All funds will be used solely for necessary expenses and for professional fees and returned pro rata if not used.”
It said: “STC Community was originally a group of local residents from Serpentine Avenue/Tritonville Road and Claremont Road concerned about Dublin City Council’s Strand Road cycle lane proposal but it has expanded throughout Sandymount, Ringsend, Irishtown, Ballsbridge, Booterstown and Merrion.”
The group added: “We all support cycling but we want to ensure that a cycle path is implemented in the best possible way so as to avoid traffic congestion, predicted by DCC/NTA traffic modelling, and to protect Sandymount Village and its surrounding neighbourhoods from the health and safety implications of increased traffic. We submitted an alternative proposal to DCC which was rejected.”
The “alternative” suggestions by STC were analysed by the National Transport Authority which said there were safety and other practical issues with it.
The issues the NTA outlined included that “There is insufficient footpath width available to safely accommodate two-way cycling. Sections of the footpath are less than 2.5 metres wide. The footpath simply does not provide sufficient width for a potentially busy 2-way amenity / commuter route; In addition, there are numerous poles, signs and other street furniture located on the footpath, further reducing the effective width to an unacceptable level…”
It said: “Under the first submission of this alternative proposal, no segregated cycling facilities are provided from approximately Merrion Hall through Merrion Gates to Merrion Road. This means that the benefits of any segregated cycling facility further north of this point, would
be completely eroded by requiring cyclists to merge with general traffic along this section, which is the existing unsatisfactory arrangement.”
It added: “The proposed arrangements at bus stops are inadequate and unsafe for bus passengers seeking to board or alight at these locations. In addition, the layout creates potential conflict points between cyclists and bus passengers and could not be supported by the NTA for implementation.”
Another suggestion from STC, the NTA said was beyond the capacity of the Merrion Gates junction and will result in massive tailbacks and safety issues at the railway crossing.