— Prep work on cycle route trial to start on February 15.
Construction work on the trial cycle route on Beach Road and Strand Road in Sandymount is to start on February 15, with the work on the traffic changes and cycle route due to start on March 1, Dublin City Council said in a press release this afternoon.
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.
IrishCycle.com reported last week that a group opposing the trial group has raises nearly €14,000 so-far on GoFundMe. This has since increase to nearly €15,500. The group, STC, did not respond to questions IrishCycle.com put to it about misinformation it is spreading.
The council said that the work includes works at the pedestrian crossings and roundabouts and that “there will be no changes to existing traffic until the 1st of March 2021.”
Dublin City Council said that current northbound traffic volumes are approximately 3,200 per day or approximately 220 an hour between 7am and 7pm. It said that traffic modelling that was carried out shows vehicles will disperse over a number of routes including the Merrion Road, the Stillorgan road and the M50. Council officials previously said that the traffic modelling does not include a single person switching to cycling, when it is expected many people will.
The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Hazel Chu said: “The trialling of this Strand Road Cycle Route ensures minimal intervention in the highly sensitive environment of Dublin Bay, provides safe separated cycling and allows for safer pedestrian movement along the sea front walk with traffic being moved away from this side.”
She added: “This is essential during Covid-19 and more space for movement is required. The trial allows for a full evaluation of its impacts both positive and negative so an informed decision can be made at the end of six months.”
The Dublin Cycling Campaign said: “We’re looking forward to seeing this six-month trial finally getting underway, having already been delayed for months. The six-month trial of a segregated cycle route was first announced six months ago today!”
According to RTE.ie, the serial cycle route objector, Cllr Mannix Flynn (Independent) said it was reckless to impose the plan despite “huge opposition”. Cllr Flynn said that residents, who are expected to take a planning review to An Bord Pleanála, were also considering a judicial review and he said “see you in court”.
RTE.ie also reported that Cllr Dermot Lacey (Labour) said it that was “a bad day for local democracy” as a majority of local councillors opposed it. Although as IrishCycle.com has previously reported, other area councillors have pointed out that that the popular costal area is not just for locals to enjoy.
Cllr Lacey said that he would support legal action against the trial. Cllr Lacey has previously objected to the South Dublin Quietway twice, and when asked what on-road cycle routes he supports he has pointed over and over again to the off-road Dodder Greenway and to cycle routes not yet progressed to planning.
On the Dodder Greenway, IrishCycle.com reported in 2016 how Cllr Lacey said the route was being designed like a “cycling motorway”. He said: “The real problem with this cycleway is that the National Transport Authority are trying to deliver some sort of cycling motorway and not a footpath where cyclist can go along in the normal course of events, they are trying to over engineer the project.”
The council said that the March 1 “the installation of the cycle route will commence” and that there will be:
- There will be no right turn from Merrion Road (northbound) to Strand Road
- There will be no left turn from Merrion Road (southbound) to Strand Road
- There will be no northbound travel on Strand Road between Sean Moore Road and St Albans Park
- Two way traffic between Merrion gates and St Albans Park will be maintained temporarily to facilitate local traffic until the works at
- Merrion Road including the new right turn from Strand Road are complete.
- Installation of the route will be completed in sections, and it is envisaged that the entire cycle route will be open to the public by the end of March.
The council said: “When complete, the route will offer a separated protected cycle track from Merrion Gates to Sean Moore Road. As part of the trial the inbound traffic lane will be removed on Strand Road. The scheme will involve minimal civil works and will be installed to allow for localised changes or removal if required. Access to all properties will be maintained.”
“Over seven thousand information flyers will be delivered to homes in the area over the course of the next few days, outlining details of the trial. The Strand Road Cycle Route trial aims to provide a safe alternative for those travelling to work and school as well as providing a recreational facility,” the council said.
The city council added: “Changing the use of the sea side lane to a 2-way cycle track means almost no changes are proposed on the property side along Strand Road with no loss of parking. It considerably reduces traffic levels on Strand Road and DCC will carefully monitor its impacts on the wider area. This temporary scheme will run for a 6-month trial during which time data and feedback will be gathered and assessed.”
The council said that the plan is “different to anything that has been proposed before as it does not involve major civil works” and that “it is reversible and it is being done at a time when traffic volumes and behaviours have been completely changed due to Covid-19”.