— Cllr says every project cannot get bogged down in “Sandymount-like battles”.
— Cycle Design Manual needs “explicit aim” that cycling is for all ages and abilities.
New walking and cycling funding from the Government means that Dublin City Council alone is to expand its plans to build 55km by 85km of extra routes to a total of 85km of new routes in the next five years.
In the latest walking and cycling update report to councillors, the city engineer, John W Flanagan, and executive manager for traffic, Brendan O’Brien, said: “Over the next five years, Dublin City Council will undertake the planning and implementation of 140km of cycling and walking infrastructure. This is made up of 55km from 27 existing projects and 85km from 31 new projects. The new projects are shown in dashed lines on the map below. ”
The two wrote: “The NTA recently announced that €49.875 million grant funding would be made available to Dublin City Council in 2021 for the delivery of 75 cycling and walking projects and programmes to be implemented over the next five years, ranging from green schools infrastructure, through COVID mobility and stimulus package measures, to major infrastructure projects.”
They added: “Over the next few months, Dublin City Council will be putting in place structures to facilitate the effective and efficient resourcing and implementation of the plan. Progress has continued in the design development of schemes that currently have current planning approvals. This will see Royal Canal Phase 3 going to tender within the next couple
Responding to the update, Cllr Michael Pidgeon (Green Party) said: “The money is there now. When it comes to cycling funding, it’s clear that the taps are open.”
“We’re seeing projects that were left idling for years finally getting the funding boost they need. In a lot of cases, it’s clear that the funding is for design works, but we finally have some national certainty that the money will be there when they’re ready to build,” he said.
Cllr Pidgeon said: “There are two key battles left to rolling out a proper cycling network. First, we need to ensure that they’re not only contiguous, but consistent. That means updating the National Cycle Design Manual with an explicit aim that cycling is for everyone – regardless of age or ability.”
“The second battle is to ensure that we win over local communities and local politicians. These projects could make a huge quality of life improvement for hundreds of thousands, but I fear progress will grind to a halt if we get stuck into Sandymount-like battles every time we want to put in a cycle lane. That’ll take activism and engagement from the cycling community, but also an ability to listen seriously and work to overcome concerns,” he said.
Cllr Pidgeon said: “The funding is flowing clearly because of the Greens in government, but it’s going to take a much wider movement to get transformative routes rolled out.”
The report to councillors also provided some extra detail of the new planned routes: