“The message is going out that Dublin is a hostile place for cars”

COMMENT & ANALYSIS: Before I say anything more, consider the following two quotes in an Irish Times article today titled “Wealthy shoppers deterred from Dublin city, says business group”:

Martin Deniau of Monte-Cristo antiques and collectibles shop in the Powerscourt Centre:

“A lot of the small boutiques in the city centre would have a high proportion of mature customers, who are well heeled and living in wealthy suburban areas. Many of that generation don’t cycle and don’t want to take crummy buses with bottles and cans rolling down the aisles.”

Mary Whelan, of Eirlooms Irish craft shop of Stephen’s Street:

“Some people need to drive. Especially rural people who would be very used to being able to park straight outside a shop. We are excluding a whole section of the country. The city belongs to everybody, walkers, cyclists and drivers – not always in equal measure, but the city has to remain accessible to all, and the message is going out that Dublin is a hostile place for cars.”

The reporter even wrote before this quote that: “She [the shop owner] said she did not expect drivers to be treated on a par with pedestrians, but there had to be balance.”

Now consider the main elements of what has actually happened in the city centre since the pandemic:

  • Around 300 metres new pedestrianisation around Grafton Street.
  • Temporary/ time limited trial of  pedestrianisation on Capel Street and Parliament Street.
  • A minimal amount of pedestrian build-outs on other streets.
  • Stop-start segregation of existing narrow cycle lane and minimal upgrades of some routes.

And consider what was agreed by councillors before the pandemic and still a work in progress progress:

  • The non-continuous Interim Liffey Cycle Route. This stop-start / non-continuous project improves some sections of the quays, but leaves cycling on large sections of the quays in bus lanes mixing with taxis and buses. It is a compromise option agreed over another option which would have looked much like DLRCC’s Coastal Mobility Route.

Just to be clear:

  • Not a single off-street car park has closed.
  • Not a single continuous cycle route has been provided in the city centre or from the city centre the full way to the canals.
  • A very small percentage of on-street car parking has been removed for Covid-19 measures — much of it only a certain times (ie Capel Street).

For the record:

  • The Irish Times article was published about 13 hours ago.
  • The latest IPCC report warning we’re not doing enough to decarbonise all sectors of our society was published around 5 hours ago.

Will transport in Ireland be harder to decarbonise than meat and dairy farming?

Cian Ginty
I am editor of IrishCycle.com and have reported on and commented on cycling in Ireland for over a decade. My background is in journalism -- I have a BA in Journalism from DCU and HDip in Print Journalism from BCFE. I wrote about cycling for national newspapers, and then started CyclingInDublin.com for overflow stories. Later the website was re-branded to reflect a more national focus.

5 COMMENTS

  1. “….customers, who are well heeled…” The corollary being that the rest who don’t drive are low-lives. And whoever said this clearly doesn’t see anything odd or wrong with what they said. SMH.

  2. Unbelievable guff from some shop owners!
    All the high-end stores organise home deliveries so why the pandering to a particular entitled set of customers?

  3. On the back of the UN report yesterday you would think there would be more of an incentive to provide safe cycling access in Dublin. Instead, we’re cutting down trees all over the city for a bus network that is only used in rush hour by a relatively small number of people. How many of these would choose to cycle if it was safer? The inertia is soul destroying

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