Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council’s entire Active School Travel scheme has been suspended after a group of councillors forced a deferral of the key Deansgrange Road section.
The Deansgrange Road section — which forms part of two of the three routes involved in the project — involved making the road one-way to provide a two-way cycle path. Car parking would be retained as it is currently on wider section of the road.
As reported recently, a group of councillors forced the deferral of the Deansgrange Road section routes to school plan, but now — according to councillors who are supporting the full project — the deferral has effected not just Deansgrange but also on-going or planned works in Sandyford, Stillorgan, Dundrum, Ballinteer, Glenageary and Shankill.
The deferral was prompted by a section 140 motion from councillors which was proposed by Cllr Marie Baker (FG) and Cllr Mary Hanafin (FF) and it was seconded by Cllr Maurice Dockrell (FG), Cllr Michael Clark (FF), Cllr Jim Gildea (FG), and Cllr Mary Fayne (FG). While Fianna Fáil TD Cormac Devlin, Fine Gael TD Jennifer Carroll MacNeill and Fine Gael Senator Barry Ward are among some of the most high-profile politicians objecting to the Deansgrange route as proposed by officials.
The Dublin Cycling Campain are looking to organise a protest this weekend. The campaign said: “How about a protest cycle this weekend against the obstruction and delaying of safe cycle routes to schools in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown by a loud minority of self-interested people?”
How about a protest cycle this weekend against the obstruction and delaying of safe cycle routes to schools in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown by a loud minority of self-interested people?— Dublin Cycling Campaign (@dublincycling) September 15, 2021
Cllr Shay Brennan (FF) said: “Why do we need ‘further consultation’ to provide 65 schools in DLR with safe cycling routes! We’ve been offered €3.3m by Government to complete this project, unfortunately it’s all or nothing, the pushback, capitulation and deferment on the Deansgrange trial route has cost us dearly.”
Cllr Oisín O’Connor (Greens) said: “Routes to school called off: Due to pressure from anti-cycle route (but definitely not anti-cycling) councillors, TDs & Senator, all measures as part of the @dlrcc Active School Travel project have been deferred. Including projects already started…”
“All deferred with thanks to a small and experienced cabal who have strong-armed the council executive into stopping the works,” he said.
He posted a photo stating “Here’s a boy cycling home from school on his own on the road next to a deferred cycle route that’s already started construction but can’t be finished yet because car lobbyists have the ear of some councillors…. Sorry kid, we have to consider the needs of motorists before we make things safe for you.”
Cllr O’Connor added: “Folks we’re facing a climate crisis. It’s already started. Facilitating kids to cycle school safely should be the easiest political choice we have to make before we start getting into the real contentious stuff. Safe routes for kids in suburban areas should be basic.”
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council has been contacted for comment and this article will be updated once it is forthcoming.