— Campaigners to restart cycle lane protection protests after “dangerously regressive step”.
Mini-bollards protecting a cycle lane on Westland Row in Dublin — an illegal parking hotspot — have been removed to allow for BusConnects, according to Dublin City Council.
I Bike Dublin, a campaign group that has protected the cycle lane from illegal parking, reacted with shock of the removal of bollards without a plan
Ciarán Ferrie, a spokesperson for I Bike Dublin, said the group is “appalled” to see the removal of protective plastic bollards along Westland Row.
He said: “There is a chronic problem with illegal parking on the cycle lane and I Bike Dublin carried out lane protections regularly on this route from 2017 to 2020 to highlight the dangers to people cycling. The addition of the wands in May 2020 provided some improvement in the safety of people who cycle that route and made the route more attractive for people who might want to cycle it, but flexible wands can only ever be a temporary solution to provide short term improvements while more permanent effective solutions are designed.”
“Since the removal of the wands in the past week we have seen a return to previous levels of illegal and dangerous parking. This puts people who cycle in unnecessary danger and will deter others from cycling altogether,” said Ferrie.
He added: “Any redesign of Westland Row to accommodate Bus Connects must ensure that the safety of people who cycle is prioritised. I Bike Dublin will be resuming lane protections in this area shortly following this dangerously regressive step.”
Feljin Jose, Dublin Commuter Coalition, a group that campaigns for both public transport and active travel, said: “The Hierarchy of Road Use teaches us that pedestrians and cyclists should be prioritised over public transport and private vehicles.”
He added: “The Council’s hierarchy seems to put public transport and private vehicles over the most vulnerable road users. Dublin City Council knows full well that this stretch of cycle lane, in particular, is one of the city’s most abused, taking steps to facilitate that abuse is as good as condoning it.”
A spokesperson for Dublin City Council said: “With the roll-out of the BusConnects Network Redesign and the high-frequency public transportation service that this provides, as a follow on additional bus stops are required to facilitate pedestrian access to these and other services and especially in areas for public transportation services interchange.”
They added: “Thus a new bus stop was required at that location on Westland Row for current services 133 and 133xx, plus drop of services for 101x, 111x, 120A, 120E, 120F, 126E, 126X, 130, and NX. In addition, as the extra routes and Spines are rolled out, the bus stop on Westland Row would become a strategic interchange location for other bus and train services. Thus Dublin City Council are working with the NTA to assist and support these improvements to public transportation.”