Businesses along Coastal Mobility Route say it has had positive or neutral economic impact

Businesses along the Coastal Mobility Route, which runs from Blackrock to Sandycove in Dublin, mostly accept or support its ongoing presence and the majority of firms said that the route has had a positive or value-neutral economic impact, according to new research.

The research was carried out by the Sustainable Transport & Mobility Research group at the Technological University Dublin and funded by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

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The publication of the Report on CMR Economic Development & Business Community Feedback follows the first part of the research last year.

Dr Sarah Rock of the School of Architecture, Building and Environment at TU Dublin, who leads the study team, said: “The Coastal Mobility Route has been shown to have attracted people into the area and allows a wide range of people to use the route for transport as well as recreation purposes. It is one of the best-performing routes in the Dublin region and seems to have been accepted as a positive contribution to the area with most local businesses welcoming it.”

Rock said: “A number of issues have also been flagged in the report that were highlighted in our consultations, such as pedestrian comfort, signage, traffic speeds, and engagement with local stakeholders”.

The researchers said in their latest report that of the 24 stakeholders contacted, 16 agreed to take part in the research, and the majority of businesses viewed that the CMR had a positive or value-neutral effect on their businesses. Most of the business activity is located at the Dún Laoghaire end of the route.

Of those interviewed for the research, 3 were managers in business and development organisations, 4 were owners of hospitality businesses, 2 were managers in retail businesses, 4 were managers in the financial and other services sector, and 3 run cycling-related businesses. The business group involved were Dún Laoghaire Chamber of Commerce, The Dún Laoghaire Business Association and The Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Local Enterprise Office.

The conclusions of the report said: “While one company reported a significant decline in revenue that they attribute to the CMR, the remainder felt that the route was either positive, or value neutral, in terms of its economic impact. The fact that the majority of respondents could detect no adverse effects on turnover has made it easier for the business community, in general, to embrace the ‘softer’ or non-monetary benefits of cycling, active travel and roadspace reallocation. These include enhanced human and environmental health, greater mobility choice, better staff recruitment and retention, and the longer-term advantages that may accrue from improved tourism and links with Dublin.”

The researchers said that there was a “near universal agreement” that cycling was of benefit to both physical and environmental health, and that “many of the businesses noted the reduction of traffic, noise and air pollutants as contributing to an improved working environment for staff.”

The researchers said that after their two research papers on the route, they are making a number of recommendations including clearer wayfinding and signage for all modes of transport, more pedestrian crossings at key points, lower speed limits, better car parking and loading management, and a higher quantity of materials.

On the latter point, the researchers said: “The quality and quantity of materials and paraphernalia utilised as part of active travel infrastructure, even rapid-build/temporary infrastructure, should take due cognisance of the impact (including cumulative impact) on placemaking, and should contribute rather than detract from the area’s urban design. This is particularly important in areas of high amenity, urban heritage and architectural merit, such as Dun Laoghaire and its surrounding historic urban villages.”

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