— “Preferred design” has very limited consultation until June 8, 2023.
Dublin City Council plans to remove a section of the highly popular Grand Canal cycle path, and replace it with a “share with care” area at Portobello Harbour.
The project is being run by Dublin City Council’s Parks department which has a history of being against cycle paths despite the general public, disability campaigners and cycling campaigners all favouring segregating pedestrians and people cycling.
The shared space which is planned looks to be insufficiently wide at a number of points for the level of walking and cycling at peak times in the area.
There is already a shared section of the Grand Canal cycle route across a plaza-like area, on Grand Canal Square, which has proved to be problematic with walking and cycling squeezed into pinch points caused by the placement of planters and seating — a design which is repeated on the plans for Portobello Harbour.
Another shared area on the route is on the west side of Leeson Street and that is also widely viewed as very problematic.
There are also concerns that the share space would enable and encourage cyclists to continue along the canal bank west of Portobello Harbour, while the current cycle path pushes people cycling towards using the streets around the block.
A local resident, Niels Warburton, said: “The initial plans for the Portobello Harbour Refurbishment were shared with the community today. The current plans includes a lot more greenery and space for incidental play for kids. Lots to like in the plans. I have some concerns with converting the current short section of two-way cycle path to a shared pedestrian cycling space. Shared spaces like this on a busy route and typically disliked by both pedestrians and cyclists.”
He also added: “Also not clear where the current Dublin Bikes stand will move to. This is heavily utilised so needs to not be moved far.”
Kevin Baker, a cycling campaigner focused on infrastructure and a former chairperson of the Dublin Cycling Campaign, said: “This plan would be bad for pedestrians, cyclists and people trying to use this public space. This is one of the busiest cycle routes in the city and the council want to cover it into a ‘share with care’ area for cycling, skateboarding, relaxing and walking. That’s conflict.”
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The public consultation ends on June 8, 2023, and details can be found at consultation.dublincity.ie.