Dublin councillor wants children to use substandard leaf-filled cycle track

A Dublin City councillor is looking for schoolchildren to cycle on the currently leaf-filled and all-year-round substandard cycle track on Griffith Avenue in Dublin.

Cllr Deirdre Heney (Fianna Fáil) has tabled a motion which outlines the issue of people cycling on the footpath as “residents complain about the large amount of money that has been paid to put cycle lanes on Griffith Avenue which ‘nobody uses’ according to residents”. The motion does not refer to children but when mentioning it at a local area council meeting this week Cllr Heney made it clear she was at least partly referring to children.

UPDATED: Images, below and above, added to this article after it was originally published, show the extent of the sweeping of leaves into the cycle track this year which has been far greater than in previous years. The lack of maintenance has also meant that the cycle path has flooded with rainfall and stayed flooded after the rain is gone.

The reader who sent in the images said that the cycle track had been left in this state for days before Dublin City Council cleaning crews cleared it. At the time of writing this update, IrishCycle.com could not confirm who is dumping the leaves into the cycle track and Dublin City Council has been contacted for comment.

(original article continues after image with further recent photos of the cycle track)

The misinformation spread by the councillors — ie that nobody uses the cycle lane — was countered by council officials who outlined that traffic counters recorded 12,500 uses of the cycle lane in October 2023.

As reported by this website, Cllr Patricia Roe (Social Democrats) made a similar call aimed at school children last year.

The situation on Griffith Avenue is far from a simple case of complaining about cyclists on footpaths. Some residents have their backs up since the cycle tracks were installed on the street, and — all year round — some residents are continuing to make false claims about nobody using the cycle tracks.


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On visits to the road at different times of the day and year, IrishCycle.com has observed that it is overwhelming mostly school children who do not use the cycle track and that there is often a near continuous use of the cycle track even outside of rush hour.

Compounding the issues at this time of the year is the volume of leaves from the street trees and that leaves from driveways are being brushed or blown onto the cycle tracks.

The cycle tracks are currently so full of leaves that Dublin City Council maintenance crews can only manually clean the cycle path — the volume of leaves is too high for the mini-sweepers to drive alone on the narrow cycle tracks.

Cllr Heney’s motion said: “In relation to [the] cycle path at Griffith Avenue, this North Central Area Committee calls on the manager to say what plans he has to address the problem of the large number of cyclists who continue to cycle on the footpath on a daily basis, (not using the cycle path) as residents complain about the large amount of money that has been paid to put cycle lanes on Griffith Avenue which “nobody uses” according to residents.”

The written response in the name of Deirdre Kelly, acting administrative officer with the council, said: “Dublin City Council installed a high quality cycle lane on Griffith Avenue to increase safety for cyclists. Cycle counter data shows that the numbers of people using the cycle lane on Griffith Avenue are continuously increasing, with over 12.500 people using the cycle lane in October 2023.”

She added: “While the Council does not have the authority to enforce the use of the cycle lane, the team will continue to promote its use among local residents, schools and on social media.”

Despite the claim that the cycle track is “high quality” the width of the cycle track does not mean any Irish standards for cycle tracks — the council made choices, such as maintaining extra-wide general traffic lanes and street parking, and that resulted in narrow cycle lanes. The segregation of the route is also not continuous.

Cllr Heney’s motion was not debated or decided on but was briefly referred to after Cllr Donna Cooney (Green Party) mentioned the motion.

Cllr Cooney said: “I came down Griffith Ave to check it out, it’s covered in leaves and it’s not safe to cycle on it”.

She said: “We promised when we were putting it in that we’d keep it clean and we have a machine for doing that. If we’re going to be putting in cycleway and we’re getting kickback for it, the least we can do is maintain them, so, people can use them so we don’t get complaints that nobody is using them.”

Cllr Cooney also said that she encountered road works on a section of the route with the cycle route on the opposite side blocked needlessly with road work signage.

Responding, Cllr Heney said: “I don’t think it has anything got to do with the leaves, because the footpaths are covered in leaves as well.” She said that this might not be the case today as different groups have cleaned the footpaths.

(article continues below image gallery)

She said: “I think there does need to be another bit more work done around schools and in general discouraging people from cycling on the footpaths on Griffith Ave.”

As other councillors wanted to discuss the motion further such a debate was delayed until the motion section of the meeting. The meeting however was ended before the motion was discussed.

5 comments

  1. The leaves on Griffith Avenue cycle lane have been building up for a few weeks. It’s particularly bad outside the post office and the surgery near Courtlands. It’s dangerous because you cannot see the kerbs beside the tracks as well as the hidden branches. There are also some residents clearing leaves from the footpath and grass verges on the bike lane too. I have logged this issue on to the council website twice and have emailed a councillor as well.

    Reply
    • Surely the council are obliged to maintain them? Most are designed so a street sweeper can’t get up them to remove debris. Road verges are usually debris collectors from car wheels so eventually will be unusable.
      Cycling over wet leaves is like being on ice. Dangerous. Can’t see puddles, and sticks. Council need to clean them or pay for accidents that occur.

      Reply
  2. I been using this route 2-3 times per week for the past 10 years or so, and yes, at this time of the year the leaves are particularly bad.
    Griffith Ave. has more trees than probably any other road in the city, the council are well aware of the issue as they’ve been dealing with the fallen leaves for years….
    However, I would have some sympathy for those who use the paths, there are two secondary schools at the Malahide Road end of Griffith Ave., and it is these students who more than likely the ones who are the cause of the complaints. Every time (no matter what time of the year) I come down this way there are more kids on the paths compared to the cycle lane, ratio is usually about 10 to 1.
    Add in the fact that very few, if any, obey traffic lights, well, it hardly surprising that there are complaints.
    Those complaining would be better off speaking to the schools rather than complaining to councillors.

    Reply
  3. Maybe the reasons why cycle paths/tracks/lanes are so poorly maintained is lack of priority assigned to them for cleansing/cleaning by the road authority or inadequate funding to run the service due to decisions made by political parties to rebate the RPT by the maximum 15%?
    The political parties that consistently vote to rebate the tax are Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.

    Reply
  4. How many houses on Griffith avenue have covered over their gardens with non-porous carparks? Had they not they could harvest the leaves and use them, nature’s compost/mulch. In terms of soil health it would make more sense to build leaf mould frames with chicken wire sides on the grassy areas and bung the leaves in. I anticipate the response to that. oh god everyone will throw in their rubbish etc. But we have to start somewhere….

    Reply

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