Dún Laoghaire Living Streets proposal is “in the balance” with fear of project being watered down

Comment & Analysis: Dún Laoghaire Living Streets proposal is “in the balance” and “very tight” according to local campaigners who are supporting the changes.

A large local campaign of support has been carried out by residents and supporting councillors, but it is feared that regardless of the public consultation (which ends at midnight tonight) support the numbers of councillors might not add up.

Support for the project includes but goes beyond “cyclists” and definitely beyond “cycling campaigners”. It includes residents who want to see a nicer town centre and parents who want safer streets for their children to get to school on foot or bike.

Generally, people who want to see their area made safer and more enjoyable. Those who can see that this has worked elsewhere and will work locally, and aren’t willing to buy into the claims of impending doom.

The plan includes pedestrianisation of parts of George’s Street Lower, Sussex Street and Convent Road and a low-traffic area created by using modal filters in an area bounded by George’s Street, Glenageary Rd Lower and York Road (see map below).

The Dún Laoghaire Living Streets is using the Part 8 planning process which requires councillors to vote on the plan. The big fear is that there may not be enough support for the project from Fine Gael which is the largest party on the 40-seat council.


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A key worry is that there might be an attempt to water down the project to the point of making it weak tea but where some councillors will still try to claim to be supportive. Few councillors in any of the four Dublin councils are now willing to be openly against liveable street projects, even the ones who keep voting against projects keep saying they are supportive.

Dún Laoghaire voters might not be very forgiving of councillors siding with the people who are pushing against the plan including a mixed bag of people which ranges from quiet conspiracy theorists sounding reasonable even on Twitter until it is found that they were liking off-the-wall tweets, and others who are willing to shout at doctors in public meetings. Of course, there’s a base there for some councillors to get votes from, but it’s a riskier game in Dún Laoghaire than it is elsewhere.

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While the Dún Laoghaire-based Fine Gael Cllr Lorraine Hall is openly supporting the project, others in her party have tried to make a name for themselves by “standing up for motorists” or playing both sides, and it’s unclear how a majority of the Fine Gael’s 13 councillors will turn.

There’s a similar mix of views among Fianna Fáil’s 7 councillors but with nearly less than half of the numbers.

The majority of the Labour Party’s six councillors are more likely to be supportive, and the Green’s six are even more sure things at supporting it. Social Democrats’s Cllr Dave Quinn is also likely to support the project.

The six independents are more of wild cards while People Before Profit’s Melisa Halpin has come out against core parts of the project and is playing the old game of saying she supports it while campaigning against it.

To end on a side note: Some councillors might ask why they were not contacted before this article. For at least some of you, I can point you to your previous responses where you acted as if it was an affront to democracy by being asked your intentions before a vote previously when the job of journalism is to look at these issues before and after votes and looking at politicians’ intentions should be a very normal part of journalism.

2 comments

  1. Joseph’s school is 150 metres up the avenue, not on Tivoli road itself. Dominican on Convent Road is 500 metres off it and Monkstown CBC at Mounttown is 200 metres from the end of Corrig Road. The latter is a huge school complex where kids currently either dice with the cars on Corrig Rd by bike or walk along the narrow footpath to the traffic light at the top of York Road.

    Vast majority of the kids attending Josephs and Dominican walk/scoot to school. I used to live beside Josephs and would see the amount of motorist pick-up in the minority.

    There is absolutely no way there could be a cycle lane be put in either direction on any part of Tivoli Rd without CPO of the tarmaced areas on York Rd end, and outside HSE – to what end? it would be 150 metres of going nowhere. As someone who grew up in the area, walked and cycled that road, I can see no room for a motorist to even close-pass a bike without going over the centre line of the road at any point on its length – there’s no room for a bike lane – magic paint or otherwise.

    Given the huge amount of pedestrian traffic that comes down through Cualanor from the thousands apartments and houses of Cualanor and Honey Park, down from the ‘Noggin through Royal Terrace/Crosthwaite Park, they will all benefit from this initiative as well as encourage others to do so as well. i.e. People living in the area will benefit, to the detriment of the huge portion of motor traffic that drives THROUGH DL, and who don’t spend a penny in the town.

    It’s clear that with a doubling of private cars on our roads in the last 20 years and no room to expand roads in the area, there is little room to keep piling more and more cars onto Dun Laoghaire’s roads, so alternatives have to be looked at that are beyond the urging and pleading people to use active travel.

    It is a much more dangerous proposition to cycle in traffic than in a dedicated bike lane. That’s before we get into the fact that developing bike lanes is not for the hardy experienced male on a bike 40+ years, it is for school kids, students and other less confident user who don’t want to face a life-and-death experience every time they want to get to school, college etc. That’s to cater for the large portion of people who would like to cycle, but see it as too dangerous.

    Living Streets are not just about bikes any more than roads are only about motorists. The main beneficiaries are people who walk, as well as those who cycle

    At the end of it all, it will be watered down, with the councillors listening to their usual cohort of voters who motor into and through DL rather than what will benefit the safety of those who live in DL. As was the case with the decision to not remove the slip lane near bakers corner at the Rochestown Ave/Pottery Rd junction.

    Reply

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