Comment & Analysis

Dublin City Council: Still living in fear of disrupting the car?

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South William Street (by infomatique – Creative Commons: AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved)

Dublin City Council’s plan for the Grafton Street Quarter, released last week, is yet another example of how the city can’t take walking, cycling or civic spaces seriously. They don’t want to change traffic flows to the area — they seem to fear changing traffic.

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IMAGES: What can Irish cities learn from cycling in Amsterdam?

Dublin and Amsterdam are cities of a similar enough scale in many ways, both have many narrow city centre streets, their population sizes and density are not a million miles different, and both have similar climates so suffer very similar weather. But Amsterdam residents cycle a lot more and one of the key differences is how that city’s streets and roads are designed for cycling; so, what can Dublin learn from its Dutch counterpart? And can other Irish cities pick up tips along the way?

Cycling in the city centre should be attractive to all, not just mostly male adults:

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Braemor Road project includes extra green space with replacement trees designed to give “immediate impact”

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council are in the process of upgrading Braemor Road in Churchtown, including transforming the cycling experience from one of the worst in country to possibly the best (more on that in a future post).

The scheme included the removal of a number of trees and there seems to be some anger and confusion around this, so, it’s worth pointing out:

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In the name of traffic calming — but Galway City can’t be blamed for this cycling unfriendly design

Among loads of plans for traffic calming, and using traffic calming laws, Galway City Council are pushing apparent cycling unfriendly “traffic management” changes to a key entry point to the city centre from its western suburbs.

The first image below shows what a section of Father Griffin Road in Galway City could look like. The road is a key route into and around the city centre from places such as Salthill, which has 9% cycling modal share.

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Planned section of Sutton to Sandycove cycleway has more needless mixing of cyclists and pedestrians

Cyclists and pedestrians kept apart at a road crossing on a greenway in Copenhagen.
Cyclists and pedestrians kept apart at a road crossing on a greenway in Copenhagen.

Recently we questioned Why are Irish councils obsessed with mixing cyclists and pedestrians? A prime example is the planned section of the Sutton to Sandycove cycleway between Clontarf and Dollymount, and Bull Island (details here, public consultation date passed).

This is a cycle route which is supposed to — at some stage in the future — stretch from one end of Dublin Bay to the other. But even in the short term it is set to go non-stop from Sutton to at least Fairview, or East Wall Road.

It has a huge potential to offer commuters a high-quality off-road cycle route which is comfortable and gives cyclists half decent priority. But it looks as if we’re not getting that.

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