Keep the Liffey Cycle Route on Dublin’s quays — say no to a backstreet detour, yes to a Dutch-style two-way cycle path reclaiming part of the quays and a new riverside park. Option 6 is workable and the best route for the city.
After thousands of people supported the Liffey Cycle Route in a widely-publicised public consultation, Dublin City Council caved in to “severe” behind-closed-doors lobbying. Now the city council wants to detour the route away quays and onto back streets, removing a planned section with an iconic riverside park.
There are pros and cons to all options, but a huge part of the importance of this project is to reclaim the a small part of riverside and provide a safe and attractive cycle route for the north and south quays. A detour into Smithfield will detract from the route and will not make many of the objectors happy.
Keeping the route alongside the Liffey makes sense — it connects residents, commuters and tourists to the city centre’s main waterfront, is more attractive to users and it connects better to the southside, including Heuston station, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Guinness Storehouse, and hospitals and other large employers who are encouraging staff to cycle.
Objections to keeping the route on the quays don’t make sense, here’s why:
- Bus priority would not be unduly harmed — the city council and some objectors say it would, but most of them are supporting far more elaborate bus detours which involving more bus route for the College Green Plaza to proceed (as it should!) — if the College Green detours are possible, so are the far more straightforward Liffey Cycle Route Option 6 bus routing.
- Both the Liffey Cycle Route and the planned detour involves taking space from the Croppies Acre park and the smaller Croppy Park, but the quay-side option also involves replacing that space by greening the current road space along the road and replacing the bus and traffic route with a smaller road with one less lane.
- Cities around the world are reclaiming their water-side spaces, yet objectors to the Liffey Cycle Route somewhat understandable claim to hold the urbanist high ground. They are right that having a large riverside park will involve pushing buses and cars to the rear of existing parks, but this will allow for car-free space along a central section of the quays, the joining up of parts of two parks and a reduction in the space for cars. Having strong links to/from the parks to local residents is highly important but the Liffey Cycle Route would link residents of a wider area to a riverside space.
- Some groups objecting see Croppies Acre as sacred ground which should not be touched. It’s disputed that the 1798 Irish rebels or ‘Croppies’ were buried on the site, some say their bodies were buried near the river, while other say their bodies were dumped into the river. Even if they were buried on the site, a map of Dublin in 1789 shows that the nature and shape of the site was very different — the river twisted a lot more towards what’s now Luas tram tracks and the quay wall was non-existent around what is now Croppies Acre. If they were buried it would have made sense that they would have been buried away from the road and buildings along where the Luas now runs — so, extending the park to riverside then would be fitting of their memory.
- Local businesses and residents objecting on the bases on loss of parking or access on Benburb Street should see little difference between a bus route or a cycle path on the street, if anything the cycle route will be more disruptive as it complicates access to resident’s underground car parking.
- Having buses on Benburb Street would be a downside for residents of that street but it would be a positive for residents living facing the quays — overall it would be a balancing between the two streets and the impacts traffic has on these residents. Removing a bus stop and a bus lane going around it at this point of the quays also provides the possibility of new tree planting on the quays.
Option 6, or a variation, of it is the most realistic chance to save the route.
For more details and background on the Liffey Cycle Route see our archive articles cover the project
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