Sunday, 30 December 2007

Phoenix Park bicycle hire service put out to tender

The Office of Public Works has invited tenders for a bicycle hire service in the Phoenix Park, as part of plans to develop a network of "cycle-friendly" and "cycle-only" lanes within the 1,700-acre demesne.

The Phoenix Park is the largest enclosed urban park in Europe.

The tender, which was advertised on the Government's e-tendering website this week, follows a pilot project in the park last summer.

There are currently 24km of cycle routes in the Phoenix Park and, according to the OPW, and this is to be extended by about 18km over the coming year.

A spokesman said the intention was that bicycles could be hired for a minimum of two hours and a maximum of a half- day, but the OPW was prepared to be flexible in its approach.

"We were very pleased with a pilot project run by McQuaid's cycles last summer and we would like to encourage more families to take up cycling in a safe environment in the park," said a spokesman.

The OPW plan is in line with the Dublin Transportation Office strategy of encouraging people to walk or cycle. According to recent research carried out by the transport body, 52 per cent of people use their car as their most frequent mode of transport.

The research also found:

• 40 per cent of car owners don't consider any transport options other than the car;

• 27 per cent of respondents said the car was preferable for short journeys of a mile or less;

• Almost half of all car owners (47 per cent) take their car on these short journeys;

• 55 per cent of short journey car users said they were unlikely to consider walking instead, and

• Only 3 per cent of these short journey car users said they were very likely to consider walking for short journeys of a mile or less, instead of using the car.

However, under a recent traffic management plan for the Phoenix Park, restrictions to private car use are to be put in place.

A number of roads have already been made one way or turned into cul-de-sacs in a bid to reduce vehicle short-cutting.

The OPW is also currently in discussions with Bus √Čireann and Dublin Bus about allowing the companies to divert some of their longer-distance services through the park, possibly at peak times.

Also under consideration is an OPW "own bus service", which would travel a circuitous route from Heuston Station through the park.

The Irish Times

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