Sunday 7 February 2010

New €10m cross-city cycle route gets green light

Construction of a new €10 million cycle route linking Portobello to Clontarf has been approved by Dublin City Council.

The route will be largely off-road and segregated from traffic and will result in the removal of 270 on-street parking spaces.

However, it is opposed by one of the capital’s most vociferous cycling advocacy groups, the Dublin Cycling Campaign.

The cycle path will start at the Grand Canal, where it intersects with Rathmines Road Lower. It will use Forbes Street to reach City Quay before crossing Samuel Beckett Bridge. On the northside, it runs along the Royal Canal to the junction of West Road before linking up with the existing cycle path which skirts Fairview Park.

The path will differ from most of the city’s cycle lanes in that it will be almost completely off the road. It will also be continuous, with 16 existing road junctions being redesigned to provide greater safety for cyclists.

The bulk of the route will run along the towpaths of the two canals, where there will be a distinct separation of cycle and pedestrian areas. Over some parts of the route, sections of existing traffic lanes will have to be used for the cycle path.

However, the Dublin Cycling Campaign, in its submission to the council, said it could not support the construction of the largely off-road scheme as it contributed to the perception that cycling on the street is unsafe. It also said there would be a conflict between cyclists and pedestrians at junctions where they cross.

The council had not provided justification for having a segregated track - it said - and there were “serious deficiencies” in the design of parts of the track.

Some businesses along the route also objected to the loss of on-street parking facilities. The project is being fully financed by the Department of Transport, but the council will lose revenue from the removal of the parking spaces.

Despite the objections, councillors agreed to approve construction of the track, which should get under way in the coming months.

The Irish Times

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