Delay to Liffey Cycle Route is a Bitter Blow
The NTA has suspended funding on the project.
The Liffey Cycle Route received a further setback this morning when it was announced that the National Transport Authority (NTA) has suspended funding on the project to Dublin City Council. This means that all design and development work by Dublin City Council has ceased. The NTA will now engage a third party to review all design options for the Liffey Cycle Route, including options that have previously been ruled out.
This new delay to the project comes as a bitter disappointment to Dublin Cycling Campaign. The Liffey Cycle Route began with stakeholder consultations back in December 2011 and has gone through a number of design iterations since then, but there has yet to be a design presented that received universal support from cycling advocates, councillors, local residents, and business groups.
The latest design options that were being debated were Option 7, which provided the best cycling facilities but diverted private traffic off the Quays for a short section near Smithfield, and Option 8, which kept private traffic on the Quays but included a heavily compromised “boardwalk” cycle track at an additional cost of €3million.
In the end, no consensus could be reached on either option, with local residents in Stoneybatter & Smithfield genuinely fearful of the impact Option 7’s traffic diversions would have on their locality, and Option 8 providing wholly substandard cycling facilities that undermined the original goal of the project, i.e. the creation of a high quality cycling route from the Phoenix Park to the Point Village.
Dublin Cycling Campaign has worked hard to galvanize support for the Liffey Cycle Route. This year alone we have hosted three separate Liffey Cycles along the Quays which attracted more than 2,000 participants in total. There is city-wide support for a Liffey Cycle Route amongst cyclists, local councillors, businesses, residents, and within Dublin City Council itself. Recently released traffic studies show that the number of people cycling in Dublin has nearly doubled over the past five years. Cycling is booming. The creation of a Liffey Cycle Route is a no-brainer. What has failed so far is the process for providing it.
The local people in Stoneybatter & Smithfield, many of whom understandably opposed Option 7, are fully supportive of the Liffey Cycle Route concept and see their area as a potential cycling hub in the city. Dublin Cycling Campaign has met with representatives and residents in the area and looks forward to further engaging with them to help make the area more liveable and more amenable to people who walk and cycle. The development of the DIT campus in Grangegorman is already having a transformative effect on the area and presents a golden opportunity to mould a vibrant, sustainable community around Smithfield & Stoneybatter.
So, what next for the Liffey Cycle Route? We hope that the NTA review of the design options will be swift and that the completion of the Liffey Cycle Route will be given the highest priority. Cyclist numbers are booming, despite the lack of new and safer infrastructure, but there has also been a spike in cycling fatalities and serious injuries. The current conditions for cycling along the Quays are very poor and quite frankly dangerous. Will it take another cycling death on this route to move this project along? We sincerely hope not!
We will be seeking a clear timeline from the NTA for the completion of the Liffey Cycle Route, and we are happy to engage with them to present cyclists’ viewpoint. We are also prepared to engage with all interested parties, especially any local residents potentially affected by design proposals. We will not stop campaigning until a safe, segregated, and iconic cycle route is in place along the Liffey Quays, as originally promised at the outset of this design process.
If you wish to become involved in this ongoing process, and work with us on seeking the best solution, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, marking your message LIFFEY.
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