Dublin City Council is to draw up plans for “contra flow lanes” for cyclists, allowing them to travel in either direction on streets that are restricted to one-way for motor vehicles.
The move has been prompted by members of the Dublin Cycle Forum who pointed out the current one-way streets such as Pearse Street and Nassau Street can leave cyclists a detour of several kilometres.
But some members of the city council have already urged “caution” on the move citing it as just one more example of the growing influence of cyclists, whom they claim represent only 3 per cent of those who travel into Dublin city each day.
Under the terms of a proposal agreed by the council’s strategic transport policy committee this afternoon the council will examine how to make getting about the city easier for cyclists in key areas such as one way streets and wide streets such as D’Olier Street and Westmoreland Street.
Councillor Larry O’Toole (SF) – himself a cyclist – said there were very dangerous areas of the capital’s road network for cyclists including Parnell Square where a young man known to him had lost his life. He also instanced Westmoreland Street where he said the only option for cyclists seeking to get from one side to the other was to forge ahead and “the divil take the hindmost”.
Other examples quoted by transport committee member Derek Peppard included difficulties accessing the Grafton Street Area from Nassau Street – which involved a one way system. A number of routes involved detours around Trinity College while short one-way stretches in areas such as Baggot Street left cyclists with detours. He said the Dublin bike scheme was working well but that numbers needed to be trebled.
Council staff have drawn up a list of 11 areas where they have suggested “solutions” for cyclists. These include Leinster Street South and Nassau Street; Baggot Street lower and Merrion Row; Parnell Square; Moss Street; Camden Street by the Bleeding Horse pub; the Westmoreland Street and D’Olier Street area; St Stephen’s Green; Leeson Street Upper; Watling Street; Steven’s Lane and the Clarendon Street area.
But Fine Gael councillor Edie Wynne said the move would have to be given some thought. She said at 3 per cent cyclists were not very representative of modal choice in Dublin. “Ninety-seven per cent are choosing another way”, she said.
Fellow Fine Gael councillor Gerry Breen said he would urge caution, remarking that numbers of cyclists in the city were one third of those who chose to walk. He said councillors should remember the 34 per cent of people who made a modal choice to use their car, or those who used rail, bus “or the 9 per cent of people who chose to walk”.