A high quality cycle route on the quays is “something we have to do” a senior engineer with Dublin City Council has said.
Under the title “Liffey Cycle Route” council has allocated €150,000 for “design and commencement of construction of a high quality East-West city centre cycle route linking the IFSC in the east with Heuston Station and the Phoenix Park in the west.”
Speaking about providing a high-quality cycle route on the quays, senior engineer Eoghan Madden said: “That is something we have to do, realistically it’s something we have to do.”
The route would tie in with off-road cycle paths in the Phoenix Park and the canals route in the Docklands.
As Dublin Bikes expand to the Docklands and Heuston Station, pressure is likely to mount to provide the East-West route, but any cycling route which changes the quays is likely to be highly contentious with motorists.
“We have a study going this year, hopefully to come back with a number of options and possibly a primarily design by the end of the year,” Madden said “There’s obvious issues – there’s bus corridors, commercial premises that need loading, there’s the widths of different quays” and that the size of the quays vary from wide sections to “barely two lanes and skinny little footpaths.”
He added: “The Liffey is the prime corridor in Dublin, it should have cycling facilities on it.”
Labour councillor Andrew Montague said, “I would love to see some progress on the quays but have not seen any proposals – I hope something positive comes out of it.”
The design work which was allocated funding recently is a follow up from a workshop last year hosted by Dublin City Council and the Dutch Embassy in Dublin, with help from Dutch cycling groups Fietsberaad and the Dutch Cycling Embassy.
Engineers at the event came up with a number of concepts, including options for moving both traffic and buses of the north quays – both concepts also improved the route for buses.
Both concept cycle route options use a two-way cycle track on the riverside of the north quays. The two options start at the Phoenix Park / Heuston Station, and end at the Point. The routes differ mainly in how traffic and buses are managed at pinch points along the quays.
The first route option diverts motorists off the quays at two points. The second route option reverts the south quays to two-way traffic and diverts westbound buses onto bus priority measures on College Green, Dame Street and Christchurch before rejoining the quays after Christchurch.
However, at this point it is unclear what the new study will recommend – it may have no link to the concepts. Officials have strong backing to look at the route given that it is included in the Dublin City Development plan, agreed on by councillors and officials.
The development plan says: “It is an objective of Dublin City Council: …To achieve the following critical linkages within the lifetime of the development plan… To provide a continuous cycleway connecting the Phoenix Park and Heuston Station to the proposed S2S route along the city’s quays in consultation with the Office of Public Works.”
The route would link the Point with Smithfield, and Collins Barracks.
This article was originally published in the print edition of Cycling in Dublin in June 2012.