New Cycleway Plan for Greater Dublin Area – September 2013

The National Transport Authority (NTA) has published a draft Cycle Network Plan for the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) It is the most ambitious and comprehensive study ever undertaken of the matter and covers an area from Arklow to Dundalk along the coast and inland as far as Portlaoise, Mullingar and Virginia.
The main objective for this plan stems from the National Cycle Policy Framework’s commitment to ensuring that 10% of all journeys by 2020 will be by bicycle. This follows a concerted attempt by all government bodies and organizations to ensure that cycling as a transport mode is supported, enhanced and exploited, in order to achieve strategic objectives and reach national goals.
Three classes of cycleway are envisaged:
An Urban Cycle Network, these cater for the main cycle arteries within the city centre, link principle and local zones and cycle routes within the local zones.
The Inter-urban Cycle Network, connecting the urban cycle network routes (Light Blue lines on maps);
The Green Route Network (Greenways), these predominately along the tourist/recreation routes providing for both leisure and commuter cycling.   

Supporters of the Sutton to Sandycove Promenade and Cycleway will be pleased to know that it is included in the last of these categories as the central section of a Greenway that extends from Dundalk to Arklow, almost all of it along the coast. The proposed route for the S2S in the urban area is also on the coast from Sutton to Fairview and from Sandymount to Dun Laoghaire. Instead of continuing to Sandycove however, it diverts inland along the line of the Metals (the original Dalkey rail line) and into Dalkey Village. This makes it easier to get continuity south to Killiney and on to Bray and Arklow. The plan does not preclude a short extension from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Sandycove.

Unlike the recent proposal by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, the clear objective of the NTA plan is to put the cycleway on the seafront outside the Dart Line. The initial environmental screening study notes however that there may be a conflict with the designation of South Dublin Bay as a Habitat for Birds and that a detailed Appropriate Assessment will be needed to finally ascertain whether it will be permitted in this location or not. This poses the biggest risk to the completion of the seafront promenade and cycleway as curreently envisaged.

Overall the plan is welcome and the Department of Transport and Tourism and the National Transport Authority should be commended for their work in preparing it. The next stage in the process will be of great significance in determining whether the S2S project will be completed or not.

The draft Plan and associated Strategic Environmental Assessment Report and Appropriate Assessment Reports can be downloaded from the following link: 

Written submissions and observations can be submitted using the form on the opening page. All submissions must include the full name and address of the person making the submission and where relevant the name of the body or organization represented.
Closing date for all submissions in relation to all the relevant and supporting documents is Monday 14th October 2013 at 5pm.