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Intention to create ‘network that becomes a credible alternative for people’, says council
South Dublin County Council has unveiled plans to become one of Ireland’s most cycle-friendly areas by laying out 263 km of bike track over the next eight years.
At the core of the proposal is the aim of connecting the area’s schools and villages by creating a cycle network. The routes proposed would link 50 of the area’s 78 schools and connect Tallaght Town Centre with the council area’s nine villages.
Council director of planning and transport Michael Mulhern told local representatives on Monday that the plan will provide a “well-connected, well-designed safe cycle network that becomes a credible alternative for people to choose to cycle”.
Following public consultation, the council’s planners decided an additional 53km of cycle lanes are also part of the plan, at an added cost of €40 million. The 263km of track will cost €280 million.
The National Transport Authority has confirmed it will provide funding for the majority of the routes planned for the next five years, said Mr Mulhern. Some 15 routes, comprising 89 km, are to be progressed over the next two years, with a further 14 (83 km) to be under way within five. Among the earlier routes to be progressed are the Lucan Canal Loop which will connect the Grand and Royal canals.
The consultation, open for submissions in late 2020, generated 437 responses, 83 per cent of which were positive and 5 per cent of which raised serious concerns.
Fianna Fáil’s Cllr Shane Moynihan said the council has advanced “possibly one of the most visionary documents for cycling I have seen in the county”.
Social Democrat Cllr Carly Bailey acknowledged the high level of positive responses and commended the council for taking on board the public’s submissions. She was one of several councillors to raise concerns that some “dangerous” roundabouts were not due to be addressed as part of the earlier works.
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin Cllr Patrick Holohan asked the council to install traffic safety dividers between bike and motor vehicle lanes. He said barriers erected by neighbouring Dublin councils have successfully ensured extra safety for cyclists.