Sandymount residents welcome revival of plan for boardwalk cycle path

by Rachel Darcy

Residents groups in Dublin 4 have welcomed the passing of an emergency motion on Monday evening, calling on the Minister for Transport to revive a 2015 plan for a boardwalk cycle path in Sandymount.

The emergency motion was put forward by Fianna Fáil councillor Claire O’Connor, Fine Gael councillors Paddy McCartan and James Geoghegan and Labour councillor Dermot Lacey.

In the 2015 plan, a cycle path would be constructed on a boardwalk over the sea side of Strand Road in Sandymount instead of on the road itself, which would close the north bound traffic lane, as is currently proposed by Dublin City Council (DCC).

It is estimated that there will be over 7,500 vehicles displaced under DCC’s current plans, with residents groups alleging that the council ‘has not addressed’ where the displaced vehicles will go.

Data from the National Transport Authority (NTA) also shows there will be a traffic increase in the locality of Sandymount, Ballsbridge, Irishtown and Merrion Road should the north bound lane be closed.

In a statement, Residents Associations from the surrounding areas of Serpentine Ave, Tritonville and Claremont Roads, Sandymount & Merrion Residents Association, Gilford Road, Ballsbridge, Merrion Road and many more say that they do not believe the Strand Road cycle lane is a ‘Covid Mobility’ measure.

A representative said: “Whilst we are acutely aware of the precarious Covid situation the country is now in, the Strand Road Cycle Route cannot be considered an emergency measure.

“We are not supposed to be leaving our homes bar essential journeys; schools and workplaces are closed; there is a 5km travel limit and Strand Road is not on desire lines, the parallel routes along Merrion Road and Park Avenue are more direct north / south.”

The residents groups say they are pro-cycling and fully supportive of an off road cycle track as detailed in the original proposal, and have asked for DCC to re-engage with the NTA and Minister Eamon Ryan.

They also believe that the plans require planning permission due to the impact they will have on surrounding communities.

Serpentine Tritonville Claremont community group informed the Lord Mayor and DCC senior management last week that they have engaged advisors to seek a Section 5 referral to An Bord Pleanala to adjudicate on the proposed cyclepath.

A Section 5 referral will determine if the DCC proposed road closure is an allowable exempt planning activity.

Local residents groups are calling on DCC and the NTA to delay the trial period or the commencement of any works so that the matter can be adjudicated upon by An Bord Pleanala.

A spokesperson for the community groups said: “We regret that the current proposal by Dublin City Council has disregarded residents of this urban village and proven to be so divisive. It has attempted to divide our community, pitting road against road.

“No proper regard has been given to the environmental impact on driving traffic from the Strand Road, a regional road, through narrow residential roads.

“No regard has been given to those living in Sandymount Village and environ, Irishtown, Ringsend, Ballsbridge and Merrion who enjoy walking and cycling through our community going about their daily business.”

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