Drogheda Cycling, a member group of Cyclist.ie, had developed innovative proposals to improve the liveability and cycle friendliness of the Dublin Road area in Drogheda.
Following on from the launch of their proposals which called for the redesign of Drogheda’s dual carriageway to favour active travel options and public transport space, the group has launched an online petition calling for the speedy implementation of these proposals.
In explaining the proposals, Chairperson Noel Hogan said that “all across Europe towns like Drogheda are embracing active travel – and seeing the benefits in terms of a healthier population and – most importantly – quicker travel times. Children in other countries are being given back the freedom to cycle which, because of traffic congestion, has been denied to the children of Drogheda.”
He stressed that his group are committed to playing their part to make Drogheda a safer, healthier town for everyone, and to that end they are are calling for people to support our online petition which can be found at:
Clara Clark from Cycling Without Age has sent us this report on the recent launch of the Línte na Farraige installation in Blackrock, County Dublin. This launch follows an equivalent launch at the Spanish Arch in Galway in December 2022.
Línte na Farraige is a series of LED light installations across Irish coastal sites that represent the impact of future sea level rise and storm surges. This installation at the Martello Tower in Blackrock Park Co. Dublin was launched on 21st February 2023.
This postcard image is the calculated sea level in the year 2100, at normal (not surge) height. Surges and easterly winds will drive wave heights to multiples of this height.
Speakers at the launch included DLR Cathaoirleach Mary Hanafin, Minister Catherine Martin, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and Deputy Leader of the Green Party, DLR Council CEO Frank Curran, and Finnish Ambassador to Ireland Ms Raili Lahnalampi. Ms. Lahnalampi is a keen and regular cyclist, who arrived on her bike!
This installation was designed by a Finnish design group. Attendees included a team from CARO, the The Dublin Metropolitan Climate Action Regional Office (CARO) which supports and coordinates climate action undertaken by the four Local Authorities of South Dublin, Fingal, Dun Laoghaire‐Rathdown, Dublin City Council (DCC). DCC is the lead authority in the region. Dublin CARO is based in the Civic Offices.
This CARO project is headed by David Dodd. The scientists are from Maynooth University and emeritus Professor of Geography John Sweeney attended. Their work is guided by the work of the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (see https://www.ipcc.ch/).
These art / science installations are designed to create awareness of the impending sea level rise from now on. By 2050 the level will be up by 0.4m on today’s level. Solar-powered, the LED light lights up at dusk. The cycle path and walkway through Blackrock Park is busy all day and evening, as commuters pass by the tower. This should imprint on people the impact of climate change and our need to do something about it.
More details are on this signboard beside the tower:
If you want to imagine just how significant the sea level rise will be for this small child in his lifetime, this picture tells its own story (the DART line is in the background).
Extraordinary General Meeting, Wed 19 April 2023** at 8.00pm
Online consultation on how the unified organisation will function, Sat 11 March 2023, 2.00 pm-5.00 pm
After many months / years of discussions, consultations, drafting, expert advice etc., we are finally ready for an EGM to decide on the future of the organisation. Our draft Constitution is ready to be voted on by members* at our online EGM on Wed 19 April** at 8.00 pm. Also on the agenda for the EGM is the decision on a new name. Formal notification will be issued to all members shortly, but in the meantime please save the date.
In advance of the EGM, there will be an online meeting on Sat 11 March from 2pm to 5pm. The purpose of this meeting is to explore how the unified organisation will function day-to-day. An Operations Manual has being drafted which contains proposed details of how the new organisation will function. It’s important that as many members as possible take the opportunity to contribute so that the Operations Manual is as comprehensive as possible and that it meets the needs of the organisation going forward.
The Greater Dublin Area Transport Strategy 2022-2042 was published late last month (January 2023) by the National Transport Authority. The Strategy aims to expand and integrate public transport modes, as well as cycling and walking, in all four Dublin local authority areas and in the surrounding built-up areas of Kildare, Meath and Wicklow.
From the point of view of Cyclist.ie this is a critical document. Cycling’s role in transport depends on integration with other modes, and protection for us on our roads and streets. Safe cycling depends on policies like those contained in this Strategy, and in legislation like the Planning Acts, Roads Acts and traffic law.
Very broadly, the Strategy supports the expansion of DART, Luas and BusConnects, together with continued reductions in reliance on private car traffic (from 57.7% to 48.6%). The authors claim it will lead to a reduction in carbon emissions from transport in the GDA from 3.2 Megatonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2018 down to about one tonne by 2042. Cycling’s share of trips is planned to increase from 3.2% to 11.5%.
Those ambitions are critical in reclaiming our road space for cycling, walking and wheeling, turning back the tide of car dependency and danger that has benighted Dublin’s roads for decades. A joined-up, frequent, easy-to-use public transport system is really important for people using bikes because it allows for safer roads, as well as ‘inter-modal’ travel like taking your bike on DART, or getting Luas and then hopping on a Bleeper bike for the last km of your journey.
Covering the period up to 2042, the Strategy has a reported budget of €25bn. It seeks to build out the MetroLink rail line including a north-south tunnel for heavy rail across the city. However it shelves the DART Underground tunnel plan. While we would claim no expertise in rail planning, we note with concern the call by Dublin Commuter Coalition to review projections for usage of DART Underground and its delivery timescales. Cyclist.ie did make a response to the recent Consultation Paper on the On Island Strategic Rail Review, particularly with regard to inter-modal travel, and is calling for a meeting with the NTA to further discuss cycling and train use.
Back to issues more closely related to cycling, the GDA Strategy supports the National Transport Authority’s Cycle Network Plan for Dublin, which has been on paper in various forms for over three decades now and is being built out much more rapidly since the Covid pandemic. Cyclist.ie generally supports the Network Plan. Both interim and permanent schemes in the Plan are being built, and much of the permanent network is integrated with BusConnects Core Bus Corridors (we’re studying those designs and making submissions covering each Corridor). Of interim schemes, the patchy Liffey Cycle Route and the highly-acclaimed Coastal Mobility Route in Dun Laoghaire are telling examples of their variable quality.
The Strategy was initially released for public consultation in November 2021, and we made a submission on that in Jan 2022 (which we posted here). We felt the target to increase cycling’s share of trips to 12% was unambitious: Cycling can do much more of the heavy lifting for transport in Dublin than 12%. On a larger scale, we called then for the Strategy to address this country’s dire record on planning delays, but the final version fails to really tackle this issue. Another national issue we highlighted is upgrading the Common Appraisal Framework. This Framework is used to assess the benefits versus costs of transport projects prior to funding by Government, and needs to be revised to take proper account of the benefits of promoting active travel; it’s too heavily weighted towards saving motorists’ time currently. The final GDA Strategy misses an opportunity to make a strong case for improvements here. We were also a bit disappointed to see little change since the Draft Strategy around the gathering and sharing of travel data, and RSA road safety data. We were saddened that there’s no aim in the Strategy to work towards a default 30 km/h speed limit for all urban areas in the GDA, or meaningfully addressing the needs of children who are disproportionately affected by our current, highly car-dependent, environment.
However, overall, it can’t be denied that the Strategy offers a vast improvement in joined-up, long-term thinking and does seek to assist Dublin’s development into a more liveable, sustainable region.
That’s a very brief, broad outline. Do have a look for yourself and let us know your thoughts; the Strategy: is viewable here.
The Limerick Greenway (Great Southern Trail) is a unique 85km stretch of countryside in West Limerick / North Kerry. It is the route taken by the Limerick – Tralee railway line, which opened in 1867/1880 and closed in 1975/1977.
The Great Southern Trail (GST) group is an active member group of Cyclist.ie – and it has been campaigning on the ground for many years for the creation of a high quality greenway along this corridor.
Cyclist.ie was delighted to receive the “Great Southern Trail 10 Year Video Report, 2013 to 2023” earlier today (14 February 2023).
The report includes footage of the GST “Barricaded Walk” from February 2013, of the (then) Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar opening the Abbeyfeale to the Kerry Border section (also in February 2013), the opening of the Barnagh Tunnel in 2021, and the opening of the Limerick Border to Listowel section in October 2022.
The video also outlines the route of the remaining trail – the railway route from Listowel to Tralee (to link with the newly opened Tralee to Fenit Greenway). The video and photos were produced by Mike Guerin in Feb 2023. Overall, the film gives a sense of battles fought and advocacy work advanced by the GST team as they engaged with many Ministers, Councillors and other stakeholders over the last 10 years…. not to mention the 25 years of campaigning before 2013!
The video can be watched here:
Cyclist.ie congratulates Liam O’Mahony, Mike Guerin and all of the campaigners from the GST route for their ongoing work in campaigning for the completion of the greenway.
Cyclist.ie welcomes the continuing high level investment in Active Travel projects and personnel from the present government. These investments are critical in helping Ireland to match its Climate Action Plan ambitions. The most recent announcement on 1st February 2023 allocated funding of €290 million nationwide for 2023 and sees a wide array of projects being funded. These range from small footpath schemes to full blown urban greenways and bus corridors. The allocation of this National Transport Authority (NTA) funding recognises the breadth of work that needs to be done to begin to increase cycling and walking, and reduce the use of the private car in our society.
Funding allocations range from a high of nearly €60 million for Dublin City down to several million Euro for some of the less populous local authorities. The four Dublin local authorities together account for nearly 43% of the allocated funding.
In this article, we provide feedback from some of our own member groups in the Cyclist.ie network on allocations for particular counties / local authority areas. Our contributors have highlighted where spend seems appropriate and is to be lauded, but they also have concerns on the spend on some more questionable schemes (particularly road resurfacing projects).
Limerick Limerick Cycling Campaign warmly welcomes the allocation of €21m in funding for Limerick as part of the NTA funding allocation of €290m for walking and cycling projects in 2023.
It will see delivery of large primary routes such as the TUS (Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest) to City Centre and Hyde Road schemes in this calendar year as well as a number of key secondary routes in all three metropolitan wards. Progress on Active Travel measures on the Dublin Road are particularly welcome. It’s currently a very hostile road for those who walk or cycle and is a significant barrier to modal shift for those residents and UL students living in the area.
There has been a significant increase in rural funding including a fund of nearly €5m for active travel improvements in rural towns and villages as well as an expansion of the Safe Routes to School Schemes for many primary and secondary schools in the city.
One slight concern is the low funding amount attached to the Pathfinder project from Park Canal to Clare St. We would hope that we would see a significant increase to this essential project in 2024 as plans progress.
While it’s encouraging to see the Ballycummin area of Limerick City West included, we would hope to see progress to deliver the full orbital route around the Ballycummin / Church Hill Meadows area and the inclusion of the main Church Hill Meadows Road and the remaining small stretch of Dooradoyle Rd as soon as possible. With excellent projects on Fr. Russell Road and the Quinns Cross route being delivered in 2023, these will be the natural next steps to connect the largest estates in Limerick City West to the rest of the network.
Overall the funding shows the work that Limerick’s Active Travel Team, supported by the larger council and our elected reps, is advancing is gathering significant steam. We would call on all Limerick stakeholders to see the huge opportunities that this funding presents for Limerick as we move to a transport system that supports our climate responsibilities, our health and well-being and a more sustainable way of moving around our city.
Meath Meath’s allocation of €14,135,000 is very welcome and, outside of the four Dublin local authorities, Cork and Limerick, is the highest allocation to a county from this year’s funding. The allocation is spread across 38 different projects, and in total almost half of the total funding (€7m) is for schemes in Navan.
The majority of the funding for cycling infrastructure in Navan is for ongoing schemes which are already in various states of planning, such as the Trim Road Cycle Scheme, the R147 Kells Road Scheme and the R147 Martha’s Bridge to Circular Road Scheme. One notable addition is the inclusion of the Pathfinder Project, on the R161 Navan to Trim road.
Of the €7m funding for Navan, €3m is for the ongoing Navan 2030 works at Kennedy Plaza, which unfortunately do not contain any plans for cycling. €1m is allocated for the new LDR4 bridge from the Kells Road to Ratholdren Road. While this new bridge and road will incorporate active travel infrastructure, it is well documented that new roads only serve to further embed car dependency, a phenomenon known as induced-demand. It is unclear how this project can be awarded funding under active travel.
We feel that active travel funding should have been secured for this area of the town to facilitate the installation of cycle lanes along the Ratholdren Road. We have been advocating for safe cycling infrastructure along this road since last May. There are two schools at either end of the road, a leisure centre, the town’s only park and the trailhead for the soon to be opened Boyne Valley to Lakelands County Greenway. We are very disappointed about the lack of progress as Navan’s residents are denied safe cycling access to the host of amenities mentioned above. The new greenway is highly anticipated and we are very concerned for the safety of children and other vulnerable road users, either trying to access Navan town centre if coming from Kilberry/Wilkinstown/Nobber or Navan residents trying to access the greenway from the town. This existing problem will only get worse as demand for greenways around the country has proven to be exceptionally high. We cannot wait years for the completion of the LDR4.
Sligo Spokesperson for Sligo Cycling Campaign Joan Swift said the Campaign very much welcomed the €3m Active Travel allocation for Sligo and is particularly pleased with the Safe Routes to School funding for Scoil Ursula, St John’s, Strandhill and Enniscrone. Giving children and parents the freedom to get to school on their own fuel is key to unlocking the health and well- being benefits of active travel.
Sligo Cycling Campaign is also pleased that funding has been secured to commence the Pathfinder schemes, Carraroe to town centre and town centre to the ATU (Atlantic Technological University). The Campaign will be looking for clarification on some schemes which merely say “Active Travel” as it’s unclear what this means in practice. We very much welcome the proposed footpath scheme from the station in Collooney, but we are concerned for example that in a social media post Councillor Thomas Walsh included road resurfacing as well as footpath enhancement and junction tightening in his description of the Collooney schemes. Road resurfacing, while necessary in our view, should come from the roads maintenance budget and not the Active Travel allocation. The footpath from Collooney to Ballisodare also appears to be already well advanced, so again we will be asking for clarification in regard to the purpose of the €550,000 allocation for this scheme. A further concern we have is why a parklet costing €70,000 is included under Active Travel.
Clare We note the allocation of €4.5m for County Clare and more than 50% of this is allocated to Ennis town and surrounds. €400,000 is allocated to Active Travel Team staff costs. €1.2m is allocated to footpaths in towns and villages.
Almost €6m was allocated to Active Travel in Clare in 2021. Many of the proposed schemes in 2023 seem to be very similar to those that were proposed in 2021. There is not enough evidence that the schemes proposed in 2021 have actually been completed. We would like some clarification on what was spent from the 2021 allocation and on what exactly, and how these schemes differ from what is being proposed in 2023.
There has been virtually no funding allocated to cycling infrastructure in this round. Some such infrastructure was implemented in Ennis from the 2021 funding.
No funding at all seems to be allocated to active travel in rural areas, or visitor attractions and sites. There is very little in North and West Clare, except for small amounts in Lisdoonvarna and Miltown Malbay / Spanish Point for footpaths and pedestrian crossings.
For example, there is a section of cycling / walking path between Lahinch and Liscannor which was started a number of years ago, and it remains unfinished and dangerous to walk or cycle on. This is not included in the current allocations, but needs to be remediated at the very least.
Many of the Active Travel Schemes have very limited funding allocation, apart from one on the Tulla Road in Ennis which has been allocated almost €1.8m (40% of the total budget). There is also no detail on what any of the Active Travel schemes will actually include, so we would like clarification on this and exactly what these schemes include and hope to achieve.
South Dublin County The South Dublin Sub-group (of Dublin Cycling Campaign) welcomes the allocations in the Active Travel Investment Programme 2023 which advance the Cycle South Dublin Programme. We are especially pleased to see all the unfinished sections of the Dodder Greenway included in the Programme as well as major investment in the Wellington Lane Cycling and Walking Scheme, the Castletymon District Enhancement Programme, D24 Neighbourhood Cycle Network, Killinarden Park and Greenway Scheme, Active Travel for Clonburris and the Grand Canal to Lucan Urban Greenway. We are pleased also that some funding has been allocated under the 2023 Greenway Programme for the Grand Canal 12th Lock (Lucan) to Hazelhatch scheme but disappointed that the allocation is not adequate for completion of the scheme in 2023.
Conclusion Cyclist.ie welcomes the investments in Active Travel projects countrywide. However, we stress here the need for spending to go on those schemes which form important elements of local cycle networks and which connect to important destinations such as schools, colleges, town centres and greenways. We do not support AT funding being spent on motor traffic / road capacity expanding schemes with minor ‘tag-ons’ of cycling infrastructure or on road resurfacing projects. We will be following up with the NTA and with the local authorities in due course in regard to these.
For more information on the Active Travel Grants Programme delivered by the Active Travel Investment Section of the NTA, see here.
Hats off to University College Cork, Cork Cycling Campaign and the Cork Environmental Forum for devising and running the wonderful Socio-Cycle: Cycling Symposium last Friday and Saturday (03 & 04 Feb 2023)! It was just what the doctor ordered after almost three years of mainly non in-person cycling advocacy (and academic) gatherings in Ireland.
The lead organiser was Dr. Eileen Hogan from the School of Applied Social Studies in UCC, and her team packed quite an amount into the symposium which lasted a day and a half – with formal sessions taking place in Cork City Hall and in the gorgeous Hub building in UCC.
Attendees also had the opportunity to participate in a special #IBIKEBop on the streets of Cork (see video below), and then catch up more informally for food and drinks afterwards.
Cyclist.ie was out in force with over a dozen active members of our network giving papers and talks – and with many more attending as delegates and contributing to the discussions.
The keynote lecture in City Hall was delivered by Dr. Meredith Glaser (pictured below) from Urban Cycling Institute, University of Amsterdam. She gave a wide ranging presentation on the multi-pronged and multi-dimensional processes associated with demotorising and rehumanising our cities, based both on her studies and her lived experiences of Dutch cities. Her descriptions of the people filled – rather than motor vehicle filled – streets in Amsterdam near the school she lived beside reminded us all of why we are doing what we are doing! Plenty of food for thought in her talk which was followed by a long and lively Q&A.
Meredith’s talk was followed by a Policy Fishbowl, which the organisers described as “an interactive discussion informed by participants’ cycling experiences”. It was a really great format in which a brief pitch on a cycling topic was followed by rapid fire contributions, with delegates swapping between the main audience and a revolving panel – and all happening with the prominent count-down clock keeping us in check! We will be robbing this format for a future event in Cyclist.ie, we are sure!
The topics and questions explored in the fishbowl were: – firstly, how can we harness public consultation to deliver the best possible solution? – secondly, should cycle training be made mandatory in schools? – thirdly, how do we ensure that future governments preserve the 20% allocation for walking and cycling from the transport capital budget?
On the point of cycle training, Cyclist.ie maintains that we need curricular reform at primary level to mandate it in the same way as we have for swimming.
The sessions in UCC on Saturday ran from 9am until 4.30pm with a wonderfully diverse array of topics covered from multiple disciplinary perspectives. We highlight here the contributions of some members of Cyclist.ie.
Mairéad Forsythe, Chair of the Board of Dublin Cycling Campaign CLG / Cyclist.ie (pictured below – and in blue in the policy fishbowl above!), explored the topic of lower speed limits in urban areas and their role in increasing the numbers of people cycling. She highlighted just some of the work that the Love 30 group has spearheaded in recent years, and brought us up to speed on where the campaign is to make 30km/h the default speed limit in built-up areas.
Mairéad Forsythe from Love 30 (Photo Credit – TBC)
Meanwhile, Dr. Damien Ó Tuama, National Cycling Coordinator with Cyclist.ie and An Taisce, explored the topic of where cycling advocates’ energies should best be targeted in the coming years. He stressed the need for us to focus on capacity building, and on fundraising in particular, so that Cyclist.ie can grow into a much stronger outfit and better leverage the amazing volunteering energies and skills of our network of members. This is what our counterparts on the Continent have done in recent years.
Damien Ó Tuama showing the extent of Cyclist.ie’s growing network of groups (Photo credit – Siobhán McNamara)
Jo Sachs Eldridge from the Cyclist.ie Executive Committee / Leitrim Cycling Festival gave two talks on Saturday. The first, drawing on the ‘Emergent Strategy’ ideas of Adrienne Maree Brown, examined the topic of how can pro-cycling activism become more impactful; while at the end of day – in a packed plenary session! – Jo spoke about the “Cycology of Change”. Both talks whetted our appetites and we look forward to debating the points and questions she raised in another forum very soon!
Clara Clark from Cycling Without Age spoke about “Cycling Without Age: The Right to Wind in your Hair”. The key point was the exponential growth of the take-up for trishaws nationwide (60 to date, with more on order), and the benefits to passengers. Many of the recent trishaw sponsors are local authorities placing them for community-based use. This demands better safe cycling infrastructure to accommodate all types of non-standard cycles: Infrastructure = Accessibility. There needs to be greater liaison with the LA Active Travel officers to ensure this will happen.
Clara Clark from Cycling Without Age (Photo Credit – Dr. Eileen Hogan)
It is well worth watching this “Inclusive Bike Scheme – Coastal Mobility Route” video produced by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council if you haven’t already seen it. It shows the inclusive nature of high quality cycling infrastructure, especially when used in combination with the CWA trishaws.
Conor Buckley, Chair of Limerick Cycling Campaign, spoke about successfully campaigning to get targets included in the final / published version of the Limerick Shannon Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (LSMATS) and the importance of unifying these targets in transport strategies across the country. He also discussed the importance of independently monitoring and reporting on targets to measure the return on the significant investment currently being made on infrastructure. In short, it is not enough just to make sure funding is spent!
The above overview just scrapes the surface of what was delved into (mainly by Cyclist.ie speakers) at what was a top class conference. It was a pleasure to hear so many informative talks from academics and campaigners based in Ireland, all of whom are thinking seriously about low carbon mobility. Additionally though, there were two excellent speakers tuned in from afar, with the technology bringing them right into the room and allowing for quality conversations and Q&A.
Firstly, Professor Peter Cox – now based in the Rachel Carson Institute near Munich and well known in cycling academic circles – gave a keynote address entitled “Care, Commons, and Uncontrollability: Developing Habits for Anthropocene Citizenship”. His talk engaged with a number of concepts linked to the destructive ways of 20th century modernism (the results of which are covered in the IPCC 6th Assessment Report), how the system of automobility colonises travel spaces and encloses “the commons of road space”, and how we notice the world more when on a bicycle. A lot of food for thought in his paper. We look forward very much to the publication of his book on this topic so we can dig into his ideas properly!
Secondly, Dr. Léa Ravensbergen, Assistant Professor, School of Earth, Environment & Society, McMaster University in Toronto, spoke about “Fostering Equitable Cycling Cities: Considering Gender and Cycling Through a Mobility Justice Framework”. She explored some of the main hypotheses which seek to explain the gender gap in everyday cycling, before unpacking the important concept of mobility justice. It was another thought provoking session, which generated many questions from the delegates.
Both of these talks added greatly to the symposium.
As well as talks, there were videos played including a lovely one from Cork Cycling Festival shown in a packed Shtepps Theatre.
There was so much else that stimulated us at the UCC conference, that we will be thinking about the topics over the coming weeks and months and beyond. We might even post another article on the symposium quite soon, pointing to some of the other fine speakers and presentations that we heard. It’s simply not possible to do them all justice in this short article here!
Cyclist.ie sends its hearty congratulations to all of the organisers and contributors. We look forward to meeting them again soon and to continuing the conversations.