Wednesday 18 September 2019

Big rise in cyclists riding into Dublin as transport heads urge network overhaul

Hundreds of cyclists crossed the River Liffey last summer to launch the Dublin bikes rental scheme.
Hundreds of cyclists crossed the River Liffey last summer to launch the Dublin bikes rental scheme.

The number of people cycling into central Dublin during rush hour has nearly tripled over the past decade, latest figures show.

Transport chiefs say a "steady shift" being witnessed from the car to more sustainable commuting demands an overhaul of the capital's road, path and cycleway network.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) carries out a survey every year of people crossing the Grand and Royal canals into the city between 7am and 10am.

The latest results show that more than 12,000 commuters travel by bicycle into the centre every day - up from over 4,800 just 10 years ago.

People are also walking more. Last year, almost 21,500 commuters crossed the canals on foot during rush hour, up from around 17,000 in 2006.

Over the same period the number of motorists choosing to negotiate the morning gridlock has dwindled from 58,500 to less than 52,000.

Anne Graham, chief executive of the NTA, said a notable change in commuting patterns is under way.

"What we are witnessing here, not just in 2016, but over a period of the last six years or so, is a steady shift from the car to the more sustainable alternatives like public transport, cycling and walking," she said.

"To build on this momentum, we need an ambitious investment programme around bus prioritisation measures in the Dublin area, just as we need to copper-fasten investment in plans such as those for Metro North and Dart Expansion.

"We also need to continue to build on the success of our cycling programmes by building more cycleways and by working with Dublin City Council and the other local authorities in the area to expand the Dublin Bike share scheme."

The Green Party said the latest figures show the appetite the Irish public has for cycling.

Ciaran Cuffe, Green councillor who chairs Dublin City Council's Transport Committee, said investment is now needed in decent cycle lanes and footpaths, both in Dublin and other towns and cities around the country.

"People want to walk and cycle - imagine the increases we would see if we had dedicated cycling infrastructure in our towns and cities," he said.

"In Dublin we are seeing improvements in cycling facilities, but these changes are happening far too slowly."

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