Construction of a long-awaited cycle path along the River Liffey in Dublin could proceed as early as this summer - if Dublin City councillors agree to closing down both quays to traffic to facilitate construction, Dublin city council confirmed this evening.
Brendan O'Brien, Head of Technical Services for Dublin City Council, said the plan by the National Transport Agency to construct a 5km cycle path on both sides of the river can proceed. But cars would need to be banned from both the north and south quays for a time in order to carry out construction on the €20m project.
"We can do it this summer if council agrees to ban cars from the quays" he told councillors at their monthly council meeting these evening.
While he conceded that there is "a huge amount of consultation needed" to facilitate the project, " we are fully committed to this project."
He made the comments after Gary Gannon - the Social Democrats councillor for Cabra- Glasnevin - asked DCC chief executive Owen Keegan whether council would " at least trial a cycle route along the Liffey."
The scheme was first proposed in 2012 but has been delayed for numerous logistical reasons.
But Mr Gannon said that the issue can no longer be put on the back burner.
Cycling in the inner city is "unsafe for a variety of reasons," he said this evening.
The level of nitrous oxide emissions from traffic alone "regularly breach EU limits" while traffic congestion makes it dangerous for cyclists, he said.
"I am asking for urgency," he said.
"I've asked DCC to simply trial it."
Fellow Fine Gael councillor James Geoghegan (Pembroke) agreed.
"This is something the people want. Please can we just get on with it?"
Dublin Lord Mayor Paul McAuliffe agreed the time for action is now, especially in light of the climate crisis.
He said the proposed cycle route - from the Phoenix Park to the Tom Clarke bridge - is from an environmental perspective, "the lowest hanging fruit."
"It's something we should be 100pc behind," he said.
The issue will be discussed again at the next council meeting in March.