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Bike lanes damaging business is a ‘myth’ says transport chief

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Green Party TD Brian Leddin

Green Party TD Brian Leddin

Green Party TD Brian Leddin

Myths that businesses are closing over the loss of a few parking spaces are creating opposition to bike lanes, a senior transport official said.

Hugh Creegan said the reallocation of road space from cars to other forms of transport was becoming increasingly difficult and more public education was needed to garner support.

“It has become more controversial, more difficult and challenging,” he said.

“We have plenty of locations around the country where road space reallocation is proposed and there is a tremendous level of opposition to it.

“We collectively have to do more to educate people about the benefits of road space reallocation, particularly in urban areas, and dismiss some of the myths that have developed over ‘my business is going to be ruined if you take away these three parking spaces’, which is the case in various places.

“It’s an education and communication campaign that we have done a lot on but have to do more.”

Mr Creegan, deputy chief executive of the National Transport Authority (NTA) was before the Joint Transport Committee to discuss the draft transport strategy for Greater Dublin.

Green Party TD Brian Leddin queried the progress on creating a joined up network of cycle lanes as opposed to the individual stretches that had appeared here and there.

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Mr Creegan said integration was exactly what the NTA was aiming for and they would be working with local authorities on the issue.

Steven Matthews, another Green Party TD, asked what more could be done to win over objectors.

“These campaigns can spiral and take off and it can seem like everybody is against it when the silent majority are supportive,” he said.

He cited Lucan, Salthill and his own town of Bray as examples where opposition was very vocal.

Feljin Jose, chairperson of the Dublin Commuter Coalition, said the very reason the coalition had formed was to give people who were in favour of change a greater voice.

“Most people do not speak out about things they approve of,” he said.

Fine Gael TD Emer Higgins took issue with the reference to Lucan, which she represents and where she supported a successful campaign of opposition to the removal of parking spaces from the village centre.

“It will be redeveloped in an appropriate way that does not impact on businesses or people driving to the village,” she said.

Senator Mary Seery-Kearney, also Fine Gael, said she feared a “wrong message” could go out from the meeting about objectors.

“People have a right to lobby for their own quality of life,” she said.

Earlier in the meeting she had criticised the NTA for failing to notify residents in Terenure that proposed changes would prioritise road space for buses and reduce space for cars, before she was informed that this proposal was not actually in the draft strategy as it had been excluded after preliminary study.

The meeting also heard updates from Dublin Bus on a range of planned improvements.

Chief executive Ray Coyne said the planned 20pc reduction in city fares was imminent.

He said the company’s IT systems were ready and it would happen overnight as soon as Government gave the go-ahead.


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