A former Lord Mayor of Dublin has said that transport experts visiting the capital were shocked by how “scary” they found cycling around the city.
“We recently had a contingent over from Amsterdam and it was experts… coming over visiting our city - it was great to have them - but what they found was that it was scary to cycle and travel around the city,” Cllr Hazel Chu told The Hard Shoulder.
“They didn’t feel safe, they weren’t able to go from place to place by foot or cycling and they weren’t able to go and frequent our city as much and as well as they wanted to.
“And their recommendation was that we need to make it safer for citizens. We need to make it safer for future generations and of course we need to make sure we increase support for local businesses while fighting climate change.”
Listen and subscribe to The Hard Shoulder on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify.
Car usage in the city centre
The Green party councillor’s comments come in the wake of Dublin City Council CEO Owen Keegan informing a cycling symposium that he intended to “aggressively restrict” the amount of space available to motorists.
However, he added that Dublin’s drivers were “proving to be a very resilient group”.
Keith Gavin, Chairman of Irish Parking Association, told Newstalk that Mr Keegan’s remarks were not a surprise to him and that his honesty was to be commended:
“This is really just the latest in a long line of policies and measures to restrict car access to Dublin city centre,” he said.
“But I’m glad in a way and I’m grateful to Owen Keegan for at least being honest and straight about it that it is a deliberate targeted attempt to restrict car access within the city centre.
“We need to have an honest and straightforward debate about transport policy and transport arrangements in the city centre.”
“Let’s look at the implications of that and let’s look at what that’s going to do to the economic vitality of the city centre.
“Up to 40% of retail spending at the moment is accounted for by car users.
“If you’re going to start bringing in those kind of measures, you want to be honest and upfront about what it’s going to mean [and] what it’s going to cost for the city centre.”
Main image: Pictured are people walking and cycling to work this morning in Dublin as offices are allowed to reopen after Covid 19 restrictions. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie