Further Statement from Cllr. O Farrell re Clontarf to City Cycle Route
The CRA asked each of our six Councillors for a statement setting out where they stood on the issue of the plans for the Clontarf to City Centre Cycle Route. We posted statements from a number of councillors on Monday 23rd October (see here). Below is a further Statement from Cllr. Damian O' Farrell. To respond to Cllr. O’Farrell’s statement please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funding for this significant project depends on DCC providing a safe and efficient thoroughfare through Fairview for cyclists, motorists and pedestrians. I feel that is my duty as a local councillor to work together with all stakeholders including residents, commuters, cyclists and other councillors to find the best way this can be accomplished. The proposal as it stands is the worst possible outcome for our local area and this is why I have been very vocal on this issue. I made an extensive joint submission with my colleague Finian McGrath TD at the beginning of the public consultation process, supporting the cycleway and specifically mentioning our preference for placing the cycleway inside the perimeter of Fairview Park.
Considering all options
The area that presents difficulty is between Clontarf Road Railway Bridge and the Pedestrian Footbridge. It is vital that all the available space is included in order that designers can come up with viable options, including space inside the perimeter of Fairview Park. I’m not a road traffic designer but I do know that for them to do their job they need to be able to use all the space available to provide options. The evidence would suggest that space inside the park was not considered despite having similar zoning to the space occupied by the cycleway along Clontarf Promenade. If space in the park was used for the cycleway there may be options for buses to pull in to bus stops in the space to be occupied by the cycleway on the inbound journey, furthermore there may be additional space found on the outbound side of the carriageway. Again this is not my role. I do know that the original tree removal plans were excessive and totally unnecessary. The Part 8 proposal makes reference to a 2012 report North Strand Road Cycle Route / Concept Design and refers in detail to the report’s ‘option 1’ and ‘option 2’. What the Part 8 proposal fails to mention is that both option 1 and option 2 recommend using space inside the perimeter of Fairview Park for the cycle lane.
Integrity of Process
This process was part of a Public Engagement process and the CEO of DCC has shown total disregard for the opinions of local public representatives. The CEO’s proposal’s which included the removal of a traffic lane where not the same proposals presented and endorsed by Councillors at their local Council meeting immediately preceding the September full City Council where the CEO presented his report with no consultation whatsoever with public representatives. This is extraordinary and in total contravention of longstanding Part 8 Councillor engagement protocols and a total disregard of all the 192 members of the public who made submissions but had no idea that the removal of a traffic lane was being proposed.
DCC’s Traffic & Advisory Group (TAG) includes senior members of DCC Traffic Dept, Dublin Bus and An Garda Síochána and the placing of a cycleway on a carriageway is required to be discussed at their meetings along with any traffic implications etc. I’m aware that there would have been pre-design and design consultations with TAG however these consultations would not have included the removal of a traffic lane and consequences as the lane removal was only suggested in August. I don’t even think the lane removal matter was raised at all with TAG including An Gardaí . This is extraordinary and shows scant regard for established protocols by DCC. Locals have referenced a very possible morning rush hour scenario of a minor traffic incident / bump in this single traffic lane which would cause the whole thoroughfare to stop.
What am I doing about this?
I am standing up to the CEO of DCC at every opportunity and am extremely annoyed at his attitude regarding this matter, and I’m awaiting his response regarding a meeting. I have also sent him a series of questions and am awaiting a response. I have raised the matter at every DCC meeting since and am also seeking legal advice. I am also not ruling out direct action. I am requesting you to sign the petition Freeflow Fairview 4 All which will be of great help when we confront the CEO / DCC at the November 2016 Council Meeting. This lane removal will not fly and I will keep you updated and thank you for your support.