Traffic-free city centres for Ireland?

Plans underway to make Irish cities more bike-friendly

The Irish Government wants 150,000 commuters to abandon their cars and get on their bicycles by 2020 to ease the county’s congestion woes and help alleviate global warming.

Department of Transport officials are finalising a scheme that could see motorists banned from entering several major city centers, including Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway. The plan puts forward several cyclist-friendly measures to encourage low carbon commuting. The aim is to ensure that 10% of all trips are made on a bicycle.

The Sustainable Travel and Transport Action Plan (STTAP) proposes the exclusion of cars and trucks from parts of the city centers in daylight hours and the conversion of many central thoroughfares into cycle and pedestrian zones. It will need cabinet approval, but a government source said: “Over the next few years, key streets in Dublin city centre will be severely disrupted by [the] construction of major public transport works. When that disruption is over, the streets are unlikely to be handed back to cars in the same way.”

David Maher of the Dublin Cycling Campaign (DCC) extended the plan a guarded welcome: “I would say 10% is completely achievable, but we’ve found in the past that there is no follow-through from policy to reality on the ground. You can make all the cycle tracks you want, but if the gardai [police] are going to allow people to park all over them, they’re more of a hazard than a help.”

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