The development of cycle lanes alongside existing Luas lines would create uninterrupted and safe routes for commuters cycling along existing corridors, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Speaking in Seanad Éireann, Senator Barry Ward highlighted the need for the Minister for Transport to make provision for such cycle lanes. Senator Ward said: “It was a missed opportunity not to construct parallel cycle lanes, next to, but separated from, the Luas tracks.”
The Luas Green Line runs southward along the old Harcourt Railway Line. First opened in 2004, the line was extended to Bride’s Glen in 2010. The urban corridor which has expanded around the line is still developing, and construction adjacent to the tracks is yet to take place in areas like Cherrywood. Notably, 20,000 new homes are planned in that community under the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Development Plan, demonstrating the growth of Cherrywood as part of the commuter belt. On the Red Line, Saggart was termed Ireland’s fastest growing town a couple of years ago and submissions for substantial housing plans have been made for this area along with CityWest and Fortunestown ahead of the South County Dublin Development Plan.
Senator Ward noted: “It is a real shame that cycle lanes were not developed along the Luas line when it first opened, and while I acknowledge that additional (cantilevered) infrastructure may be required in locations such as the Milltown viaduct on the Green Line, I believe there is an opportunity to develop that infrastructure now. Particularly at the southern end of the line, heading towards Bride’s Glen, it would make sense to provide cycle lanes on what is almost entirely flat land.
While bicycles are frequently brought by cyclists on board the DART or other trains, you cannot currently do the same on the Luas. Senator Ward said: “From both an environmental and a health perspective, we should be incentivising cycling to work, school or college. I call on the Railway Procurement Agency to make those changes; to develop cycle infrastructure alongside the Luas line, and to provide incentives for cyclists to use their network.”
Speaking after the debate, Senator Ward welcomed Minister Ryan’s commitment to review this issue if and when a decision is made not to upgrade the Luas Green Line to a Metro line.