More than 60 Dublin Bus routes were diverted from College Green following the extension of the Luas Green Line through it earlier this year.
But more needs to change, said Dublin City Council Head of Technical Services Brendan O’Brien, at last week’s meeting of the council’s transport committee.
Dublin City Council and the National Transport Agency are now considering removing additional bus routes from College Green, O’Brien said. They’re also looking at whether taxis should be banned from there.
The Luas Cross City project was supposed to coincide with the transformation of College Green into a pedestrian plaza, which would have included banishing buses. Several bus routes were to be diverted down Parliament Street, for example.
But the plaza project has been held up by objections in the planning process. Council officials are awaiting the rescheduled oral hearing on the creation of the proposed College Green Plaza from An Bord Pleanála, expected in March.
Meanwhile, the Luas line has been extended, and it is clear that there isn’t enough space for its trams to share the main artery effectively with buses and taxis, said O’Brien. “Tram frequency is not where is should be,” he said,
So the council is considering what further traffic changes it might make ahead of the installation of the proposed pedestrianised plaza, O’Brien said.
Dublin City Council expects to send out invitations for applications for licences for stationless bikes later this month, said Senior Executive Officer Kevin Meade at last week’s meeting.
Two companies are ready to start offering stationless bikes to the public in April, with 600 bicycles between them, Meade said.
They would be like DublinBikes, but riders wouldn’t need to pick them up from, or return them to, stations. Like Bleeperbike.
Council transport committee members broadly welcomed the plans, but had a few queries. Independent Councillor Mannix Flynn called for additional parking spaces for existing cyclists.
Stationless bike-share schemes often rely on council-provided cycle parking, which comes at a cost. The council last year imposed bylaws requiring such services to pay per-bike permit fees.
There will be 1,300 more cycle parking spots put in by the end of March across the city, said Meade. About half will be for the stationless on-street operators.
Fine Gael Councillor Paddy Smyth raised concerns about business practices. “There has been anecdotal evidence from other jurisdictions about some of the bigger companies, accusations of some anti-competitive practices,” he said.
Meade said the council plans to collect data from the stationless-bike operators to help tell the council where to build new cycle tracks and bicycle racks.
There’s growing demand for bicycle parking throughout Dublin so – given the lack of space– the council has decided its approach to abandoned bicycles is “overcautious”, says Executive Engineer Alec Dundon.
Under new rules, if a bicycle looks sufficiently bashed up or abandoned to the council’s public-realm officers, they’ll take it away immediately, said Dundon.
In the past, they had to monitor a bicycle for two weeks before tagging it for removal. They can now tag a bike right away, and if it’s still in place after two weeks, it will be removed, he said.
Fine Gael Councillor Paddy McCartan supported the change. “I would very much agree with the new procedures,” he said. “Get rid of the damn things.”
Independent Councillor Teresa Keegan said she felt that two-week window is still too long.
However, independent Councillor Paul Hand warned against the officers removing “ghost bikes”, those which are painted white and left at the spot where a cyclist has died.