New effort to roll-out bike bunkers

Councillors said they were pleased to hear that the council – again – has a plan to roll out more secure, covered on-street bike storage, at a meeting on 13 September of Dublin City Council’s transport committee. 

They’re a great service the council could provide for people who live in terraced houses, or flats, or anywhere that doesn’t have a good spot in a garden or indoors to store a bike, but want to cycle, councillors said.  

But they had questions about the newest proposal for these “bike bunkers”: how many will there be, how fast will the council install them, how much will people have to pay to store a bike there, will they accommodate larger bikes, and ebikes? 

Dublin City Council piloted a bike bunker in 2014–15. The council installed more towards the end of 2019 or early 2020. In September 2021, it said it planned to tender for 350 bike bunkers within the following six to eight weeks.

But it still hasn’t issued that tender. Instead, in April, senior engineer Patricia Reidy told councillors the scheme was being put under review, for reasons unclear. 

At last week’s committee meeting councillors asked again what prompted the delay and review. “Staff resources is what has delayed this project and that is why we are where we are,” said senior executive engineer Jennifer McGrath.

A report by consultants Arup noted that the council has asked city residents if they’d like to have a bike bunker on their street and got 2,368 applications. “This would require a minimum of 400 BikeBunkers,” the report says. 

But in her report to councillors suggesting a path forward, McGrath proposed installing 150 bike bunkers at an estimated cost of €1.5 million over three years. 

That’s less than Arup recommended, and less than the council had previously proposed, Green Party Councillor Michael Pidgeon said. “I think that number would be too low. What are the barriers that are in place to stop us from going for more?”

The 150 is a minimum target, McGrath said. “The 12 that we have at the moment, we had difficulty siting those,” she said. 

Colm Ryder, of the Dublin Cycling Campaign, asked about the pricing. Resident permit parking for a car in the city costs €50 for a year or €80 for two years. But the previous plan had been to charge people €100 a year for a spot in a bike bunker. 

“Twice the amount that a car is paying, it doesn’t make sense to me,” said Ryder, who is a member of the committee. 

McGrath said the pricing was under review. “That is something that we need to still look at,” she said.”The cost of car parking is also something that’s on the agenda of our department.” 

Martin Hoey, of the Finglas South Combined Residents Association, who is also on the committee, asked if the bike bunkers would accommodate larger bikes, such as trikes and cargo bikes, and whether they’d have charging for ebikes.

“That’s something that we will be considering,” McGrath said. She said the new plan was to put out a tender by the end of this year, for companies interested in providing bike bunkers in the city. 

“We just need to get on now and roll this out,” said Fine Gael Councillor Anne Feeney. “Let’s go with ‘done is better than perfect’ and just roll them out. We just need to get on with the job.”

New road-safety strategy for the city

At the 13 September meeting of the council’s transport committee, members approved a new road-safety strategy for the city. 

“The last Government Road Safety Strategy (GRSS) (2013 – 2020) saw Ireland achieve its lowest number of annual road deaths since records began (137 in 2018), and the second lowest rate of road deaths in the European Union (EU) since 2019,” says an foreword to it by Sam Waide, CEO of the Road Safety Authority. 

However, “The number of serious injuries increased during the 2013 – 2020 strategy and the target to reduce road fatalities to 124 per year by 2020 was not met, consequently there has been a lack of progress in reducing cyclist and pedestrian deaths,” says 

The need for a strong road-safety strategy that protects cyclists and pedestrians is increasingly vital as national policies push people to use cars less to get around as a way of reducing carbon emissions, Waide writes.

However, Green Party Councillor Janet Horner at the meeting pointed out that the strategy was years late. The last road-safety plan ended in 2020. 

“This is the strategy for 2021 to 2024. Approving it in Q3 2023 is a problem,” she said. “We have seen massive devastation in terms of serious injuries and some fatalities in the city in the period of time that this road safety strategy has not been brought forward.”

After criticisms, new name proposed for Ballyfermot complex

After councillors criticised a previous proposal to name a new housing development in Ballyfermot De Le Salle Park, there’s now a plan to give it a different name.

Independent Councillors Mannix Flynn and Right to Change Councillor Sophie Nicoullaud raised objections to the proposed name for the complex of 927 homes that Dwyer Nolan Developments Ltd is building on Ballyfermot Road at the June meeting of the council’s South Central Area Committee. 

“It would be an absolute insult to the many people who were abused, both physically and sexually, by this organisation,” Flynn said by phone later. “This would be like renaming a road Jimmy Saville Way.”

The new development is being built on the former site of the De La Salle National School, which closed in 2019.

The Lasallian District of Ireland, Great Britain and Malta has not responded to a query submitted in June about the councillors’ objections and comments. Dwyer Nolan in June declined to comment.

However, the agenda for the 20 September meeting of the council’s South Central Area Committee includes a proposal to name the development Páirc Chnocán na gCloch/ Stonemount Park.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *