DUBLIN CITY CENTRE businesses are being told to get on their bikes when making deliveries. A fleet of ‘urban cargo’ bicycles are being introduced by Dublin City Council in the next few months to help businesses to get around the roadworks that will be caused by the building of Metro North.
The council, in association with the Dublin City Business Association, is asking for businesses to register their interest in using the bikes instead of delivery vans which might get snarled up in traffic and closed-off streets. This design of cargo bike is already operational in Paris and in Geneva, Switzerland where they have been rented by some businesses who would normally use couriers or vans to carry out deliveries.
The idea, says the council, is that business premises in the city centre won’t be cut off by disrupted infrastructure during the building of the public transport project. There is also a plan to keep the scheme on in the long-term for use in pedestrianised areas like Grafton and Henry Street.
Brendan O’Brien of the Dublin City Council Traffic department said that the bikes – which will carry loads of up to 180kg at a time – would be cost-efficient. In the long-term, they would also be a solution to deliveries as the city centre becomes more public transport friendly and more restricted to private cars and vehicles. He said at the Urban Cargo seminar today:
One of the key challenges, during the infrastructural works and consequential long-term changes to access is how to maintain deliveries within the city centre. From a city experience ‘Urban Cargo’ deliveries are more customer-friendly than traditional delivery trucks, provide a long-term solution of greater access through city streets and pedestrian routes, flexibility in terms of delivery times and loading and cost effectiveness for operating businesses.
Dublin City Council said it wants to see the new bikes operational on the city’s streets within the next 18 months. Tom Coffey, chief executive of the Dublin City Business Association said that the business community in the centre has had a very positive response to the plan. He pointed out that the city streetscape is going to change significantly in the coming years and businesses need to “innovate and change as our environment changes”. He also hoped the scheme might help prevent damage caused to street paving and surfaces by delivery operations, a cost which drives up business rates.
The system would operate within the Parnell Street to Stephen’s Green to Smithfield Markets to Merrion Square commercial area.