A NEW TRAFFIC system which guarantees green lights for cyclists could be set to make its city centre debut in Dublin next year.
The ‘greenwave’, as it is called, is being touted for an introduction on one of the city’s busiest road stretches, that of the College Green bus corridor.
A motion supporting the College Green greenwave has been passed unanimously by the south-east area committee of Dublin City Council (DCC) which means the proposal will now pass to traffic-planning for approval before a possible introduction early next year.
The principle of a ‘greenwave’ is relatively simple – fundamentally it would see a guaranteed road of green lights for a cyclist provided they maintain a steady 20 km/h speed in tandem with traffic lights.
Such a system has some precedent in Copenhagen, Denmark – however fundamentally it will be an Irish innovation.
The flipside to the introduction of the system at College Green, an area currently hopelessly congested due to the ongoing cross-city Luas works, is that the speed limit for areas where buses and cyclists share lanes will drop to 20 km/h (12.5 mp/h).
That is a small price to pay as far as Fine Gael councillor for Rathmines Paddy Smyth is concerned (it was Smyth who raised the most recent motion with DCC and who has been promoting the notion of a ‘greenwave’ for some time):
“There was only one slight objection at committee to the idea, and that was because the councillor in question was disappointed that cyclists would have to share lanes with buses at all,” he told TheJournal.ie.
Smyth acknowledges that the system is not likely to be seen at College Green “realistically before 2017″, but maintains that “this is a very positive first step towards introducing the greenwave”.
While Smyth may champion the new system, and while the College Green motion passed unanimously at the south-east committee, not all of Dublin’s local politicians are so enthused with the idea.
North Dublin independent councillor Nial Ring has been extremely vocal in his objections to similar pro-cyclist political manoeuvres in the past and the College Green motion is no exception.
“There’s an anti-motorist bias in Dublin for certain,” he told TheJournal.ie.
If the speed limit drops down to 20 it will be like returning to Flintstones-style transportation. It’s mad stuff, absolutely mad stuff.
Ring says that pro-cyclist measures such as the greenway are anti the Dublin economy.
“It’s the retailers I feel sorry for. Just as we’re seeing a slight recovery, a hare-brained scheme like this is just another kick in the teeth for them,” he said.