The Liffey Cycle Route Permanent Scheme

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The Liffey Cycle Route is designated as a Primary Route in the Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network Plan published by the National Transport Authority in December 2013. The provision of a dedicated cycle route along the Quays has been a key objective outlined in the Dublin City Council Development Plan 2011-2017 and the Dublin City Council Development Plan 2016-2022.

In 2013, Dublin City Council commenced work to develop a design for the scheme but consensus on the design could not be reached. Limited space is a key constraint along this route as the width of the Quays varies from a four lane road to sections which are barely two lanes and this has resulted in multiple options being unable to find approval.  Dublin City Council and the National Transport Authority agreed that the National Transport Authority would undertake a review of all design options considered to date and identify any new design options.

The National Transport Authority presented the emerging preferred design to Dublin City Council in March 2019. The design was presented at a special meeting of the Transport SPC held on April 3rd 2019 and approved by Members at the City Council Meeting in May 2019. A non-statutory public consultation on the scheme was conducted in May and June 2019 and a Consultation Summary Report was issued in Q4 2019.

The Liffey Cycle Route emerging preferred design proposes a segregated one-way cycle lane eastbound from the Phoenix Park to Matt Talbot Memorial Bridge via the North Quays and a segregated one-way cycle lane westbound via the South Quays. A variety of measures will be implemented to achieve this continuous cycle route. These measures include reassigning general traffic lanes to cycling and  public transport,  a  removal of car parking bays, loading bays, some taxi ranks and some trees to provide segregated cycling provision and increased bus priority. However, at specific pinch points, where there is currently insufficient width to accommodate all modes, the provision of boardwalks will accommodate a new pedestrian space so that the existing footpath space on the Quays can be reassigned to cycling. Figure 1 below shows the existing situation and a photomontage of the proposed Liffey Cycle Route on Wellington Quay/Essex Quay.

Fig 1-Photo Images of Before and After on Wellington Quay/Essex Quay

The delivery of this permanent scheme requires the project team to resolve multiple issues and seek the views and requirements of city architects, conservation architects, surface water drainage, road maintenance, bridge design, Irish Water and other utilities companies.

The permanent scheme as approved, proposes major interventions to Quay walls and bridges thus presenting significant challenges. In addition, the scheme must be integrated with other pedestrian, cycle and bus priority schemes. There is also a corporate desire to take the opportunity of this project to enhance the Quays with urban realm improvements.  

Screening reports for environmental assessments are also underway to determine the likely statutory planning route and whether a full Environmental Impact Assessment Report and application to An Bord Pleanála is required. For these reasons, it is likely that the earliest delivery date for the permanent scheme is 2024.  

All drawings and reports relating to the Liffey Cycle Route emerging preferred design are available for download on the Consultation Hub section of the Dublin City Council website. Link

Fig 2-Photo Images of Before and After on Wolfe Tone Quay

Fig 3-Photo Images of Before and After on Ellis Quay

Fig 4-Photo Images of Before and After on Ormond Quay Lower @ Swifts Row

Fig 5-Photo Images of Before and After on Aston Quay

Proposed Interim Liffey Cycle Route

Following representations from numerous city councilors for the introduction of a trial cycle route along the Quays prior to the construction of the permanent scheme, a report on this option was presented by the Chief Executive at the March 2020 City Council meeting. The report was adopted and it was recommended that a Special Meeting of the Traffic and Transportation SPC be convened to discuss any issues required to facilitate full implementation of the route, this meeting was held on 11th March 2020.

The interim scheme is not a trial of the permanent Liffey Cycle Route, but will instead try to provide more protected cycling by a variety of measures. It is anticipated that these measures will be implemented by August 2020. Work on the permanent scheme will continue during the delivery of the interim scheme.

The full Chief Executive Report to the March Council Meeting can be found at:

Video recording of the Transportation SPC Meeting and slides presented can be viewed at: