Re: Re: There will be Blood
From Today’s IT
Gormley refuses to appoint cycle lanes engineer
THE DEPARTMENT of the Environment has refused to appoint an engineer to develop safe cycling routes in Dublin city, despite an urgent request from Dublin City Council.
In a letter to the council management dated February 26th, a department official said she had been directed by Minister for the Environment John Gormley to say that the post could not be sanctioned because of a Government policy on public sector employment. However a spokesman for Mr Gormley yesterday said he only became aware of the council’s request in the last 24 hours.
“The Minister will review the request and see what can be done. He is very supportive of cycling initiatives, but has to be mindful of the cap on public service employment.”
The request had been made by the council’s cycling forum, which said there was a serious lack of resources dedicated to cycling, despite Government assertions that it wanted people to stop using their cars for commuting.
The chair of the cycling forum, Labour councillor Andrew Montague said it was particularly disappointing that Mr Gormley, who is known to be a keen cyclist, would refuse to sanction the appointment of a cycling officer.
“Estimates from Dublin City Council show that there were 26 million journeys done by bike in Dublin in 2006 – about the same as the number of journeys undertaken by Luas passengers in that year. Hundreds of millions have been spent on the Luas, yet the Minister won’t sanction the wages for one engineer to improve cycling facilities in the capital.”
Currently one city engineer has responsibility for cycling facilities, such as fixing potholes in bicycle lanes, resurfacing lanes, planning new lanes, locating bicycle racks and identifying junctions where cyclists are in danger. However, this engineer does the work in a part-time capacity, which Mr Montague said is “way short of what we need”.
“Improvements carried out so far are having an impact, but our work has been hampered by the lack of a full-time traffic engineer to follow through on our plans.
“A full-time cycling engineer in Dublin City Council would allow us tackle the poor cycling infrastructure in the city and encourage even more commuters to us their bikes.”
Mr Montague said cycling was undergoing a “renaissance” in Dublin with a 44 per cent increase in the number of cyclists crossing the canals into the city in the last three years.
“Following the opening of the Port Tunnel last year, the numbers cycling in Dublin surged by 17 per cent in 2007. Cyclists feel much more confident about cycling in Dublin since HGVs were banned from our streets.”
Yet another example of the lunacy of capping public sector employment at a time of massive growth and infrastructural inadequacies. How this pans out will be very interesting especially in the light of the recent tender to develop a National Cycle Policy. We desperately need to remove cycling from the remit of the dinosaur Roads engineers who think only in terms of capacity and to employ full time cycle planners who are educated in how best to cater for other modes.
It’s no accident that the motor cars reign has coincided with universal urban decay
Totally agree with everything jimg says in that post above. The car is the enemy of the city. Cities by definition exist to maximise human interaction. Cars and Highways sever communities, be they suburban or inner city, residential, commercial or cultural, and compromise interaction. Cycling and walking by definition increase interaction.
This is not only a transport issue. This is a social issue, an urban design issue and a civic issue. What type of city do you all actually want?