Cycling Dublin Environment

AA Roadwatch on the Last Word: A few thoughts

Conor Faughnan of the AA, perhaps seeing the thin end of the wedge for private motoring in the city centre, made a well presented argument against banning cars on Matt Cooper earlier, at least before putting in extra public transport, claiming that private cars are needed to move commuters into the centre of the city.

While he does present it well, it’s interesting that he’s making the argument all about stopping cars, whereas the plan is more to stop through traffic and direct it around the centre instead, while allowing for access.

It’s a good tactic, and moves the focus towards freedom for motorists, and the needs of car commuters (who are probably wondering how they’ll get to work now that cars are banned, traffic is bad enough, bloody cyclists, and so on), as opposed to the purpose of the plan which is to increase the space available to mass transit and to make the centre a more livable city that people want to be in, that works for its inhabitants rather than trying to squeeze as many cars through as possible. 

He called Eamon Ryan out for saying that Dawson St is a ‘motorway’, it’s not, but how easy is it to cross on foot? Like most roads, it’s car focused, which I suspect was the thrust behind Eamon’s comment, and Matt Cooper correctly pointed out that once cars are allowed in somewhere they take over, it’s simply a result of their size, mass and destructive capability that they gain precedence in any space they’re allowed in.

He talks a lot about commuters (read car-driving-commuters), which is fair enough, as they are the AA’s primary constituency, but how much money do commuters spend in town? As opposed to someone in to shop or just visit? The item was full of anecdote, so I’ll add another (personal) one to the mix here, I don’t go into town as often as I’d like as I have small kids, and to be honest, it’s pretty awkward to move a buggy around narrow streets full of cars, while stopping a 2.5yo running off at the lights that take forever to change (90 seconds is a lifetime for a toddler). So, we go to shopping centres in the suburbs instead. The city centre is not a friendly place for walking (or cycling) and I believe it has lost out to the likes of Dundrum and Liffey Valley as a result.

Dublin has a lot to offer, and it’s a strong tourist destination. But it could be so much better.

The full interview with Conor Faughnan, Eamon Ryan and Matt Cooped is here: Concerns about proposed ban on cars in city centre | The Last Word With Matt Cooper | Today FM