Any scheme to improve traffic flow in the long run will usually cause disruption in the short run. This is, unfortunately, also true of the cycling lane network being built in Dundalk. Residents’ displeasure with the disruption is understandable, and we would like nothing better than to alleviate their concerns immediately.
This would be a foolish course of action, because until the cycling lanes are completed, it’s impossible to know which difficulties are permanent, and which are temporary.
As soon as permanent problems are made clear, they can be put right. Nobody wants business to be harmed, or inconvenience to be imposed on residents on a long-term basis. The cycling lane network will do neither. When it is complete and used, motor traffic will fall and traffic flow will ease.
Now is the time to look at ways of improving traffic flow independent of cycle lanes. Obvious measures include a comprehensive one way system, which eliminates right hand turns. Vehicles turning to the right are the main cause of traffic disruption. Far more parking lots in vacant premises should be set up, which would be a good use for business premises which have been closed and are no longer commercially viable.
We also need to take public health into account when considering the big picture of traffic management in Dundalk. Fumes from vehicles are the main cause of cancer. In towns, the fumes are concentrated. The only way cancer can be reduced is by less car use. This cannot happen until towns are safe to cycle in.
Cycle lanes are the only way to make urban transport work, while containing fumes to tolerable levels.
Chairman, Dundalk Cycling Alliance.