There are certain things, it seems to me, that you simply can’t say these days.
Nobody will give you a platform. Because, quite simply, it wouldn’t be worth the bother of all the negative reaction, the finger wagging and the downright condemnation for allowing such unacceptable views to be published.
Believe it or not, those subjects are bike lanes and Bus Connects.
Every single time I have criticised a particular bike lane, existing or planned, I have been accused of being anti bike.
When I mention the utter lack of consideration in such plans for the disabled or less abled, I am told – I swear – that in other countries 15 per cent of the disabled cycle suggesting, I presume, that I should do the same thing.
If I criticise elements of the €2billion – yes more than the Children’s Hospital – Bus Connects scheme I am accused of being pro-car and that I am against the struggle to fight climate change.
I shouldn’t have to do this here but I’m going to. I am wholly in favour of more and wider bike lanes. I am wholly in favour of finding a way of reducing the number of cars on our loads particularly those with internal combustion engines.
But I think some of the things being proposed now, dishonestly using Covid as justification, are akin to jumping out of a plane and hoping someone hands you a parachute on the way down.
Take that suggestion of a bike lane along Strand Road in Sandymount.
Yes, it would be wonderful – if the result wasn’t forcing hundreds of cars and commercial transport through Sandymount Village. Because that’s what it would do. It would destroy the area in which people have made their homes, so that cyclists could breeze through on the coast road.
Never mind that these plans are all suggesting that buying an electric car is a waste of time because the hope of cycling fundamentalists and Bus Connects is, that there won’t be roads to drive them on in the near future.
There is also a plan to make the road which passes Deans Grange Cemetery one way with a two way cycle lane. That would immediately prevent many people from being able to visit the graves of their loved ones. There wouldn’t be public transport in at least one direction if not both. And unless they had cars – which they could no longer park outside the cemetery – they would not be able to visit the graves. (On a side note, those with relatives buried there could do worse than pay a visit to see the state of the place. The council has given up tending the graves and it has become an overgrown, weed dominated field which utterly disrespects the dead buried there.)
Then there’s Bus Connects. Yes, this planet saving initiative which will see the removal of 3,000 mature trees, which will see suburban roads turned into bus corridors, which will kill local businesses in our urban villages such as Glasnevin, Terenure, Rathgar, Harold’s Cross and elsewhere, is ploughing ahead regardless of public opinion in the area.
“We consulted people,” they say. No. They had meetings with people and let them speak. Then they made small adjustments and said they had responded to concerns. That is simply, untrue.
For example, ALL funerals going to and from Mount Jerome – and there are three chapels and so could be three funerals taking place at one time – will have to reach the cemetery by passing down one narrow road south of Harold’s Cross Park. Bus Connects has been warned that this will result in grieving families being stuck in funereal traffic jams. But they don’t care.
They announced a bike lane through Mount Argus church car park – but didn’t ask the owners of the land, the Passionist Order, until 18 months after their announcement.
There are other bike lanes proposed through parks where, up to now, children have played safely.
Indeed, having spoken to people from many areas around the city, I could list 100 problems about which Bus Connects (or is it Transport for Ireland or the National Transport Authority or the Department of Transport or Dublin Bus?) care nothing.
I want bike lanes but I want bike lanes everybody wants, including those who don’t cycle.
I want to see fewer cars on the road and those that are on the road being fully electric. But Bus Connects wans to bulldoze its €2billion plan through regardless of the destruction of urban villages and places where people have happily lived for generations.
Do you remember when we had one?
Now, unelected bureaucrats with fundamentalist agendas rule.
It’s going to end badly.