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Urban studies (Planning and development), Transport planning and social aspects of transport
Poor health has been identified as an issue for people who live in areas affected by structural disadvantage and social exclusion. One area in the North East of Dublin City has been identified for the development of a project addressing health inequality and promoting a “Healthy Community” by Northside Partnership, a local development company established in 1991 to address social exclusion in designated disadvantaged neighbourhoods. DIT have engaged with Northside Partnership since 2013 in a Students Learning with Communities Initiative to research levels of mobility and the potential for sustainable transportation as a means to promote health within the study area.
This paper describes a stage in this ongoing research process, specifically an audit of cycling infrastructure and potential barriers to cycling in the study area. The overall cycling mode share of the pilot area was 3% at the time of the most recent census in 2011. This figure is below the average percentage of cycle modal share of Dublin City and Suburbs (5.4%) and further behind Dublin City Council aspirations to achieve 20-25% of trips by bike by 2022.
The study identifies physical barriers to cycling, including poor cycle-ways and cycle parking infrastructure. Proposals for a citywide cycle network, as part of the National Transport Authority’s (NTA) Cycle Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), were reviewed. The proposed NTA network is extensive and comprehensively thought out and will provide good access to the study area if implemented. The project team made certain supplementary recommendations, including greater use of open spaces as a means to both improve the spaces themselves and provide greater connectivity. Some additional feeder routes were recommended within the study area. Additional and improved cycle parking facilities are warranted in strategic locations.
The study is strongly supportive of the development of the Santry River Greenway, a proposed greenway that links the area to significant amenity, employment and adjacent neighbourhoods. The development of the Greenway, not just as a physical piece of green infrastructure but as a socially connected community space, is recommended.
The study also highlights the need to address pervasive social barriers to cycling uptake which are evident in the area. To successfully deliver projects such as the Santry River Greenway will require investment in community collaborative planning. Ideally meaningful participatory projects to promote cycling and develop community cohesion around the greenway would form part of its investment package. Doing so will yield wider social and economic returns including increased social inclusion and labour market access, supporting the aims and mission of the community partner organisation.
O’Connor, D., Borscheid, M., Reid, O., Simon, W.(2016). Promoting Cycling and Health In a Disadvantaged Area Of North East Dublin City. Proceedings of Irish Transport Research Network 2016. Available at: http://www.itrn.ie/index.php?page=itrn-2016-proceedings Online at doi:10.21427/w8fb-wc15