While writing last night’s post about the Rise public art budget overrun, and flicking through a Belfast City Council committee minute from October, my eye caught a discussion about introducing a cycle scheme (similar to Dublin or Paris) to Belfast.
The subject of a Belfast cycling scheme did rise in a recent episode of Blogtalk. None of us were aware that it was under consideration by the council. The cynic in me meant that my immediate reaction was to wonder what would go wrong!
“What will we do to destroy it? How would we wreck that? How would we make that not work?”
Though it turns out my fears are well grounded!
The council’s Development Committee had a presentation from Andrew McMurray (Friends of the Earth), Steven Patterson (Sustrans) and Roy White (Northern Ireland Cycling Initiative), followed by a motion from Alex Attwood (SDLP) and Tom Hartley (SF):
“Belfast City Council notes the introduction recently of the Dublinbikes scheme in Dublin which seeks to encourage cycling and which makes available bicycles for public use at a negligible cost to the user; notes also that this scheme has been developed with a commercial sponsor thereby minimising the cost to the public purse and that similar schemes have been introduced successfully in Blackpool, Copenhagen and Paris.
The Council’s recently adopted Transport Policy encourages a shift away from private car use towards more sustainable forms of travel such as walking, cycling and greater use of public transport and includes a provision which commits the Council to use its influence with Statutory Agencies to seek to further these aims. The Council agrees therefore to engage with the Department for Regional Development, and other relevant agencies, in relation to the possibility of the introduction of such a cycling scheme in Belfast.”
The conclusion was that “the Committee agreed that Council officers discuss the matter with Belfast City Centre Management and the Department for Regional Development and submit a report to the Committee in due course.”
There’s even a Belfast Cycle City campaign website! The report hasn’t yet come back to the committee.