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Dublin Bikes

Dublin Bikes

DUBLIN city's bike rental scheme is one step closer to rolling into the suburbs of Dun Laoghaire and Tallaght after funding was agreed.

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council began pushing for an expansion of the popular initiative almost two years ago.

Now the National Transport Authority (NTA) has approved €75,000 to complete a feasibility study for a bike hire scheme in Dun Laoghaire and Tallaght.

The money was part of almost €3.5m in funding granted to the council for of the Sustainable Transport Measures Grants (STMG) programme.

A spokesperson for Dun Laoghaire council confirmed that funding had been secured to complete the preparatory study, which commenced in 2013.

It was a joint initiative with South Dublin County Council, she said.

The report, when complete, will be brought to the council's transportation strategic policy committee.

"I'm delighted that the Dublin bikes scheme is being considered for Dun Laoghaire and I would love to see the scheme come to fruition," local Fine Gael TD, Mary Mitchell O'Connor, said.

"It would be a great way for local residents and people visiting the area to get around the town and see our beautiful coastal area.

"The scheme would really come into its own with the creation of the proposed Sandycove to Sutton cycle route."

Funding of €475,000 has also been approved for the design of a priority cycle route along the N11, stretching from Stillorgan Park Road to Loughlinstown.

Cycle parking will be improved at a number of locations throughout Dun Laoghaire under proposals.

Cycle routes are also to be improved between the Windy Arbour Luas stop and UCD, and along the N11 between Belfield and Stillorgan Park.

"A number of other cycle route and road improvement works will be completed under the scheme, which will have a very positive impact on local residents," Ms O'Connor said.

"The continued investment in sustainable transport projects is very important if we are to encourage people to leave the car at home and use their bike to get around," she added.

She said that money was a "considerable sum" to be awarded to Dun Laoghaire, adding: "I hope the council can get these works under way without delay."

The take-up of the bike scheme has been an encouraging factor for other councils considering the introduction of a similar system.

The capital's public bike hire scheme enjoyed a record-breaking year in 2013, with more than 1.5 million journeys taken in the 12 months.

hnews@herald.ie