Residents of Sandymount in Dublin have won a legal challenge against the construction of a two-way cycle lane along the seafront.
Dublin City Council had proposed the measure on Strand Road, which would have restricted cars to one southbound lane out of the city as a temporary Covid-19 mobility measure.
However, local residents and Independent Councillor Mannix Flynn objected in the High Court because of the displacement of northbound traffic onto residential streets.
In his judgment, Mr Justice Meenan quoted Brendan O'Brien, Head of Technical Services in the City Council, who stated that those travelling north along Strand Road should walk or cycle.
"This would seem to suggest that residents and other persons in the affected roads, should they wish to go to Dublin Airport, would have to either walk or cycle. I am sure that this is not what was intended by the City Council but it does seem to show a level of indifference to those affected," the judge stated.
Mr Justice Meenan ruled that the cycleway would have to go through the planning process because it required an Environmental Impact Assessment and an Appropriate Assessment under the Habitats Directive.
He said the environmental screening process conducted by the city council was flawed as it was conducted on the basis that the cycleway was temporary.
However, the judge said the cycleway was not temporary and pointed out there was no end date for the cycleway - only a review after six months.
"A reviewable cycle way is not a temporary cycleway," he stated.
The Dublin Cycling Campaign said they were "bitterly disappointed" at the judgment.
"It is a lost opportunity to trial an amenity which would have enabled people of all ages and abilities to safely and comfortably cycle along the seafront on Strand Road," said chairperson Kevin Baker.
However Cllr Mannix Flynn and Sandymount residents have welcomed the decision.
In a statement, the STC (Serpentine Ave, Tritonville and Claremont Roads) residents' group in Sandymount said Dublin City Council should now put in place an off-road cycle track along the seafront of the type envisages by the original S2S (Sutton to Sandycove) cycleway plan.
"Sandymount is pro-cycling and we welcome improved cycling infrastructure in our village. What we did not want was significant traffic displacement in the Sandymount area, rendering other, smaller roads busier and causing increased risks for pedestrians, children and local cyclists," the statement added.
Cllr Flynn said he hoped that Dublin City Council would learn from this decision and not appeal it.
He said the democratic process was not adhered to by the council in trying to get this proposal through.
The South East Inner City councillor added that his phone "hasn't stopped ringing" with calls from communities in other areas who want to challenge or overturn similar schemes.