A new report on Dún Laoghaire's coastal mobility route says it is the most successful cycle route in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and one of the best performing in the Dublin region.
The route runs for 4.5km from Blackrock Village to Sandycove, with 3.6km on a segregated cycle path.
The remainder of the route runs on the public road along the harbour at Dún Laoghaire.
The study from the Technological University of Dublin says that most businesses and business groups interviewed along the route were either positive or value-neutral regarding the coastal mobility route’s economic impact and had an associated acceptance or support for its ongoing presence.
The coast road between Sandycove and Blackrock has been made one way for motor traffic for most of the route to make space for the cycle path.
There were some concerns that businesses and traffic in the areas close to the coastal mobility route (CMR) would suffer disruption.
But this study, which looks at traffic patterns in the area, finds that traffic speeds in areas such as Monkstown and Glasthule had recovered to pre-pandemic levels by October 2021 and February 2022.
It says analysis shows that while some congestion has been evident on links adjacent to the CMR, "in most cases this has been no worse than observed in other comparable locations around Dun Laoghaire‐Rathdown, and a 'settling down’ effect is likely".
Dr Sarah Rock of TU Dublin's School of Architecture, Building and Environment, who leads the study team, said that the coastal mobility route has been shown to have attracted people into the area and allows a wide range of people to use the route for transport, as well as recreation purposes.
"It is one of the best performing routes in the Dublin region and seems to have been accepted as a positive contribution to the area, with most local businesses welcoming it," Dr Rock said.
The study looked at motor traffic levels using data from the TomTom Move Dataset, which uses GPS device to measure traffic speeds and sample vehicular counts from SCATS traffic data provided by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown.
It also used pedestrian and cyclists count data from eco-vision counters.
The data showed that while the number of cyclists using the coastal mobility route has declined from the pandemic peak, it has held up better than other routes.
It has also "significantly outperformed all other key cycle routes within Dun Laoghaire‐Rathdown, is one of the strongest performing cycle routes in the Dublin area".
It also found that a "network effect" has seen healthy numbers cycling on nearby routes.
There was also a higher proportion of women cycling on the CMR than is generally seen in Dublin.
They represented 36% on the coastal route compared to a 74% to 26% split in favour of men reported in the 2016 Census for the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown area.
The Bike Life survey carried out by Sustrans NI found that 32% of those who cycled weekly in the Dublin region were women. The report authors say that safety is a key factor in women’s transport decisions and a network of segregated cycle routes is "of particular importance".
The report says that it was a challenge to assess the success of the coastal mobility route while the pandemic was in effect, given how it changed mobility patterns.
The authors said despite this, the route could "clearly stated to (be) becoming more established as a strategic active travel route serving the region, and meeting the objective of increasing comfort and safety for those walking and cycling, and providing an alternative means of travel."
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council introduced the route as a temporary Covid mobility measure and it remains a piece of temporary infrastructure.
The council says it would carry out a public engagement process before taking any decision on making the route permanent and it plans to start that consultation before the end of June.
It has welcomed today's report as a piece of "robust academic research".