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Bicycle racks in pub loading bays causing "unnecessary stress", businesses claim

Last week one Dublin pub called the council's decision to rapidly replace its outdoor seating area with bike racks "a joke"...

The topic of bike racks has been discussed widely in Dublin in recent days as business owners called out what they see as the "unnecessary stress" on pubs taking deliveries, apparently caused by bicycle parking provision.

The most recent development, reported in the Independent.ie, follows last week's initial situation, shared on our Tuesday live blog, when Street 66 bar complained about the "joke" of a decision for the council to rapidly replace an outdoor seating area with bike racks "without warning".

That seating area had been housed in a loading bay, thanks to a rolling outdoor furniture licence, something the council rejected the bar's application for for the first time in years. Now, other businesses in the city have called on the council to stop installing bike racks and planters in loading bays.

Dakota bar reports it was forced to turn away a large keg delivery because bicycle parking had been put in the loading bay outside its South William Street location. The director of operations of the Odeon Group, which owns the bar, said the loading bay situation was causing "incredible stress".

"You can't go rolling kegs down the street, you have to be able to load in close to your premises," Richard McDermott said, adding that the bike racks were installed overnight without consultation and their delivery driver was told to move on by gardaí.

"It was mayhem," he continued. "Trying to take 26 kegs of Guinness in and you don't have a loading bay so you're blocking the street. The guards came along and moved the lads along so we missed our delivery. We had to rearrange and bring in more staff to do it… We had to unload it as fast as possible so we don't block the street.

"We lost a day and we had no stock. We had to get stock from somewhere else to tie us over for a few days. It was just mayhem and unnecessary stress. It's crazy. They are taking up the whole bay, if they took up half we would be able to get a truck in, it's a large bay. They put benches and two big planter boxes in as well."

Last week, Dublin City Council came in for heavy criticism, from cyclists and non-cyclists alike, after rapidly moving to install a bike rack in an area which only two days previously had been the site of outdoor seating for Street 66.

> "What a joke": Pub slams council's decision to rapidly replace outdoor seating area with bike racks "without warning"

"Last Friday I was applying for the outdoor furniture licence as normal, like we did over the last few years," Siobhán Conmy, the owner of Street 66, a LGBTQ+ venue in Dublin city centre, said. "I applied in October and then in March. I rang the council every week to get an update. On Friday at 3pm I was told that we were refused for the loading bay.

"Then [yesterday] morning one of my customers was passing by and told me Dublin City Council put bike racks on the loading bay. I hadn't been notified, we haven't been given the chance to appeal or been told why it's been refused.

"The loading bay I assume would be reinstalled as a loading bay rather than a bike rack area. Which is dangerous outside a busy bar. The delivery drivers will be completely frustrated, our delivery day is tomorrow and they'll have to drive up a footpath to do their job.

"Coming up to Pride Month, we have massive orders coming in. I don't understand at all why it happened. It feels a little suspicious why a bike rack was installed on a Monday morning after a permit was refused on Friday evening.

"This one of our busiest months, we have tours coming from all over the world. There are nice vibes for the next couple of weeks. There are 26 bike racks on the street already, it seems very strange why they added an extra eight. I'd like an explanation why this was done outside our front door and why we weren't given any form of notice or chance to appeal."

A petition calling for the removal of the bike rack has been signed more than 6,500 times since it went live on June 12 and, as we noted on our live blog last week, notably, the council's installation of the loading bay bike racks has also been criticised by local cyclists, the Dublin Cycling Campaign arguing that the loading bay was too narrow to facilitate bikes.

"We do not support the installation of the bike parking outside," the group tweeted. "Aside from the obvious issues with removing outdoor seating during Pride month, this is an example of very poor planning by Dublin City Council on a street that should be pedestrianised.

"These also look like a temporary installation which is confusing. The location also suggests it might be too narrow for bikes and they would stick out on the path or road."

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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15 comments

Avatar
EraserBike | 8 months ago
3 likes

This is some classic council pettiness. They've just been dumped there, by the look of it, to stop the bar using it for outside seating. As the video shows, there are at least 10 bike racks in close proximity already. They barely even look installed properly. If I owned that bar, I'd just remove them for deliveries and place them back when the council come knocking.

Avatar
ktache | 8 months ago
5 likes

And there I was thinking the whole point of kegs was that they could be rolled down the street.

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Brauchsel replied to ktache | 8 months ago
2 likes

They roll, they don't teleport, and someone needs to attend to them for the non-zero time they spend rolling.

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Mungecrundle | 8 months ago
4 likes

Why are they putting cycle parking in a loading bay? It's almost as if someone in the council wants to make trouble for bicycle users. I'm sure there are plenty of parking bays nearby, one or two of which could be repurposed for bicycles.

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Off the back replied to Mungecrundle | 8 months ago
4 likes

Yup. It's the same as the whole bike bin saga. Cyclists get the blame and grief for something the council has placed on the road probably without actually consulting cycling groups beforehand. 
 

it then puts cyclists in the catch 22 position of if we use it we are to blame. If we don't it's our fault the thing turns into a white elephant. 

Avatar
AlsoSomniloquism replied to Mungecrundle | 8 months ago
2 likes

Whilst I agree with why cause unneccessary conflict, from the tweets last week, the loading bay would have been unusable anyway as the pub was putting its outdoor tables in it.

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Mungecrundle replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 8 months ago
9 likes

But the difference is that the pub staff can move the tables on beer delivery day.

Also, for the rest of the week and especially during the summer months, how fantastic would it be to see the street full of people enjoying the weather, a drink, a chat or a meal?

Reclaim the streets and all that.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Mungecrundle | 8 months ago
3 likes

Just pointing out that all the complaining tweets are just from the bar. It almost seems like they think they own the loading bay. It doesn't look like this was something they easily moved when they had loading / unloading requirements, and in their complaint video above, the guy is parked on the pavement, which they probably did when having the tables.

And there also does seem to be picture evidence that the bike racks in that road does get used heavily (or at least did in the past).

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brooksby replied to Mungecrundle | 8 months ago
3 likes
Mungecrundle wrote:

But the difference is that the pub staff can move the tables on beer delivery day. Also, for the rest of the week and especially during the summer months, how fantastic would it be to see the street full of people enjoying the weather, a drink, a chat or a meal? Reclaim the streets and all that.

It's not exactly that, though, is it?  They put their (suspicously permanent looking, IMO) tables and privacy screens in that space but the patrons are still enjoying the weather, a drink, a chat or a meal right next to a narrow looking two-lane road.  And their delivery vans would still be parked up on the pavement next to it (no way did they move all that when they had a delivery).

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wycombewheeler replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 8 months ago
0 likes
AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

Whilst I agree with why cause unneccessary conflict, from the tweets last week, the loading bay would have been unusable anyway as the pub was putting its outdoor tables in it.

Presumably they put their tables in it when they are open, and get deliveries there when they are closed?

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muhasib replied to wycombewheeler | 8 months ago
3 likes

How likely is it they actually did remove the tables and screens for deliveries? Looking at the photo there were 3 signs that they had bolted into the road as well as all the planters on the outer edge of the loading bay.

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quiff replied to muhasib | 8 months ago
1 like
muhasib wrote:

How likely is it they actually did remove the tables and screens for deliveries?

Streetview has a shot which shows the pub's Heineken-branded paraphenalia in the loading bay, while a Heineken delivery lorry is also in shot. Of course, the lorry may not have been delivering to them at the time... https://goo.gl/maps/Dm88AdPdFjmKhZoMA 

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HoarseMann replied to Mungecrundle | 8 months ago
5 likes

Hmm, there must be more to this. There's already plenty of cycle parking on that street. For whatever reason*, the outdoor seating licence has been refused and these cycle racks are being used to enforce that decision. Not a good situation.

The loading bay issue is a red-herring. With double yellow lines there and two lanes for traffic, I think it's perfectly legal to park in the road to unload.

(edit: probably a noise complaint: https://twitter.com/st66dublin/status/1563239739334897665)

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Secret_squirrel replied to HoarseMann | 8 months ago
3 likes
HoarseMann wrote:

(edit: probably a noise complaint: https://twitter.com/st66dublin/status/1563239739334897665)

The noise complaint is a joke, that bar is on the edge of the Temple Bar area, which has been home to late night drinking in Dublin for decades.  The complainant should have been told where to get off.

PS if any does a recce in person I highly recommend the sitdown kebab shop called Zaytoon at the end of the same street.  Amazing!  And thats in a country where there is a franchised kebab chain called Abrakebabra.

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JMcL_Ireland replied to HoarseMann | 8 months ago
1 like
HoarseMann wrote:

Hmm, there must be more to this. There's already plenty of cycle parking on that street. For whatever reason*, the outdoor seating licence has been refused and these cycle racks are being used to enforce that decision. Not a good situation.

The loading bay issue is a red-herring. With double yellow lines there and two lanes for traffic, I think it's perfectly legal to park in the road to unload.

(edit: probably a noise complaint: https://twitter.com/st66dublin/status/1563239739334897665)

There're two pubs mentioned in the article. The Dakota bar is here https://goo.gl/maps/zXAjGpTQCzcuzFt66, which is a narrow street, and busy with both traffic and footfall. They don't object to the use of the loading bay to store private tin boxes from the street view linked however.

Onstreet drinking was always down to local bylaws here, but when stuff started re-opening again after the initial lockdowns, pubs and restaurants were allowed put seating outside, sometimes resulting in streets being closed to through traffic. It was however a time limited law though has been extended at least once, but not sure what the status is at present.

I'm not currently living in Dublin, nor familiar with the pub (though if it's the same premises I remember from way back, it would be quite large).  Parliament street was - and presumably still is -  always fairly busy and the pavement looks fairly narrow beside the loading bay. The issue may well be down to the thouroughfare being blocked at busy times leading to complaint - or indeed as one of the tweets linked to, down to complaints over noise. Either way, for whatever reason, I'd imagine it's the council putting down a marker saying we still make the rules around here

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