JC Decaux and Dublin City Council – where’s our bleedin’ bikes?

JCDecaux Metropole at St. Stephens Green

JCDecaux "Metropanel" at St. Stephens Green

Just in case anyone is letting this one slip, your intrepid correspondent is here to remind you:

It’s been about one year since JCDecaux applied for permission for around 120 advertising structures in return for 450 bikes. About 70 of the applications received planning permission. Similar deals have been done in Paris, Lyon under the JCDecaux brand Cyclocity.

Since the scheme was announced for Dublin, there has been a lot of debate and controversy. It became clear pretty quickly that Dublin is to get a fraction of the bikes that other cities in the scheme had received.

A discreet JCDecaux Metropole

A discreet JCDecaux "Metropole"

Next was the revelation that Dublin City Council were not going to release details of the deal with JCDeceaux citing issues of “commercial sensitivity”. At the same time it was revealed that the deal is tied in to an agreement to remove 48 poster signs, of which an unspecified number are illegally erected – without planning permission. (Just to be clear – the Dublin City Council Development Plan states that “as a general principle, outdoor advertising will only be permitted in commercial zones. It will not be permitted within residential zones, historic or conservation areas, or amenity areas”.) There have also been serious questions raised about the value for money of the deal and about the way in which Dublin City Counsel dealt with their obvious conflict of interest in adjudicating on planning applications in which they had a vested interest.

Since then the advertising signs have been erected (under the brand “Metropoles” and “Metropanels”) and JCDecaux has been selling space on them. For anyone who has an interest – here is the “Metropole/Metropanel rate card.

Notwithstanding the above criticism, the signs have since been critised for dangerously impeding the visibility of motorists and pedestrians and by the National Council for the Blind in Ireland for not taking the needs of blind pedestrians into account.

I can’t help thinking however that perhaps JCDeveaux and Dublin City Council might have averted some of this criticism by erecting the bicycle stands and bicycles before or at the same time as their advertising boards. After all how difficult can it be:

Just buy us our bleedin’ bikes!

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