Council to take second look at walking/cycling conflict in Clontarf

Following from scrapping the idea of speed ramps for bicycles on Clontarf’s promenade last year, officials at Dublin City Council are now reexamining how to reduce the conflict between people walking and cycling in the area.

The cycle route along the coast in Clontarf is part of the long-planned S2S or Sutton to Sandycove cycle route along Dublin Bay.

Last year the council abandoned its idea of speed ramps for bicycles. At the time, The Irish Times reported that the council were copying a Dutch design for cycle path speed ramps before realising that these were designed to slow down mopeds, not bicycles.

A new design is expected to be presented to the council’s North Central Area Committee meeting on April 20.

Speaking to IrishCycle.com, local councillor Cllr Naoise Ó Muirí (Fine Gael) said that the main issue is that the pedestrians have to cross the cycle-path with some cyclists going fast and with a lack of awareness of pedestrians that they are walking across a cycling route.

While the cycle path and footpath are mostly segregated by some distance in Clontarf, the problem areas are where there’s only a painted white line separating cycling and walking, and at a car park where the cycle path runs beside the parked cars and there’s no direct footpath access towards the waterside.

Cllr Ó Muirí said: “I’m the councillor who actually raised the issue with Dublin City Council about a year and a half ago based on two separate reports of collisions between pedestrians trying to get to the seafront and cyclists on the cycle-lane; one a male senior citizen and the other a young boy. I have tried to keep the issue on the agenda since then. Am fully supportive of the council taking action in this regard but not even sure that it will be enough.”

Comments from the public on the Clontarf Facebook page seem also point to a mix of problems which centres on a lack of clarity of a the current design. The issues raised include people on bicycles going too fast, parents putting children on a cycle path with unloading cars, people walking along the cycle paths rather than using the footpaths, and people walking across the cycle path without looking.

Councillor Ciarán Cuffe (Green Party), who is the chairman of the council’s transport committee said that the paths need to be clearly marked.

“Obviously the needs of pedestrians should be placed first in the transport equation, but cycling comes a close second, and it is important that pathways are clearly marked for pedestrian or cyclists’ use. Good design can generally tackle these issues and if there is a conflict perhaps some slight changes in kerbs or signage should be able to help,” he said.

Cllr Cuffe added: “Looking ahead, the Clontarf cycle facility will be part of the ambitious Sutton to Sandycove Cycleway, and it is crucial that we iron out any design flaws at an early stage.”

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Clontarf conflict points

Main Clontarf conflict points

Local TD Finian McGrath (independent) — who is known to get involved with issues of pedestrian/bicycle conflicts — told the Dublin People that he welcomed action “before someone is killed”.

Responding to McGrath’s comments, Cllr Cuffe said “Finian has raised concerns about cyclists in the past, but I wish he would spend more of his time focussing on how to improve facilities for cyclists rather than giving out about them.”

Little progress has happened in recent years on the Sutton to Sandycove route. As part of plans for a cycle network for the Greater Dublin Area, the S2S is to make up part of a longer route, the East Coast Trail, from Arklow to Drogheda. Progress along Dublin Bay has, however, been painfully slow.

Construction on a missing link of the northside section of the S2S, alongside Bull Island, is due start on April 1. Councillors in Dublin City have also joined up with councillors in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to try to further the project.

The project is tied to expensive coastal flood defences in parts, hampered by environmental concerns and the previous elected members of Dublin City Council voted down a €4 million link between the S2S at Fairview to the Docklands.

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An example of a cycle path and footpath separated by a drainage channel on a greenway in the city of Copenhagen

7 Comments

  1. Work on Dollymount section of S2S will actually start on 2nd April not the 1st….for reasons of……!?

  2. If you introduce new schemes without public education/information campaigns then there will be confusion.
    If the walking mode provision is not grade separated from the cycling then all the more reason for confusion.
    Just look at the ludicrous situation with the Chesterfield Avenue cycle track that is fully occupied by walkers who don’t take kindly to cyclists pointing out to them that the walker might be on the wrong track!
    But then we don’t do regulation in this country, do we?

  3. Got talking to some blind people last Summer who had just completed an enjoyable walk from Clontarf to Bayside. Their only problem was the lack of separation on the shared path past the Causeway. They could hear cyclists passing by but couldn’t judge how close they were or where the white dividing line was. Grade separation or a central continuous kerb would certainly help.

  4. @ Liam — I’ve updated the article above to include an example of a cycle path and footpath separated by a drainage channel on a greenway in the city of Copenhagen.

  5. And the Copehnagen example uses texture change to get it across that the surfaces are for different users.

  6. A small kerb in the middle is dangerous as if you clip it or don’t realise it’s there and try to cross it you’ll come off the bike as I have before. The surface in the Danish example won’t enable roller blades or buggies or prams. As for the cycle track even the parts where you have a walking path separated by 20 meters of grass in parts along by Contarf you still have people walking along and they don’t take kindly if you tell them this. Clearer painted markings on the ground would be at least a start. The pic with the cars is a good example as once there was a car with a bike rack on the back sticking out which was lethal so how do you plan for such stupidity even from someone who cycles.

  7. @ Tom: Buggies or prams are just fine on the pedestrian surface shown in the Danish example and the drain is forgiving to any user. It’s a hard surface.

    Kerbs in general can be designed to be forgiving. See here: https://departmentfortransport.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/royal-college-street-did-not-go-dutch-part-2-width/

    A “a walking path separated by 20 meters of grass” is a problem, not a solution. It’s bad design. As often the path 20 meters away does not serve where people want to walk — ie there’s cases on car parks or other parking close to a cycle path but no footpath access from the car park, so people walk on the cycle path.

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  1. Clontarf S2S cycle route: Yield to pedestrians and a car park entrance, recommends report

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