— Proposed project should decrease “rat-runs” through areas
— Cycling would mix with local access motoring traffic
— Route would mainly include low-cost designs
Dublin City Council are seeking consultants to look at the potential of a “quietway” or “neighborhood greenway” cycling and walking route on residential streets from Kimmage to Donnybrook. The route would also link Terenure, Rathgar / Rathmines, and the northern edge of Milltown.
The draft proposals are the result of work by Cllr Paddy Smyth (FG), who represents the Rathgar/Rathmines area.
A council tendering report on the potential route states: “The proposed corridor should prioritise movement of cyclists, school children and pedestrians who need to traverse the area but wish avoid commuting traffic” and the aim is “providing clear, direct routes through the area for both cyclists and pedestrians while at the same time maintaining local access.”
International examples of such routes (see below) usually include different levels of blocking motorists from using the streets as through routes, including using physical traffic “diverters” and having alternating one-way streets, where cycling is allowed two-ways along the whole route but motosist can only use short sections before they hit a no entry / one-way street sign.
The US, UK and Dutch equivalents of the route all use 30km/h or 20 mph speed limits but a Dublin City Council report on the issue does not mention speeds at all. The proposed route is all on residential streets with a 50km/h limit and some campaigners say that the city council is dragging their feet on reducing limits on residential streets.
The Dublin City Council report includes suggested proposed interventions of filtered permeability (access only for cycling and walking) at some junctions using bollards and openings in current walls, and, at larger junctions, shared walking and cycling toucan traffic light crossings and bicycle crossings. It says that the consultants should also give other options and suggestions.
Overall, the consultants are being asked to evaluate the feasibility of the suggested route or an alternative route and make recommendations; identify and recommend any low cost interventions; prepare a cost estimate for each identified; recommend potential phasing; and to address any safety and traffic impacts of the project.
The council says that the feasibility study should be finished by May 12, 2016, and companies wishing to tended for the work should submit their bids by March 14.
(article continues below image)Cllr Smyth told IrishCycle.com this weekend that the draft route (shown in blue above) differs from his orignal route (shown in red) to more closely follow the feeder routes in the Greater Dublin Area cycle network, and to make the route more workable, including avoiding his origanl suggestion of using Miltown Park as this would have required a CPO, which would prove too expesive at this stage.
When asked about a connection to the Royal Canal at the western end of the route, he said that it’s a “no brainer” and that there’s “no reason why spurs to the canal can’t be added once the main route is established and we get a bit more buy in.”
INTERNATIONAL EXAMPLESPORTLAND: The “bicycle boulevard” name came from the US city of Portland, Oregon, which has more recently rebranded their concept as “neighborhood greenways”. On its website, the Portland Bureau of Transportation says: “In order to keep people from using neighborhood greenways as automobile cut-through routes, speed bumps and traffic diverters are commonly installed on greenways. These common traffic calming techniques help auto traffic remain on nearby main streets rather than cutting through on neighborhood streets.”
BikePortland.org reported last year that speeding is common on the Portland routes, which have a 20mph (30km/h) speed limit, and that that some key connections in their netwok of routes have very heavy traffic voulmes. The city of Portland is doing on-going work to install “diverters” at junctions which physically blocks drivers from using the network as through routes. The city of Portland has also directed police to enforce speed limits and turning restrictions on the route — a power Dublin City Council lacks.
LONDON: The “quietways” name comes from London, but the mayor’s aims of quiet and safe streets for cycling is under question there as campaigners have criticised the quality of the routes .
In January, Simon Munk, the infrastructure campaigner at the London Cycling Campaign said: “Current Quietways proposals fail at key hurdles: busier junctions are often not appropriately treated to separate cyclists from motor vehicle traffic in time and/or space – some of these junctions will remain hostile enough for current cyclists, they certainly won’t enable all-ages, all-abilities cycling or entice those who want quieter routes to cycle; there are also too many busier road sections that are far from ‘quiet’, without appropriate space for cycling measures – whether that’s protected tracks or modal filters or other methods, too often the proposed design is simply more paint and logos on the road.”THE NETHERLANDS: Dutch residential streets are generally cycling friendly, but the closest equivalent route type to the UK and US examples are “bicycle streets”, these are usually linked to segregated cycle routes on connecting main routes.
Dutch bicycle streets also have their issues, Dutch transport planners told this website last year that the routes have to be carefully designed and they encounter speeding problems when sections of the routes are long and straight without diverting motor traffic. But overall, the country’s high bicycle use, full-length street redesigns and the motoring restrictions on the routes likely makes bicycle streets the more successful of the international examples.
In the short-term, Dublin won’t have the funding for Dutch-like full-length street redesigns but lessons can be learnt from the Netherlands straight away, including alternating one-way streets for motorists while providing two-way access for cycling.