Public consultation and media reports covering the College Green Plaza project highlight a segregated cycle path between Trinity College Dublin and the Bank of Ireland, but major questions remain as to what it will connect to and how people cycling will get around the area.
The issue of what the two-way cycle path will link to in a number of directions, and the quality of these links, is not revealed in public consultation documents released on Monday.
While groups such as the Dublin Chamber of Commerce have questioned a lack of details on bus and general traffic arrangements, the plans for cycling are far vaguer.
It is still unclear how people cycling will get from the two-way cycle path on College Green across the plaza to Dame Street — we are told the route is to be designed in a separate process, which will also include the detailed design of the plaza. Council officials and some councillors have mentioned a ‘cycle path’ or ‘cycle lane’ across the plaza, but the consultation report makes no firm reference to such.
It is is also unclear what, if any, and of what quality, cycling links there will be between College Green and a range of locations, such as the quays, Dawson Street and Nassau Street, and College Street.
Dublin City Council has a long history of compromising on the quality of cycle routes. For example, recently we reported how residents and commuters outlined the faults of the civic space scheme outside Kilmainham Gaol. The project was constructed for the 1916 celebrations, but people who cycle in the area said that the design made a bad situation worse for cycling. Councillors have mostly stayed quiet on the issue.
What the drawings issued with the public consultation show is the mixing of buses and bicycles on Dame Street; no contra-flow cycle paths or lanes on the streets south of Dame Street; and no two-way cycle path on College Street (which was accommodated in previous plans for College Street under the BRT to Swords).
Image of the plaza which will be subject to a detailed design process:
Despite the detour of most buses on Dame Street and also the removal of a large left turning lane on the street, the current Dublin City Council plan for the street includes mixing cycle lanes with bus stops rather than including segregated cycle paths.
The image below shows bus stop bays inside a cycle lane on Dame Street — mirroring conflicts which are on other parts of the street today:
The streets south of Dame Street have no provision for contra-flow cycling, as this image shows, which is surprising as council officials previously mentioned a two-way cycle path or lane on Suffolk Street aimed at minimising cycling conflicts with trams and buses on nearby streets:
At the junction of Dame Street and South Great George’s Street it is unclear how cyclists and bus drivers turning in different directions will interact, and on Dame Street buses will cross over a likely busy cycle lane to get to the pictured right turning lane:
On College Street, only one-way cycling is provided for:
Previous plans for the Swords BRT bus route included the same amount of traffic and tram lanes but also managed to fit in a two-way cycle path. Here’s a drawing from the BRT consultation:
Submissions for the public consultation on the College Green Plaza can be made by email to: email@example.com on or before Tuesday May 26, 2016. A report and other overview details can be found at dublincity.ie/college-green.