— Car parking spaces added and cycling made more exposed than original plan.
COMMENT & ANALYSIS: The following is an open letter to Dublin City councillors and the CEOs of both Dublin City Council and the National Transport Authority asking them to redesign or reject the design of the Clontarf to City Centre cycle route — what’s proposed is unsafe and unattractive, and it won’t enable Dublin to have cycling for all ages:
Dear CEOs and Councillors,
It is good news that most of the trees in Fairview Park will be left in place but the council’s new plans do not address cycling safety, attractivness or capacity concerns.
The main flaws are:
- (1) Conflicts with mixing cycling and buses at bus stops.
- (2) No protection for people cycling at large junctions.
- (3) Use of very light segregation which, beside heavy traffic, is not suitable for cycling for all ages and will not help deter illegal parking or loading off-peak.
- (4) Newly placed parking inside the cycle paths, rather than using the parking as protection.
- (5) Mixing with pedestrians at some locations, including some shared space and non-separated toucan crossings.
- (6) Narrowness of cycle paths at locations along the route.
A well-design, Dutch-style two-way cycle path on the east side of the route would go a long way to solving all of the above issues.
Members of the council’s senior executive and traffic department visited the Netherlands in June as participants at Velo-city 2017, an international cycling conference. Their presence was mainly because Dublin is to host Velo-city 2019, for which the council has promised a theme of “cycling for the ages”, an adaption of “cycling for all ages”.
The Clontarf to city centre route continues to fall short of design which is suitable for cycling for all ages. International visitors in 2019 will likely not be impressed by a design which not only falls short of the standard designs of the Netherlands, but also falls short of the designs used on the best routes in London and elsewhere.
I’m just back from cycling in the Netherlands and anybody who claims two-way cycle paths can’t be safe and attractive along a commuter route doesn’t know what they are talking about or they don’t want to have the real conversation needed — what is the plan prioritising?
The council’s and NTA’s on-going focus seems to be avoiding protected cycle paths at large junctions so that cars and buses are in no way delayed — a two-way cycle path would allow for full segregation and mimimise the distruption on buses and cars. This is without a question or doubt prioritising flow over safely and attractness of the cycle route.
The council executive and National Transport Authority also has a strange obsession with mixing large buses with people on bicycles, rather than following best international practice of using “island” bus stops with “bus stop bypass” cycle paths behind the bus stop. I say strange because the need to mix bicycles and buses comes from the idea of prioritising planned BRT buses over conventional buses and even bus industry insiders don’t fully understand the logic behind this.
A two-way cycle path along the route would again help solve the bus stop issue — because a two-way cycle path is on one side, only half of the number of bus stops bypasses would be needed and the west side has many locations (such as Fairview Park, and at the fire station etc) where there’s more space than the opposite side.
I am pleading with you — both CEOs and councillors — to please reject the current design and instead demand the council proceed as soon as possible with a high-quality, Dutch-style, two-way cycle path.
This route is a key connection between the city centre and the Dublin Bay S2S route. It will connect inner city and suburban residents to workplaces, shops, train station, parks, and beaches. And it should be designed to enable school children to cycle to schools, sports fields or the playground.
However, if the current design is approved, people cycling will be left exposed to left turning trucks and coaches, horrible conflicts at bus stops, and light segregation that ends before junctions. Who will take responsibility for this? Will you?
Please don’t make the mistake of approving this poor design.
Example flaws in the route
Cycle route (red = cycle lane and orange = light / segregation) is interrupted by the bus stop (green) bay inside the bus lane:
People cycling both straight on and turning left are exposed to turning cars, vans, trucks etc:
Parking bays inside the new cycle path or cycle track — meaning motorists will be forced to cross the cycle path to park. This is the opposite of the world-wide thread of parking protected cycle routes.