COMMEMT & ANALYSES: A redesign of a section of the Clonskeagh Road at the entrances to University College Dublin is planned by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and the National Transport Authority, but the project lacks vision.
For context, this project will be linked to another short upgraded section already completed and will also link to a stalled project to upgrade the route from UCD into the city centre via Ranelagh.
The completed project was between the UCD entrances in the new project and Bird Avenue / Rosemount Crescent (as part of the Luas-UCD-Dart route). The larger route which is stalled due to lack of funding is the City centre to Sandyford (Clonskeagh) Cycle Route, which will mostly be a Dublin City Council project.
There are three entrances to UCD within the area of the proposed project — two which allow for motoring access and one which doesn’t.
Maybe the officials are right for not having vision? The National Transport Authority’s design guidance in the National Cycle Manual is lacking when it comes to the need to separate bicycles and buses, and totally out of sink on best practice on segregated cycle routes.
What do I mean by lack of vision? Here’s some examples:
- Simply working with what’s there — not, for example, looking at changing the UCD access arrangements, so that cars are restricted to one entrance and cycling and walking are given priority at the other entrance currently open to cars. Or looking at bus stop locations.
- Lack of vision to see that “bus stop bypasses” or “floating bus stops” are a must — the Dutch started to think this way decades ago and the UK is comming around to this idea. Fitting them in isn’t the easiest thing but it’s far from impossible.
- Lack of vision for proper segregation — even light segregation (which now seems to be the preferred design for councils and the NTA) is lacking in this project. Note in the images below how the light blue which depicts light segregation isn’t very common compared to the red which marks out cycle tracks. There isn’t a protect junction in the scheme.
There’s some fairly dreadful features in the project (like the continued use of shared crossings and shared footpath surfaces and tiny turning pockets), but mainly the issue is a lack of vision and direction.
If the design goes ahead it will likely need another redesign within years.