Conflict ahead as Dodder Greenway plan mixes walking and cycling

Dublin City Council has opted to consult on a plan for its section of the Dodder Greenway — which is part of primary cycle routes — using a design which causes conflict between pedestrians and cyclists.

Large selections of the route is defined by the National Transport Authority as primary cycle routes in the Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network.

While most of the route has space for separation between walking and cycling, the council has opted for putting common grass land and car space ahead of safety, comfort and capacity for active travel.

City council officials have chosen to consult on the option of narrow shared paths which are known in Dublin and internationally as causing conflict between cycling and pedestrians.

The council claims: “The Dodder Greenway Project aims to provide a high quality walking and cycling route along the route of the river Dodder from its source in the Dublin mountains to its mouth at the River Liffey at Grand Canal Dock. The river passes though three administrative areas, South Dublin County Council, Dunlaoghaire-Rathdown County Council and Dublin City Council.”

Mixed greenways are only recommended in more rural areas where there are lower volumes of people and fewer commuters. Even in one less busy area, Fingal County Council has recently opted for a greenway with separate paths for walking and cycling.

The Dodder route however will be shared is already busy with people walking, running, and walking dogs and is designated as a commuter cycling route in the NTA’s plan.

The “Community Engagement on Emerging Preferred Option” for the Dodder Greenway has started and runs until October 14. Details can be found on DublinCity.ie.

Here’s a sample of cross-sections abs artist’s impressions:

8 Comments

  1. All such shared spaces and paths must be clearly delineated to define cycle/pedestrian spaces. This makes for safety, clear understanding, and relaxing travel for all. Such signage must be clear at the start and end of each route, and at intervals along all routes.

  2. Not amount of signage can counter stubborn humans. The Phoenix Park has separate lanes for walking and cycling but you will still get a person standing on the very large no pedestrian symbol, shouting at you to get off the “footpath”. :-(

  3. The bits of the greenway which currently have the line down the middle are a joy to cycle on. The line is respected by pedestrians and cyclists alike which is good for everyone.

  4. Well done for highlighting this issue. I commute by bike to work and pass through Bush Park in Terenure on the outbound Tallaght cycle route.
    It is unmarked which causes confusion for both pedestrians and cyclists. Added to the fact that there are “no cycling” signs at the park entrance. Pedestrians are often angry when they see cyclists on what they perceive as a footpath. It can be frightening for adults out for a stroll with their small children when cyclists pass close to them.
    It would be a lot clearer for everyone if there was a solid white line down the centre with one side for cycling and another for pedestrians.

    if you look at google street view closely you can see the ‘no cycling’ sign at the start of the cycling route. No wonder we are all confused !
    https://www.google.ie/maps/@53.3022486,-6.2962632,2a,87.1y,36.33h,71.83t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s2e3eSNDlOTbsxMELsloWgg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

  5. The line is not respected by everyone in my experience. On that stretch I’ve had a walker on the grass on one side with his dog on the grass on the other side with one of those extremely long wire leads stretching across the path. This was exceptional, the standard group of people strung out across the entire path was a frequent occurance. Unfortunately there seems to be no way to stop this. Two seperate paths won’t stop people walking on the wrong one as pointed out in a previous comment. Frequent signage so you have something to point at when the people you are trying to pass get defensive (or aggressive) is the best we can really hope for. We should probably be grateful this isn’t one of those paths that is supposed to be wide enough for pedestrians and cyclists but is actually barely wide enough for a single bicycle.

    I’m more concerned by the last two photos. I assume both of these are supposed to be two way but they do not look wide enough. I also think that wheelchair users are going to be delighted to have a ramp but upset with oncoming cyclists wanting to squeeze by.

  6. Two separate paths works best — the problem with the Phoenix Park example is different because the paths are too far apart and there’s car parking closer to the cycle path with grass and a barrier between it and most of the footpath.

  7. Those before and after photosmontages are so so funny. They’re the same, with the white line removed. The path is about 5cm wider.

  8. There are ‘no cycling or ballgames’ signs in some areas of that route. Closely followed by newer signs that say ‘ cycle with care’ . Its baffling that someone didn’t remove the old signs before putting in the new ones. Causes regular confusion.

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