Phoenix Park cycle tracks

The Phoenix Park is one of the largest enclosed urban parks in Europe at 707 hectares / 1752 acres. It houses Dublin Zoo; Áras an Uachtaráin, the residence of the President of Ireland; and the US Ambassador’s Residence. It includes the people’s flower gardens, the Wellington Testimonial, playing pitches, woodland, and its own herd of wild dear.

THE ROUTE

Where: Phoenix Park, Dublin 8.
Type: Off-road mostly, with linked on-road cycle lanes
Detail: Grass buffer between roads and tracks, with long stretches between junctions
Length: Main avenue about 4km each way, 3.8km loop off the main avenue and around the main playing pitches, 1.2km on the west end of North Road, and some smaller branches.

View Cycle routes: Phoenix Park in a larger map

ROUTE RANKING

[0] Overview: Good surface quality, long lengths of uninterrupted cycle track, and great views. But there are flaws with the designs and sometimes too many pedestrians on the cycle tracks.

[1] Accessibly and connectivity: For a park of its size it’s surprising that there are no off road cycle tracks and few on-road cycle lanes linked with the park — this however is counterbalanced by the parking within the park, reasonably proximity to railway stations and bicycle rental within the park. There is no cycling crossing over the main road for the whole length of the main avenue. See below for details of access.

[2] Design: Poor design is saved by long stretches without junctions. At junctions along the main roads cyclists are wrongly told to yield to lesser roads. Conflict with pedestrians is increased given location of some parking spaces, lack of dedicated footpaths beside some of the cycle tracks, lack of clear signage, and a lack of enforcement by park rangers.

[3] Surface quality and maintenance: Surface quality and maintenance is good to excellent overall — the main problems are not with the off-road tracks but the on-road cycle lanes and generally on road.

[4] Lighting and security: Park rangers patrol the park and there is usually no obvious anti-social behaviour on main routes is poor lighting in the park at night.

[5] Environment: Overall great views of the park, and sometimes also with great views of the surrounding city. A chance to spot deer, but also large amounts of traffic.

ACCESS 

Cycling on road: Access from Parkgate Street, North Circular Road, Castleknock and other gates. Although there is currently no segregated link to the park.

Cycling off-road: 550m by road from the Royal Canal tow path at Ashtown Railway Station.

Bike rental: Bike rental inside main gate at Parkgate Street, see phoenixparkbikes.com for details. (Note: Since Summer 2015, a new bicycle rental company is based at the park gates; the company previously based at the location is looking t0 relocate, see: phoenixparkbikehire.com).

DublinBikes: Nearest station at Parkgate Street.

Train stations: Heuston‎ Station is a little over 500m from the main gate of the park, while Ashtown Station is about 550m from the Ashtown Road gate entrance to the park — switch at Connolly / Tara / Pearse to get to Ashtown‎.

Parking: The off-road cycle tracks are close to all the car parks in the park

3 Comments

  1. AvidIrishReader January 10, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    It’s funny, because the off-road cycle lanes (particularly near the old Magazine Fort) are generally only used by runners and pedestrians. As you rightly point out, the design of the overall route is very, very poor.

    What’s even worse is the lack of segregation between road users: cyclists, vehicles and pedestrians. Along the main drag, continuous railings ensure that people exiting parked cars walk to the zoo on the cycle paths, as they cannot get to the pedestrian routes!! Who thought of that?

    Chesterfield Avenue has re-opened from the Aras to the zoo, but I can only hope that this isn’t the final surface. Visually, it looks a mess, with tarmac for two thirds of the surface and the older surface left on inbound route. And it’s not exactly smooth (like the road to Farmleigh).

    I only hope that the North Road and sections of the Lower Acres Road are re-surfaced too; currently, they’re positively dangerous.

    And have you ever asked a pedestrian not to walk in the cycling path? Apart from the mouthful of abuse normally thrown back, Irish pedestrians don’t give a sh*t about walking/not walking in the dedicated cycling routes.

    We are always promised so much at planning stage, but when it comes to implementation, the city authorities seem to get it wrong. It’s just depressing.

  2. A simple rule when confronted with pedestrians on the cycle lane is just to keep cycling (ring your bell if you have one). It’s up to the pedestrian to move off the lane, if they don’t they’ll get a nasty elbow to the side as I pass. I had to move onto the grass once while travelling at speed, and the resulting slip/fall resolved me to never leave the tarmac again. If people must walk on the bike lane then please stay to the left side (as if you were on a road).

    Really the inner path should have been allocated as the bike lane, leaving the roadside path for pedestrians, but it’s evidently too late now.

  3. Yes, indeed. I once met an oncoming cyclist, at night, coming down the wrong side cycle track. He had a very bright light so at least I knew he was there. However, the problem became apparent when at about 20′ I realise he has a dog, completely unlit and tethered to him by a leash. I had to dig deep to keep my advice polite.

    If I had a penny for each of these such stories…

    I suppose I’m not perfect either. But I’m close.

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