Royal Canal Greenway ramp double Dutch standards

It’s been rightly pointed out that our story on the Royal Canal Greenway only included one of many issues, another issue is the gradients of ramps at road crossing and canal locks.

There’s two great blogs showing how the Dutch do things — and but sometimes the comments are even more insightful… Like one comment by Herbert Tiemens who is a traffic engineer based in Utrecht in the Netherlands. He said:

...I'm sorry to disrupt you while you're reading this article, but without messages like this,'s reader-funded journalism won't survive. With 676k views so-far this year, it's not just "avid cyclists" that this website reaches. But the number of subscribers is around 0.6% of readers. This large gap between readers/subscribers is standard for non-paywall reader-supported journalism, but IrishCycle's journalism needs more support. Don't delay, support monthly or yearly today. Now, back to the article...

“The Dutch recommendations (CROW 230) say a ramp for cyclists shouldn’t have more than 5%. When the vertical climb is very short, a higher grade can be used. When the total vertical slope is more than 4 meters, a maximum of 4% is recommended. Also the horizontal parts are suggested, they should be at least 25m horizontal. As a cyclist with a good condition I don’t like the horizontal parts on a longer slope that much, it gets you out your rhythm. But for less powerful people the horizontal platforms are ok.”

A large planned ramp between Castleknock and the M50 on the Royal Canal Greenway is proposed to be 1 in 12 or 8.333%, 48 meters long, and — according to the planning drawings — have four flat rest areas (the horizontal parts referred to by Tiemens above).

Therefore the planned ramp is over twice the maximum recommended gradient CROW, by the Dutch design manual.

If the drawings are correct and there is going to be four horizontal sections, than to reach the minimum recommend length by CROW the horizontal would be longer than the planned ramp!

We’re not saying it’s realistic to expect Dutch standards, but is it acceptable to be so far from the minimums and maximums outlined in their manual?

The gradients for other ramps are not shown – although these are shorter ramps than the one mention above.

Another issue is gates or barriers. The planning drawing says a cycle friendly arrangement will be put in place — will this force cyclists to stop or dismount? Will cargo bikes, cargo trikes, and child trailers fit?

Public consultation closes at 5pm today.

MORE: Royal Canal Greenway design puts users at “increased risk”


  1. There is a Royal Canal open meeting taking place on Wed 20th March 2013 at 7.30pm at John Paul Park Sports Complex, Ratoath Road, Dublin 7 where you can raise concerns such as the above. Represented by members of Inland Waterways, Waterways Ireland, Dublin City Council, Royal Canal Amenities Group along with others, it is a chance to raise concerns about any aspect of the canal to the relevant bodies, including cycleways.

  2. I’m not always convinced that Dutch designs provide the best approach to Irish problems, but it’s obvious even to me that a canal route with flatness as one of its main selling points is a classic example for when Dutch design guidelines ought to be followed chapter and verse.


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