Existing cycle lanes and tracks across Dublin were overall ranked low as part of the draft Cycle Network Plan for the Greater Dublin Area.
The report detailing the plan highlights general issues with narrowness and loss of priority, and the access problems caused on greenways by barriers.
The current network of cycle lanes and paths were rated for their quality of service based on five criteria: surface condition; width; frequency of conflicts (ie due to parking and driveways etc); junction delay; and comfort covering proximity to other traffic and the associated sense of safety.
For context: The upgraded network has a minimum quality of service level B — read more here.
The plan says that typically the current cycle lanes in the Dublin City area score C or D and that this low quality is due to a lack of width for cyclists and the discomfort caused by large volumes of traffic.
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The authors outline how the quality of service “actually reduces along the primary radial routes as they near the city centre, even though the demand is increasing.” But they say that “the quality of cycling facility should increase with demand along the busiest routes as they approach the edge of the city centre.”
Bus lanes “poorly serve the needs of cyclists”
(image: CID / not from report)
The report adds that “a significant portion” of the current Dublin City cycling network is bus lanes which mostly score a ranking of D “as they poorly serve the needs of cyclists.”
Similarly in the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown area it says cycling facilities on routes leading to Dublin City Centre were mostly provided as part of Quality Bus Corridor projects and the quality generally “is low at C”.
It says elsewhere that other facilities in the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown area range generally from a low of D on older roads such as Leopardstown Road East to a high of B on newer roads such as Murphystown Way.
Upgrades are suggested for cycle route crossing of the M50 motorway in a number of areas.
Barriers “pervasive problem” on greenways
On greenways, it says barriers such as kissing gates are a “pervasive problem across” the Dublin City and the South Dublin County areas, and it notes how fewer barriers in the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown area helps creates a high-quality off-road routes.
It highlights the Grand Canal Greenway west of Inchicore (Dublin City and South Dublin) and the recently opened River Tolka Greenway (Dublin City) as having problems with barriers.
It suggests that the barriers are replaced with “simple bollards at 1.5m” intervals “as is common practice in other countries” and says that this “would open up a potentially extensive off-road, high-quality cycle route network through the large number of public parks and open spaces across the South Dublin County area.”
It says such barriers are “not compatible with the need to make best use of off-road cycle routes through green spaces and public parks to deliver a high quality of service for cyclists.”
Loss of priority and very low usage
Cycling infrastructure in the South Dublin County Council area is rated generally between D to B, however the report says that “Some of the better quality cycle tracks are in newly developing areas and have a very low level of usage.” In notes the problem of widths that “makes overtaking difficult” and “more importantly” the loss of priority at side roads.
In the Fingal County Council area, one the main routes, the Swords Road, is ranked as a D because of the narrowness and lack of segregation from high-speed traffic.
While in Blanchardstown it notes how the existing cycle track network is quite extensive, “in most cases these cycling facilities score quite poorly” due to loss of priority at junctions. However, it suggests that would be “straightforward” to upgrade junctions and lift the quality of service “for relatively small cost”.
Linking rural towns
The authors also high light the potential to link closely separated rural areas in parts of the GDA. In Fingal, it uses the examples of linking “Balbriggan and Skerries, Rush and Lusk, Portrane and Donabate to Swords, and Malahide to Swords.”
It reported “fragmented”, limited or no networks in towns in Kildare and Meath.