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Plans aims for safe, comfortable cycling across Greater Dublin

GDA Cycle Network plan cover
Draft GDA Cycle Network Plan

Members of the public and interest groups have until October 14 to give their views on a cycling network plan which spans four counties and with a total route length of over 2,800km.

The draft Cycle Network Plan has the goal of having a “completed network” which “will facilitate safe and comfortable cycling between all origins and destinations in the Greater Dublin Area.”

Dublin cycle network - metro area map
A map showing the planned primary (red) and secondary (blue) routes, as well as greenways (green) in the Dublin area

The wide-ranging plan covers city centre streets to greenways and from rural roads to dual carriageways.

The report – which includes maps showing the network across counties Dublin, Meath, Kildare, and Wicklow – has taken over a year to produced by the National Transport Authority, its consultants Aecom and Roughan & O’Donovan, and the seven local authorities in the GDA.

The main route types are explained in this table:

GDA cycle network categorisation A

As per the National Cycle Manual, on main roads and streets where there are large volumes or high speeds of cars, segregation will be used — resulting in cycle paths separated from motor traffic. The network will also make use of local streets for feeder routes; and parks, canals and rivers for greenways.

Mapping and forecasting

The process has included mapping and evaluating the current disjointed network, forecasting demand, and developing the proposed network. However, no funding estimates or time frames are included in the plan as these are “to be addressed as part of a separate investment funding process.”

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The existing 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); junction delay; and comfort covering proximity to other traffic and the associated sense of safety.

The authors used a five-scale ranking quality of service from D to A+ and most routes were rated as poor — read more here on current conditions across Greater Dublin.

Minimum quality of B

For upgrades of the network, a key part of the plan says: “In terms of conflicts, level of comfort, junction time delays and pavement quality, a minimum Quality of Service Level B should be provided on all cycle routes, regardless of the volume of demand.”

It says quality regarding widths should be considered separately. It says where there are high peak volumes of demand (500 cyclists per hour) that it is desirable to provide space for side-by-side “social cycling” and room for another cyclist to pass (this is ranked as A+/A). Where there are lesser volumes overtaking space for cyclists to overtake a single cyclist is “sufficient” (ranked as A/B).

The plan includes a primary route target of A+/A for width and A/B for other factors. For second routes there is set to be a target of A/B for width and B for other factors. A very small percent of the current network reaches the B rating.

High numbers of cyclists using narrow lanes

As it stands no route crossing the canal into the city exceeds 500 cyclists per hour in the morning. However, traffic counts across three hour morning peak (7am to 10am) show high numbers on poor quality and narrow routes:

“North Strand Road as the busiest cycle route in Dublin with existing flows of over 900 cyclists in the morning peak period. Rathmines Road is the next busiest at over 700 cyclists, with Clanbrassil Street not far behind. These high cyclist flows are despite the poor Quality of Service on these busy radial routes where cyclists must share bus lanes or be confined to narrow cycle lanes.”

Ranelagh Road and Dorset Street also exceed 500 cyclist in the morning peak, while Leeson Street and North Wall Quay both come close to that mark. Along the Grand Canal near Rathmines, Grove Road exceeds 800 cyclists.

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Cian Ginty


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