Grafton Street Quarter plan and cycling

Drury Street as planned
Drury Street as planned

Dublin City Council has released a “Grafton Street Quarter Draft Public Realm Plan” and here’s what it says about cycling, in the chapter Transport and Movement:

7.6 Cycling in the Grafton Street Quarter 
The Grafton Street Quarter is one of the busiest destinations for dublinbikes’ users within the city centre. The Chatham Street, Molesworth Street and Exchequer Street bike stations experience significant demand for the dublinbikes service both during the week and at the weekends. As part of the dublinbikes expansion plans it is intended to provide for additional dublinbikes stations in the Grafton Street Quarter in order to meet the ever-growing demand for this service.

In designing additional dublinbikes stations in the Grafton Street Quarter emphasis will be placed on providing bike stations at appropriate locations, which integrate with the surrounding context and complement the other forms of movement in the area.

Traffic volumes and speeds within the Grafton Street Quarter are low and it is quite possible to move safely and comfortably through the area by bicycle. One problematic area is South King Street which it not accessible to any vehicles including bicycles outside certain hours. This necessitates a long detour for cyclists.

The facility for cyclists to dismount and wheel the bike for the hundred metres or so does not answer the problem. Cycle parking is an integral part of any cycle network. The availability of appropriate bicycle parking at either end of a trip will heavily influence the decision to travel by bicycle. Bicycle parking is different from car parking in the sense that it is more than simply a place to stop.

Freestanding bicycles are easily stolen and need to be secured to something fixed. Also bicycles are not stable when static and need to be supported in an upright position if they are not to cause nuisance. 

Commitment to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport’s Smarter Travel targets mean a cycle mode of 25% or more for Dublin. The car mode is currently around 35% and the area has over 3,500 car parking spaces. It is necessary to establish the legal amount of cycle parking that exists in the area at the moment. Future demand should be predominantly served by off-street, secure, high density cycle parks, rather than on streets and footpaths which can add to street clutter.

An advantage of cycling is the convenience of near ‘door to door’ travel and designers who wish to encourage cycling should strive to provide some on-street spaces.

While cycle parking is much more space efficient than car parking, it does make significant demands on limited public space. This is a particular issue in pedestrian rich areas such as the Grafton Street Quarter. Dublin City Council operates a successful off-street bicycle parking facility in Drury Street Multi-Storey Car Park and it is recommended that this be upgraded, expanded and actively promoted to enhance off-street cycle parking facilities in the Grafton Street Quarter.

In addition, finance has recently been made available from the National Transport Authority to study the potential to develop high density cycle parking facilities in city laneways with swipe card access, and monitoring. This project is underway since early 2013.

However, there will remain a desire to meet the demand for short-term stops on the street. International experience shows that failure to provide for short-term stops on the street leads to an improvised and disorderly response by cyclists. Well planned and designed street parking can enhance the street space for everyone. A balance is required.

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This plan acknowledges the commercial necessity of allowing
shopping traffic to access the multi-storey car parks throughout the area and also the controlled access for delivery traffic. It seeks to build on the traffic calming schemes that were carried out in South William Street, Clarendon Street and Drury Street which highlighted the cross pedestrian movements from the South City Market eastward towards Grafton Street and beyond and which, by paving sections of carriageway in stone, promoted pedestrian
presence at these parts of the streets. In conjunction with these proposals the plan will seek to integrate enhanced cycle parking facilities and ease of movement for cyclists.

Under “Future Considerations”:

The delay in the Transport 21 Projects for the DART underground and Metro North present a challenge. The
street network is at or near capacity and the private car cannot deliver additional commuters on the scale needed.
Additional public transport, cycling and walking is required. From the point of view of design of the street network this
location will need to cater for large additional volumes of pedestrians. This requires a severe reduction in the level of
on-street parking for pedestrian use.

Under “Key Priorities”:

There is limited space available so the competing needs of pedestrians, cyclists and car drivers will have to be
balanced with the commercial needs of the area. There is also a need to provide sufficient cycle parking spaces in a
balanced manner to accommodate current and future cyclist numbers.

Submissions can be made to Frank Lambe, Project Manager, South East Area, Block 2, Floor 4, Civic Offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8 or by email to before the deadline of Friday November 15, 2013.

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MORE: Grafton Street Quarter Draft Public Realm Plan