Cycling campaign says Camden Street gyratory changes don’t go far enough

— Contra-flow bus lane to be open to bicycles from 11am this morning
— Draft NTA report notes safety issue with one-way gyratory

A contra-flow bus lane at Dublin’s Camden Street towards Rathmines does not go far enough to fix all of the issues caused by the one-way gyratory system, the Dublin Cycling Campaign has said.

The campaign welcomed the contra-flow bus lane, but it said “we also think that the City Council did not go far enough in terms of providing for cyclists: the street network is still remarkably impermeable for cycling.”

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While cycling campaigners have been pushing changes to the gyratory (a one-way system of streets around a block of building) for years, a contra-flow lane has finally been put in place to limit the affects that utilities works for the Luas Cross City tram route will have on buses.

People cycling in many directions will be still required to cycle around the gyratory — which often means dealing with fast-moving traffic while crossing over two or three traffic lanes.

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Contra-flow route from Camden Street towards Rathmines (green) and the old route around the one-way system (red)

A statement from the campaign explains: “For example, for cyclists traveling along the South Circular Road (Harrington Street section) towards Camden Street, they will still be required to turn left towards the city centre; the new traffic management arrangements do not enable cyclists to turn right onto the new contra-flow bus/cycle lane so as to continue southwards to Rathmines, and do nothing to enable cyclists to continue directly onto Harcourt Road (so as to be able to turn right towards Ranelagh); Harcourt Road will remain as a one-way street.”

An draft City Centre Transport Assessment Study by the National Transport Authority (NTA) — which was leaked to — noted: “The current gyratory design of the area leads to congestion at peak hours, and heavy flows of fast moving traffic off peak, giving little priority for large volumes of pedestrians, and impacting on the safety of cyclists. In addition, the gyratory does not give priority to buses or cyclists, and also forces them to deviate from the most direct route. There is a clear need for this location to be redesigned to provide a better transport environment for all modes.”

Dublin City Council distanced itself from the report last year, but the draft NTA plan goes into a large amount of detail on how it “links directly” with council’s published development plan, policies and plans for city.

The Camden Street contra-flow lane is linked to the Luas Cross City tram line construction. As we reported last year, the construction will mean 40 extra buses, per hour at rush hour, will soon be diverted away from the tram route and onto the Camden Street to Dame Street route. The Dublin Cycling Campaign said it had “some concern about mixing so many buses with so many bikes on the corridor”.

The campaign said: “It is essential that the drivers of the buses pay special attention to cyclists on this route – and, of course, essential that cyclists ride assertively and sensibly (by, for example, adopting the control road position while using the contra-flow lane). Overall though, we are optimistic that after everyone gets used to the new road layout, the new direct route out of town will improve life for those cycling in the city.

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Cian Ginty

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