— Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, Railway Procurement Agency (RPA), overall supportive but have some concerns
— Ashling Hotel objects to all options
Over 80% of 1,200 respondents to widely-publicised public consultation on the Liffey Cycle Route plan have supported two-way cycle options.
Nearly 50% of all respondents to the non-statutory consultation voted for Option 3, between Heuston Station and Church Street. According to a Dublin City Council report given to councillors this week: “Option 3 would see a two way facility established on the North Quays with buses rerouted via Benburb St and the Croppys Acre park relocated to the river’s edge.” Route diagrams are shown below.
There is slightly less support from members of the public for two-way between Church Street and the Docklands (73%).
The report said: “For Section B between Church Street and Custom House Quay there was a strong preference for the two way North Quays option which polled 73% of the vote with the one way option being the preference of only 23% of respondents. 4% favoured neither of the options.”
The council and its consultants, ROD-AECOM, are now to look at “issues or constraints” raised during the public consultation process which relate to this Option 3.
The report states: “It will be established whether these issues or constraints can be overcome and if they can suitable mitigation measures will be drawn up. Following this problem identification process, a preliminary cost estimate will be drawn up for the scheme which will further inform whether the scheme is ready to go to preliminary design or not. In September, the Special Policies Committee will be briefed on the status of the scheme at that time and whether the scheme is ready to proceed to preliminary design stage.”
A number of more detailed submissions were received by the council, including from Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, Railway Procurement Agency (RPA), the Ashling Hotel, and Cycling Ireland.
The report states that the Dublin Bus submission said that Option 3 “can be made work”. The company does not support the options for non-continuous with-flow cycling along both quays as these options “offer little improvement over what is in place at present” — it also does not does it support the option of bus diversions without the changes to Croppys Acre park as this “offers a disincentive to bus passengers.”
Without the changes to the park buses would suffer a time delay in making a left turn off the quays before Blackhall Place and, then very quickly, a right turn into Benburb Street. With the changes to the park, buses are given the most direct on-road route between Parkgate Street and Smithfield, before rejoining the quays at Church Street.
Bus Éireann’s submission, the report says, “states a clear preference for Option 1 of Section A as it has the least impact on Bus Éireann services on the North Quays and will offer the least potential for collisions between buses and cyclists” — this option however includes the largest amount of shared footpath space with little or no alternative than to mix walking and cycling at some bridge pinch points.
Bus Éireann wants clarifications on junction priority and traffic signal priority and whether there will be any additional running times associated with any of the options.
A summary of the RPA submission said that it “highlights the continuing issue with cyclists using the Luas tramlines between Parkgate Street and O’Connell Street in particular and welcomes the development of a safe, segregated cycle route on the quays away from the existing tramline.”
The RPA said that the one way building side option “will not result in cyclists transferring from the existing Luas line… and is therefore not preferable.”
However, the RPA has concerns over bus re-routing onto Benburb Street. The submission states that the “RPA would have significant concerns about the safety implications of this proposal” and that in relation to Option 3 specifically “the impact of the provision of a three lane road to the
rear of the museum Luas stop is a significant concern to the RPA”. The report does not make it clear why this is the case.
Collins Square Management Company, a management company for an apartment block beside the National Museum on Benburb Street, said all four options were flawed. The management company said that contra-flow cycling should be provided for on Benburb Street. It also complains that bus diversions would increase noise and pollution on Benburb Street; remove almost all on-street parking and loading space on Benburb Street; create an additional hazard for pedestrians and cyclists; create access issues for residents and businesses; and that the bus-only street would be unenforceable.
Cycling Ireland, the National Governing Body for cycling sport in Ireland said that the limited boardwalk option would prove problematic with pedestrian conflicts likely and the with-flow options on both quays would continue to leave cyclists vulnerable to traffic. It said that the bus diversion options are preferable.
The Aishling Hotel objected to all options for Section A of the scheme. The complaints include potential for increased traffic congestion approaching the quays and making access to the hotel and its public car park more difficult, and a loss of bus parking and loading at front of hotel. It said that the with-flow option on both quays would have the least impact on the hotel.
A resident of Parkgate Street also objected, although residents of areas around the quays were mainly supportive of the changes.
OPTION THREE EXPLAINED IN DETAIL
A two-way cycle route on the north quays with buses diverted and a reconfiguration of the Croppies Acre memorial park, at the front of Collins Barracks. As we detailed in October (includes map), this option would include diverting motor traffic along a new route from Heuston Station across the Frank Sherwin Bridge where traffic would follow the Luas red line before moving back onto the quays near the main vehicle entrance to Collins Barracks.
Buses would follow a similar route but at the entrance to Collins Barracks buses would continue to follow the Luas line until Church Street, at the Four Courts. This could allow for a higher quality walking and cycling route on the quays, while limiting impacts on private traffic and buses.
This option was indicated as receiving the highest positive feedback from stakeholders, including business groups. Buses would run beside, not on the Luas tracks, and bus priority would given to buses rejoining the quays at the same time as Luas trams would be crossing Church Street.
MORE: Liffey Cycle Route, Summary Stakeholder Report (PDF)