Contra-flow cycling streets — where motorists are only allowed to go one-way but bicycle users are legally allowed to travel in both directions — could be rolled out across Dublin, and
eventually to other locations in Ireland.
These streets, which have only a single lane and no separated cycle lane, are common across Europe. One new example was put in place last week in Phibsborough, it follows at least three examples which were put in place in Dublin around 15 to 20 years ago. Dublin City Council are now looking at expanding the use of the measure and using clearer markings to warn motorists that bicycles are legally allowed to be cycled in both directions on these streets.
The newest redesigned street is Leinster Street North in Phibsborough, a residential one-way street off the Phibsborough Road. The design was changed on Wednesday night to be two-way for cycling. New bicycle markings and contra-flow arrows were added along the street surface and the road signs were changed to include an ‘except cyclists’ plate under the no entry signs.
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— Ciarán Cuffe (@CiaranCuffe) August 21, 2015
Dublin City Council are looking to develop a standard design for these kinds of streets and are seeking feedback, which can be sent to email@example.com.
Phibsborough is also host to what is likely the most popular of the three contra-flow cycling streets which have been in place for years. On the other side of the Phibsborough Road, another residential street, called ‘Royal Canal Bank’ is used as a cycling bypass of the congested Doyle’s Corner junction in Phibsborough.
The other two older examples known to IrishCycle.com are Hannaville Park and Terenure Park, both off the Terenure Road on the southside of the city. Below are images of long-standing examples of contra-flow streets:
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A 2013 survey of city and county Dublin councillors found that there was high support for these contra-flow cycling streets. When shown the Royal Canal Bank example and told that these arrangements are used in Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam and Copenhagen, nearly 80% of councillors who responded said that they would support wider use of the design across Dublin on low-speed residential and shopping streets.
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Meanwhile, on larger and busier one-way streets, segregated lanes or paths are seen as a requirement for legal contra-flow cycling. Dublin City Council in 2010 had a plan to roll out contra-flow cycle paths or lanes to more than ten areas across the city but, five years later, there has been no visible progress on that plan. The delay was partly linked to planned and now underway Luas Cross City works, as well as the shelved Metro North project. There was also opposition from a small number of councillors.
Dublin City Council has since completed a small amount of work on older contra-flow paths and lanes to make them more usable or clearer to motorists. As part of this process, however, an unfinished contra-flow route on St Stephens Green West was officially closed off with signs ordering people not to continue the short distance to the bottom of Grafton Street.
Elsewhere in Co Dublin, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council have implemented at least three contra-flow cycle paths in recent years, while in the rest of the country Cork City Council has installed a number of contra-flow cycle paths across its city, and Waterford City and County Council plans to do the same.
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