Dublin City Council has once again proceed with a street re-design project without dedicated and protected space for cycling. The results are as predicted — there’s conflict between users and motorists are regularly blocking a contra-flow cycle lane.
The Kilmainham Civic Space project, led by the City Architects Division, redesigned the street space in front of Kilmainham Gaol and the offices, cafe, homes and hotel across from it.
Users of the redesigned route have called it confusing and question if the council have a “complete disregard for cyclists’ safety”.
The project team ignored feedback requesting dedicated space for cycling in the project and ignored years of complaints to the council from people using the cycle route that taxies waiting and vans loading was common place on the previous two-way cycle lane outside the hotel and offices.
The new design includes mixing walking and cycling on footpaths and crossings; an unprotected contra-flow cycle lane already prone to parking and loading on it; car parking spaces inside the contra-flow cycle lane which motorists must cross to use the spaces; and mixing bicycles with tourist buses in a shared traffic lane.
A call from the NCBI, the national sight loss charity, not to mix walking and cycling on a section of the project were also ignored.
Yesterday one of the users of the street took to Twitter to complain, while posting images of cars partly and fully blocking the cycle lane (shown above and below, used with permission). Elaine Snowden wrote: “Well done @DubCityCouncil, newly redone Kilmainham area is more dangerous for cycling than before.”
When requested on social media, a number of people who use the street came forward to highlight a mix of confusion and annoyance.
Luke Foley, who frequently cycles through the new layout as part of his commute into the city centre, said: “The new layout is very confusing for cyclists. To be honest, I don’t really know where to start. If you’re coming from town there is no clear path for cyclists. Until about 3/4 of the way up when there’s a very abrupt cycle path that appears out of nowhere… But it’s going in other direction so I end up just cycling along it cautiously until it merges with the original two-way cycle lane that stretches from Kilmainham jail to Inchicore.”
He added: “If you’re going from Kilmianham towards town there is still the issue that the cycle lane ends about 1/4 the way up and you either have to stay on the newly-narrowed road facing oncoming busses etc. or you can go on the new widened footpath which is full of tourists depending on the time of the day.”
Alan Casey, another user of the street told us that he had complained to the council and was told that car parking is meant to be side to kerb and not bumper to kern as motorists have been doing, but he said “I’m not convinced that that will be any better to be honest.”
He said: “Also they have put a taxi rank around the side of the hotel and its hidden from view so it not used at all. Taxis will never use this and will continue to block bus stops and the cycle lane.”
“There is no loading bay and a lot of deliveries are made to the offices there and the cafe so they just park in the cycle path. The cycle track seems to be marked with a broken and half broken line so it’s prob not even illegal for taxis to pull in there now, where previously it’s was a continuous line making it illegal to cross it,” said Casey.
He added: “Also the traffic lights have bicycle symbols with the pedestrian signal indicating the ped crossing is mixed in all directions. Handy for cyclists but obviously not good practice.”
Another user of the area, Ciaran said: “I pass by on the SCR (South Circular Road) to and from my mother’s place in Islandbridge. If they allow taxis outside the hotel in the loading bay, where there is one tiny space painted there, it’ll be an unmitigated disaster. It is what it is. A bad idea for a hotel. Taxis ‘should’ go up Inchicore road to come back down the N4, but in fact make an illegal right turn from the SCR onto John’s Road West.”
Another user of the street, Marc O’Brian said: “I use it every day! For the most part it is very good with a very smooth surface and well laid out. One thing tho is that if you use the car park spaces on the hotel side they are not big enough and the nose or tail of the car is up to a foot or more into the bike lane.”
Fiona, a reader who commented this morning on one of our previous articles on the redesign, said: “I live on this road and it is horrible to use. The contra flow lane just stops at one point (I think you’re supposed to hop on to the path then, it’s still unclear), in one section you have to negotiate parked cars’ boots sticking out in to the cycle lane whilst trying to avoid oncoming traffic, including coaches, tour buses, taxis and commuters.”
She added: “And it’s way worse when you turn left in to the road on your way home every evening. There is no clarity, no sense of being in the right place and I can see daily conflicts. It makes me wonder if Dublin City Council have a complete disregard for cyclists’ safety and did anyone actually talk to a cyclist who regularly uses this street when designing the expansion?”