— People walking and cycling face four traffic lights to cross road in current plan
Plans for “one of the largest signalised junctions imaginable” should include a Dutch-style floating roundabout to make walking and cycling safe and attractive, a Green Party councillor has said.
The junction is planned as a replacement to the main roundabout in Cherrywood in Dublin, where it is planned there will be homes for 20,000 residents and jobs for up to 10,000 workers. The roundabout is on the main east-west road in the new district, and it links two major roads — the N11 and the M50. The new Cherrywood town centre is to be built next to the junction.
Cllr Ossian Smyth said a floating roundabout costing millions would not be an unreasonable amount given the cost of the development. He said: “[A floating roundabout in Eindhoven, pictured above] cost about €6m to construct. Given that the Cherrywood development will cost more than €2bn, this may not be an unreasonable amount. It is amazing and beautiful to see.”
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The Eindhoven Hovenring, which was partly built as a bus priority measure, also replaced a major roundabout with large volumes of traffic.
The Eindhoven example was visited by a cycling study tour from Ireland last year which Cllr Smyth was on — it includes ramps which are easy to cycle up. Dutch weather is similar to Dublin’s weather, although winds which can knock over people on bikes is said to be more common in the Netherlands, while nearly unheard of in Ireland.
“The developer [of Cherrywood] applied in December for the first phase: the roads and drainage and the parks. The way we plan the transport for our city districts is directly linked with the future quality of life for the residents. So let’s try and get it right!,” Cllr Smyth wrote last week.
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An alternative would be raising the road up and designing Dutch-like cycling and walking friendly underpasses. Cllr Smyth said: “We could also raise the roads as they cross the junction and allow the bicycles and pedestrians to go underneath. I saw a good example of this in Houten near Utrecht.”
He acknowledged underpasses have a poor history in Ireland: “In Ireland, our experience with underpasses is that they have been a complete failure. Frightening and dangerous to use, the two underpasses in Blackrock were eventually filled in. The underpasses in the Houten roundabout design are more like going under a bridge: they have plenty of natural light and there are good sightlines from all around.”
With underpasses in the Netherlands, best modern practice is to increase the level of the road above effectively so that the cycling underpass drop below ground level is halfed. The reverse is used for over-passes. Long ramps with shallow inclined are also used to make it easier to cycle.
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