LONG READ: Dublin’s Liffey Cycle Route has the potential to be a backbone of a segregated cycle network in the city and a catalyst for cycling attractive to almost everyone — so we are making the below suggestions for the route.
There is currently no official preferred route for the project. The preferred public route — option 3 — would need some changing because of an apartment block in the way of the bus route for that option, and other options can be looked at in light of separately planned city centre traffic restrictions.
IrishCycle.com has in the last year strongly advocated for support for option 3, so we are using that option as the bases our our suggestions. However, most of our suggested improvements will apply to most possible routes. If this is viewed as criticism, it should be viewed as constructive criticism which builds on the good work of designing the route so-far and fitting it on to the north quays route.
We’re really advocating for Option 3 Plus: Plus more greenery, plus better connectivity for cycling and walking, and plus better bus priority measures to make sure diverting buses off a section of the quays won’t notably slow buses down. ‘Plus’ means redefining the design and adding to it to maximising the potential of many aspects of the route.
For anybody not up-to-date with the project, here’s a selection of articles on it:
- Preferred option for Liffey Cycle Route to be confirmed in February 2016
- Why #3 is the best of the Liffey Cycle Route options — but it needs some reworking
- 12 reasons why the Liffey Cycle Route should be supported
- Links to background coverage
As per one of the above articles: It’s IrishCycle.com’s view that option 3 is by far the best option because it is the most balanced between walking, cycling, bus users, access, and reforming parkland and public space. The detailed drawings published for the overall option 3 is split into three parts:
- Section-A-Option-3-Bus-Croppy-Acre (PDF 5.5mb)
- Section-B-Option-1-River-Side (PDF 7.5mb)
- Section-C-Option-1-Two-Way (PDF 6mb)
This post deals with the middle section, Section-B-Option-1-River-Side, from Four Courts to the Custom House at Talbot Memorial Bridge:
This section starts at Four Courts:
When we look at this plan and join the dots with the City Centre Transport Study, there seems to be little reason to keep two lanes for general traffic here.
Look at the wider picture:
- The section before this only has one lane for general traffic.
- The City Centre Transport Study plan includes a yet-to-be approved, but still a plan not to allow private motoring traffic as far as Bachelor’s Walk (only walking, cycling, buses and taxis).
- The quay-side footpath here is kept narrow at just 1.6m — far too narrow for it to be attractive for walking, never mind people hanging around and enjoying the riverside. The footpath width is below standard and will likely be congested.
- Extra greenery along the route would help create the feeling that the route is like a linear park, and not just a transport route.
- Where there’s more than one lane of traffic on a one-way street speed is likely to increase, so an extra buffer between the traffic lane and the cycle path would be welcomed in safety and feel of safety.
- The cycle path on the previous section is narrow for a city centre route, allowing slightly extra space here would allow for overtaking of people cycling slowly.
If the city centre study plan is to go ahead with no private cars on Bachelor’s Walk, what’s the point in having extra capacity for cars when the roads ahead and behind this section can’t handle the traffic volumes? Allowing people to speed in their cars for a few seconds?
Here’s some alternatives we are suggesting, with slight differences — benches could also fit between the trees:
The above are just an example of alternatives — others are possible.
The above junction between Inns Quay, Ormond Quay, O’Donovan Rossa Bridge and Chancery Place — this is poor for pedestrians. Signalised crossings are only provided at two of the four legs of the junction, which is against guidance. There is a small improvement to the building-side, non-signalised crossing point because a raised area is added at the crossing point, but this still does not protect pedestrians as much as their own green light would.
In the mid to longer term, a contra-flow cycling route should be provided on Chancery Place and across O’Donovan Rossa Bridge.
If the number of traffic lanes is kept the same it’s unclear how people cycling in both directions could safely cross a bus lane and two traffic lanes to join or leave the cycle route.
We understand that a turning lane may be desirable ahead of Grattan Bridge which crosses over to Parliament Street. However, with lower levels of car traffic with the city centre study, the turning lane could be restricted to the distance between Aaran Street East and the bridge.
This is the junction of Grattan Bridge and Capel Street (Street View). The current 30km/h zone starts here.
This section allows for fairly reasonable space for all users (even if the cycling width is lower than idea of closer to 4m).
With the City Centre Transport Study planning to stop general traffic from using Bachelor’s Walk, it might be best to divert any traffic on the quays at this point up Jervis Street. Local access further on the quays could be allowed by rearranging back streets. If most of the traffic is not diverted at Jervis Street, it’s unclear where it would be diverted before Bachelor’s Walk and there’s advantages to diverting it at Jervis…
There are no dimensions given but the above two images of the junction with the Ha’penney Bridge shows the cycle path narrowing a lot here. This junction would work a lot better if the traffic lane was excluded and the space transferred to a mix of the cycle path and the busy quay-side footpath.
If motorised traffic was just down to the bus lane, it may be possible to replace the pedestrian crossing with a zebra crossing, but the flow of buses and people crossing my he bridge may be too high. If a zebra was considered, a waiting space would be needed between the cycle path and bus lane.
Along this section there is potential for the cycle path to be widened to 4m, taking a small bit of space from the buffer would be worth it. The two lanes here would have to be retained to allow buses to overtake each other and could also allow for loading etc.
This is an overview of O’Connell Bridge. Yes, yellow bit is a taxi rank inside the cycle lane on the bridge…
This is the junction of O’Connell Street and Bridge with the quays. The northbound Luas Cross City tram tracks (under construction) are shown as orange lines.
This is what was included in the Liffey Cycle Route plans for the south end of O’Connell Bridge — we won’t comment much on it as it is likely superseded by the yet-to-be released City Centre Study details.
The one thing we would stress is that a taxi rank should not be provided on the bridge (dark yellow) — that is valuable space which should be given to pedestrians on one of the busiest footpaths in the country. And having a taxi rank inside a cycle lane is asking for trouble.
Above is Eden Quay at the Rosie Hackett Bridge. The planned contra-flow cycle lane (left as hatching) on Rosie Hackett Bridge should be installed as part of the Liffey Cycle route to give better access onto the route from the southside.
One traffic lane should be removed along all of Eden Quay for a mix of more greenery and island bus stops along the contra-flow bus lane.
The above images is of the junction to the west of Custom House — the bridge here is the link from Tara Street (a four-lane one way street).
The above shows part of the route outside of the Custom House.
There was a Dublin City Council plan to remove traffic from here, and hopefully the city will re-look at that in light of the planned lower levels of traffic for the quays and the city centre in general.
The above two images are of the junction between the Custom House and the IFSC. If you look at Street View, you’ll see that this is a large space and there is no need for shared walking and cycling footpaths here (shown in blue).
The Dutch manage to merged two-way cycle paths in more confined space. Our design of shared footpaths benefits nobody, impacts on the freedom of people who are blind and visually impaired, and disliked by many who walk and cycle.
Walking and cycling deserve their own space and there is no reason why it can’t be done in this space — if councillors approve this kind of detail they can never seriously claim to care about stopping footpath cycling.
This is the first section of the route in the Docklands (with the IFSC partly shown), and this is where part 4 will start…
Once the other parts of this mini-series are published, the articles will be linked together. We will also be publishing a short summary of the issues in the future. Read all sections of a detailed look at the concept of the Liffey Cycle Route: