It is fantastic that Dublin City Council and the National Transport Authority have improved the plans for a College Green Plaza and have decided to provide a segregated two-way cycle path on part of College Green, but it’s clear from the drawings provided that the provision for cycling overall is lacking or extremely vague.
The Dublin Cycling Campaign has urged its members to follow its position, which is to “fully support the plans for the proposed College Green Plaza” and to “reserve the right to comment on the final detailed plans” — this is a mistake.
Transport companies, taxi drivers, retailers, hotels, and many others are pushing for their needs and wants — they are lobbying the council, as well as their representative bodies, TDs and councillors. So, cycling advocates stepping aside now and reserving the right to comment at an undefined later stage is a route to having cycling as an afterthought. If you want safer and attractive cycling in our capital, demand better now!
Dublin City Council is running public consultation and you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org but you must do so before or on Tuesday May 24, 2016.
Segregated and safe
Tell the council in your own words why you think this is the time to get the detail for cycling right. Use your own words to make it clear that you want any of the following which you agree with:
- Dutch-style and quality kerb-segregated cycle paths on main streets and at junctions — recent examples have shown it’s possible in London and in North America, so why not Dublin?
- A segregated cycle path east-west at one side of the College Green Plaza, not shared space or just paint, and segregated cycle paths on all of Dame Street from City Hall to College Green.
- Contra-flow cycling provisions on the streets south of Dame Street (ie Andrew’s St, Trinity St, Church Lane, Stephen Street Lower etc)
- One-way or two-way segregated cycle paths on Westmoreland Street, D’Olier Street, South Great Georges Street, Suffolk St, and on College Street (between College Green and Pearse Street Garda Station)
- Investment in bicycle parking, both convenient on-street and longer-term secure parking.
Tell the world — not just the city council
It would be a good idea to contact:
- Dublin City Council: Make sure to email the official public consultation address — email@example.com — or the only other valid consultation contact is postal address outlined at dublincity.ie/college-green.
- Dublin Cycling Campaign: Via their contact page, or tell them via their Facebook or Twitter pages — make it clear that you want cycling provision done properly now and that support for this scheme should be conditional on commitments on the details for cycling right now.
- Local councillors: The list of Dublin City councillors is here on dublincity.ie — if you don’t live in the Dublin City Council area, email the councillors in the areas where you work or visit in the city.
- Your TDs — even if your TDs are not local to the Dublin City area, tell them you support this project and say how important it is to you that the project provides safe cycling. You can find your TD by using whoismytd.com.
You might also want to suggest that your cycling-minded friends and workmates do the same — send them a link to this page.
Be ready for replies in advance
“This project needs support now, you could be putting the project at risk”
Our reply: If the council have the intent that they will provide better cycling projects, there is no harm in them getting those details correct now. There’s nothing about looking for safe and attractive cycling for all which should put the plaza at risk.
“The detailed design of the plaza is phase 2”
Our reply: Bus stops, loading, and taxi ranks are now being decided or already have been decided
“Segregation is a bad idea across the plaza”
Our reply: Having a clearly defined cycle path across the plaza is better for all users of the plaza — the alternative of using shared space where cyclists are going in all different directions across the plaza will not be pleasurable or relaxing for other users, especially children, people who are blind or have other sight issues, people who are deaf and those who can’t react quickly for other reasons. Sharing on such plazas might work in some locations but not where there is a high level of walking and cycling flows in a busy area in a city the size of Dublin.
“The streets are too narrow”
Our reply: That’s a question of political priority, it’s not really a space or engineering problem. The streets where segregation is needed around the plaza are some of the widest streets in the city, there are very few exceptions to this (ie between Suffolk St and Dawson St where there will need to be sharing on tram tracks).
“There’s not enough space for bus stops and segregated cycle paths”
Our reply: There is on Dame Street, Westmoreland Street, D’Olier Street etc. In the case of Dame Street, bus stops will have to be positioned in a staggered way to allow space for bus stops and cycle paths — but it is possible.
“Too few people cycle for cycling to get so much”
Our reply: Is not an argument on why cycling should be kept separate from buses or away from pedestrians, but even if it was, cycling is booming and already represents a high amount of road use in this area. For example, cycling accounts for 27% of traffic at the Dame St / Georges St junction, there’s something around 12,000 DublinBikes trips daily in the city centre, and over 10,000 cyclists cross over the canals into the city centre daily. And the city wants more cycling, not less (it’s not Ryanair).
“There’ll be too many tourists around for a segregated cycle path”
Our reply: There’s cycle paths outside the central station and in the museum district in Amsterdam — they even have a cycle path under the Rijksmuseum.
Good post, and well done Cian for continuing to fight the good fight. I agree that we need to make our voices heard. The north quays cycling project has been rerouted as a result of intense negative lobbying orchestrated by vested interests, and who’s to say that modified plan won’t also be quietly dropped or altered a few months down the line. That is how these things tend to work in this country. Great plans; crappy outcomes.
This College Green plan, like so many others, could easily fall prey to the same highly organized group of individuals and businesses that are intent on stopping any development that they see as any threat whatsoever to their interests. We need to help make sure it goes ahead, and that cycling is an important component in the project. Asking for good cycling facilities as part of a project that we fully support should not undermine the chances of the project being implemented; that is a red herring.
The problem is that the majority of people that would benefit from and support these kinds of projects are not motivated enough to actually get involved in making sure they happen.
This country will change and we will move towards a better way of doing things, but we are only at the very start of the process and it needs all the support it can get.
Thanks for this post Cian.
Great post, Cian — many thanks, and submission made along the lines you suggest.
At the risk of going off-topic, I think the “bus turnaround” should also be considered. It takes away a vast amount of space from pedestrians and cyclists.
The bus turnaround would be just to the west of College Green. It’s to allow buses to come down Trinity St and turn right towards the Green, where they’ll turn around and wait to start their return journey. But why do buses need to have their terminus in the centre of Dublin? They should go straight through the city, picking up or dropping people off where they wish.
To give over so much of the new public space — from the map that DCC provides, it looks like almost as much as the whole of College Green — to this unnecessary “bus turnaround” would be an egregious waste of space. The pedestrian space should be extended as far as possible towards City Hall; eventually, if we had a proper integrated transport system the Luas could carry all city-centre traffic and we could have a pedestrian zone all the way to Christ Church. Anyway, for now the buses don’t need to make an east-west turn here. They should continue on a north-south route over Parliament Street or parallel, and passengers wishing to move to an east-west orientation should change route before this point.