One of Dublin’s most used cycle lanes has been widened… and turned into a bus lane. The changes were made to speed up buses, Dublin City Council has said.
The section of cycle lane is on South Richmond Street — located in Portobello, between the city centre and Rathmines. In the last few years the street was the busiest crossing point into the city centre for commuter cyclists in the canal traffic counts, and Rathmines is has the highest modal share of cycling commuters in Dublin (12.25% in the 2011 Census).
The street used to have a solid-lined cycle lane and genral traffic lane northbound towards the city centre, and a traffic lane and bus lane southbound towards Rathmines. Now the northbound cycle lane is replaced with a bus lane, while the southbound bus lane is replaced with a broken-lined cycle lane — ie a cycle lane which motorists can drive on and more freely park on, depending on other signage.
A spokesman for Dublin City Council said: “The Environment & Transportation Department carries out ongoing bus performance monitoring on the city’s quality bus corridors (QBCs). An analysis of the Rathfarham QBC identified that significant bus delays were being experienced by inbound buses during the morning peak. This delay was observed to be occurring between Richmond Row and Harrington Street in the southbound direction.”
He added: “A review of the road segment was carried out and recommended the swapping of cycle lanes and bus lanes over that segment. The northbound cycle track was replaced by a northbound cycle lane, while the southbound bus lane was replaced with a southbound cycle lane. These changes were made on Sunday 12th July 2016. The changes have resulted in significant improvement in travel times in the area.”
Cllr Paddy Smyth (FG) said the cycle lane was “A disappointing development” and he said he would submit a motion looking to have a 24 hour cycle lane in the bus lane. The bus lane has since been changed to have operating hours 24 hours — which was the case of the bicycle lane before hand, although it was prone to car parking in the evening.
Cllr Patrick Costello (Green Party) said: “I have written to the [city council] traffic section in relation to this, to find out why this was done in the first place and will seek to have the cycle lane restored. It’s a small tight piece of road that’s not the best as a cyclist so removal of the lane isn’t doing anyone any favours.”
A number of users of the street took to Twitter to give out. One Twitter user, @freedom_cycler, tweeted: “Portobello has gone from cycle lane to bus lane. Very negative move re: commuting through Rathmines.”
Ciarán Ferrie tweeted: “Last week the cycle lane at the Portobello end of South Richmond Street was widened to accommodate buses… This week motorists are using the cycle lane at the Camden Street end as a left turn filter lane. Coincidence?”
Other tweets complained that the lane was now used for trucks unloading, while previously the lane was not wide enough for this.
MAIN IMAGE: thanks to @freedom_cycler