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Dublin Bay cycle route, Merrion Gates level crossing removal, road upgrade bundled together

Public consultation has started on a major bundling of three projects in Dublin — a section of the Dublin Bay S2S cycle route, the removal of the Merrion Gates railway level crossing, and a cycling and bus upgrade of Merrion Road and Rock Road corridor.

The Sutton to Sandycove (S2S) section included in the project is from Sandymount to Seapoint. But for environmental reasons it will be brought inland between the Merrion Gates level crossing — which is to be converted into an underpass for walking and cycling — and Seapoint. It looks like it will be the first major section of southside of the S2S to reach the planning stage. 

The National Transport Authority (NTA) estimates the cost of the “coastal scheme, inclusive of the new road link [bridge] bypassing Merrion Gates,” is in the range €22 million to €26 million and the estimated cost of the Rock Road / Merrion Road scheme is in the range €18 million to €22 million.

IMAGE: An overview of the project -- image by IrishCycle.,com
IMAGE: An overview of the project — image by
The NTA said that the bundled project looks to address the “acute transport needs along the Sandymount/ Merrion – Blackrock corridor”. It said that its emerging preferred scheme “seeks to provide a comprehensive solution to a complex set of transport needs, in a way that will deliver real benefits to bus and rail passengers, cyclists, pedestrians, and all road users.”

IMAGE: A slip road junction is retained at the Merrion Road / Ailesbury Road junction as part of the scheme.
But just weeks after An Bord Pleanála rejected a scheme in Galway for not complying with national guidance the detail of the scheme presented for public consultation by the NTA yesterday includes a section of 1.5 metre cycle lane when the NTA’s own guidance states cycle lanes should be 1.75 meters wide. It also includes elements such as a slip turn and staggered pedestrian crossings which are not recommended by the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets.

The NTA said the project would need an Environmental Impact Statement and would likely have to be presented to An Bord Pleanála.

A six week public consultation is open at until Friday December 16, 2016.

The NTA said that the benefits of the project include:

  • It would provide a high quality continuous pedestrian and cycle route extending from Irishtown to Seapoint, achieving the elements of the long-held objective to provide an recreational promenade and cycleway from Sutton on the north side of Dublin to
    Sandycove on the south side;
  • It would resolve a major safety risk through the closure of the Merrion Gates level crossing, removing the road and rail conflicts and eliminating a problematic road junction;
  • Through the provision of the new road link connecting Strand Road and Merrion Road and the closure of the Merrion Gates level crossing, it would address the traffic delay issues arising from increasing train frequencies and longer road closure periods at Merrion Gates junction;
  • It would deliver safe segregated cycle facilities along the busy Rock Road / Merrion Road;
  • It would provide fast and reliable bus movement in both directions along the sections of Rock Road and Merrion Road within the scheme ambit; and
  • It would deliver a fully renewed road corridor along Merrion Road / Rock Road, with new road surfacing, lane markings, footpaths, pedestrian crossings and signage, benefiting all road users including car traffic.

According to detailed drawing on the NTA’s website, the included section of the S2S cycle route would start south of the Irish Glass Bottle site and run along the coast up to Merrion Gates. At the railway where it would go under the railway and then run as a two-way segregated path along Rock Road up to Blackrock Park.

It would then continue in the park, with upgraded paths and removal of the pinch point at Blackrock Dart station. In would run on quiet local roads in Blackrock before joining Seapoint Avenue. Most of Seapoint Avenue could be made one-way to provide two-way cycling:

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