College Green to include a cycle path… But will it be any good?

COMMENT & ANALYSIS: On Monday afternoon Dublin City Council revealed artist’s impression images showing how the planned College Green plaza will look — the good news is that a cycle path is included. 

However, when commenting online, some people said they couldn’t see the cycle route in the images. That’s understandable given the many shades of grey in the images, and how the cycle path is generally ill-defined.'s reader-funded journalism won't survive without your help. With over 762,000 views so-far this year, it's not just "avid cyclists" who read this website, but, if you want it to keep going, more support is needed from readers like you. Now, back to the article...

In the image below is an overview of the layout of the plaza and the surrounding area — of note here is that a bit under half the fancy paving will include buses from Dame Street before they use the circular area to turn back to Dame Street (see the third image below).

Now, here is the same image, but this time we’ve added in highlighting for the two-way cycle route (red) and the main uncontrolled pedestrian crossing (blue):

Here’s an older image from before the plaza was design, showing the bus and tram flows:


The next image below is looking towards Dame Street: in it, you should be able to see people on bicycles — that mid-grey strip they are cycling on is the ill-defined cycle path:


Here it is with the same highlighting colours as before:

And here’s another view from above, followed by the same image with the cycle route highlighted again:

And a closeup taken from the same image (with our highlighting added in again): The concept here of having a bend in the cycle route where it crosses the main pedestrian flow is a solid concept (to slow bicycles) but the angle of the cycle route is way too tight:

Given these are imperfect artist’s impressions, we not going to dwell too much on the detail until the full drawings are released later this month.

But a few questions spring to mind about the cycle route:

  • Will there be clear enough segregation between walking and cycling?
  • How will cycling and buses interact around the turning circle area?
  • Will the pedestrian crossing points work?
  • Will the cycle route be of a high standard on Dame Street and Westmorland Street / College Gtreet?
  • What about cycling to/from Grafton Street? (the non-pedestrianised bit, starting at the bottom of the last image)
  • Church Lane will be retained as one way in its current direction, but why won’t it include contra-flow for cycling?

We’ll awate the detailed drawings before attempting to answer those questions.


  1. The people who designed this clearly don’t cycle. The angle is far too acute. It’s ridiculous.

    FFS, it’s exasperating to see things like this happen. That sort of angle will cause major bottle-necking of cyclists at that point. The cyclists need to be kept flowing reasonably smoothly and that can’t happen at that point due to the accordion effect. That angle is actually a majorly inefficient use of space.

    And to make matters worse, it occurs right where the pedestrians are crossing. I’m going to guess this was done deliberately in an attempt to ‘slow down’ cyclists. But what I think will happen is that it will instead cause bunching of people on bikes, and frustration for both pedestrians and people on bikes.

    I’m glad they’ve included a cycle track, but for the love of Odin, before this is finalised, please have someone from the NL with experience of bike flows and pedestrians crossing to look at that point.

  2. I dont know how this will work out, there is a conflict between Cyclists and Pedestrians on that Blue space. People crossing from Trinity College side meeting Cyclists and Pedestrians on that blue patch. Also will you be able to Cycle up Lwr Grafton St and Nassau St, also preferably two way.I have a sneaking suspicion they are going to ban Cyclists Pedalling up Lwr Grafton St Nassau St.

    I do not think there is space for all three ,Buses, Luas, Taxis, on Lwr Grafton and Nassau St. Because of length of Luas and the curve of Tram Tracks it is going to cause problems for Buses and Taxis competing against each other and also the Luas can not stop immediately if something gets in front of it.

  3. The design generally of cycle infrastructure is for the 2015 level of cycling. The numbers of people riding bikes is clearly going to rise exponentially in the coming 10 years; it’s a pity the designers aren’t taking this into account.
    An unsafe sharp bend like this is simply going to be ignored by people using it, who will use a gentler curve – better to design this in now, rather than have a world of irritation for everyone walking or riding on the new street.

  4. What happened with the councillors who wanted this to be a “cycle-dismounted route”. As I said before I don’t really mind if you can’t cycle across this (provided you can follow College Green if you want, or alternatively walk) but I don’t want the council calling this a cycle route, or directing cyclists in this direction, if you have to walk.

    As far as the sharp corner I can see the benefit of forcing cyclists to slow down before they enter an area that while it may technically be a cycle only lane will absolutely have pedestrians all over it. However if they want to do this they need to block the direct line, otherwise people will just ignore the painted lane and cut the corner. To the detriment of pedestrians who are doing nothing wrong and causing much crying and gnashing of teeth about how lawless cyclists are. I think a clearly marked curve would be better than a sharp corner and this should slow cyclists down enough. Marking a sharp corner and leaving the more desirable line open is just asking for people to ignore the official path.

    On the subject of marking the line, wtf is up with all the grey. How on earth are people supposed to know this is a cycle lane if it is the same colour as the path. It is hard enough to get people to realise what is and isn’t a cycle path when they are red. Everyone is absolutely going to assume this whole space is shared use if the colours are not better used.

    Off the subject of cycling, I was a little disappointed to find out that the circle near where the wax museum is is to be a bus turning area. I could see people sitting outside the side of the old parliament building, where the taxis currently park, sipping coffees and this picture is somewhat marred by having a constant stream of busses spewing diesel pollution and noise going by. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be an alternative and at some point all those busses will be electric and most of the problem disappears.

  5. I agree with Eric above, and when I wrote my comment about the sharp bend, I also meant that it’s futile to put it there and apparently leave a route open for people on bikes to cut across the shorter option. This WILL happen if available and everyone will be annoyed. If the sharp bend is to stay then the short-cut has to be blocked off.

    Preferably a curve instead of a sharp bend is introduced.

    And as also mentioned above, there is very likely to be an increase in cycling numbers. The proposed cycle-lane doesn’t look fit to accommodate such increased numbers.

    And what’s the story with access to Grafton St? Will cyclists be able to carry on southwards towards Grafton St and around to Nassau St? That’s not clear on the images.

  6. There’s at least one private residence on Grafton st lower, I can’t see how cycling could be banned, but driving is ok for this house.
    Unless cyclists are physically prevented cycling on grafton st, they will. Given the alternative routes(townsend st, Westland row, Merrion square, St Stephen’s green OR Georges st, Aunngier st, Cuffee st St Stephen’s green)

    Not having a clearly defined contrasting colour between the path and road lead to the death of at least one woman on O’Connell st, who stepped in front of a bus as she didn’t realise the path ended and roadway started. I doubt any engineer would want to repeat this unsafe design here.

  7. I’ve seen another image that indicates cyclists are to cross over to the north (aka ‘wrong’) side of Dame Street at the bus turning circle to join a two way cycle lane on that side of the road. This does make the detour to cross the plaza on the south side only to cross back to the north side immediately after look like quite a bizarre decision. Perhaps someone is working on some Strava art.

    Hopefully this isn’t true. I don’t think there’s any need for a two way cycle lane on Dame Street and I don’t want to be on the ‘wrong’ side of the road unless there is a very good reason. If there does have to be a two way cycle lane (why?) then it seems better to put it on the south side because that’s where the Dublin Bike stands at Dublin Castle are and it eliminates the farcical situation where cyclists to around three sides of the plaza instead of just one.

    • To my knowledge (and I think some of the images show) cyclists will be on both sides of the street with flow west of the bus turning circle. A two-way cycle path on Dame Street would only make sense if it continued a long way (ie to Christchurch or down George’s Street to Wexford Street).

  8. Is Sth Gt Georges st to be made car free too? Little need for cars to use ist for through journeys when they can be diverted away. Of course there would need to be some kind of master plan rather than the existing adhoc stuff going on in the Thruppenny bits

  9. I haven’t taken notice before, but is the cycle track really going to be grey? Gawd that’s dull, and also not contrasted with the rest of the plaza which would make natural segregation from pedestrians a mess; especially people new to the area and unaware that there’s supposed to be a track there.

    I like colors, so how about the cycle-track is multi-colored? Lots of colors. It would then be easily demarcated and add a bit of visual fun to the floor of the plaza. Far too much drab grey going on in the plans. Brightly colored paving anyone?

    I had a quick search online, and there don’t seem to be any specific examples so how about Dublin creates something interesting.

    As a suggestion how about hexagonal tiles (ones with a face suitable for cycling on). Each tile could be made up of a range of bright colors and different patterns could be embedded in the track.

    Just thinking out-loud here to try and think of ways to make the track something for everyone to appreciate, even if not cycling on it.

  10. We always think of these situations in 2D, why not create an underpass for the bike lane or pedestrians?
    These are common in many other cities and would remove the potential for clashes and keep both streams of traffic flowing!


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