— Bicycle users to be exposed at bus U-turning point.
— Broken-lined cycle lanes to be flanked by taxi ranks on Dame Street.
— Cycle route to share stone colour and pattern as plaza.
— Bank of Ireland to keep access via plaza to its public car park.
Dublin City Council is planning a cycle route only defined by miniature bicycle logos at the south side of its planned College Green Plaza, while bus stops will interrupt cycle lanes flanked by taxi ranks on Dame Street.
Yesterday the council submitted plans to An Bord Pleanála as part of an Environmental Impact Statement for the project. An Bord Pleanála can approve the plans with or without conditions or fully reject them.
The council’s report on transport states that “The proposals include a dedicated two-way cycle track on the eastern and southern sides of the plaza” but there is no defined cycle track shown in planning drawings of that area, only a cycle route across an areas of the same surface design and colour as the plaza. The cycle route will be set between a lines of trees and a footpath south of the plaza.
All ages promise
Despite the Dublin City Development plan looking for “facilities that are relevant and accessible to people of all ages and abilities” the city council is planning non-segregated cycle lanes on Dame Street and a cycle route exposed to buses doing U-turns at the western edge of the proposed plaza.
The council’s report on traffic states: “There are approximately 6,500 cyclists currently passing through College Green on a daily basis, who will benefit greatly from the Proposed Project. Cyclists currently share the road through College Green with large volumes of cars and buses that pass through College Green with no dedicated facilities provided.”
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It adds: “The Proposed Project includes proposals for a two-way cycle track along the eastern and southern sides of the proposed plaza. This will connect in future to improved cycle facilities on Dame Street and Westmoreland Street providing a cohesive cycle route through the city centre. The Proposed Project will therefore greatly improve the quality of service and safety of cyclists passing through College Green.”
Environmental Impact Statement outlines that: “The cycling provision in the Dame Street to South Great George’s Street area will likely change in the future with the completion of the Greater Dublin Area cycle network and in particular the Clonskeagh to City Centre cycle project.” The Clonskeagh project was suspended as part of cutbacks and it is unclear when planning for it will be reactivated or when it will have a construction budget.
While the council claims that the design on Dame Street amounts to “minor works”, the drawings show some large footpath realignment and a allocation of significance space to taxi ranks and a turn lanes for general traffic.
Contra-flow on side streets
Another development plan promise is contra-flow cycle routes, but no contra-flow access is planned on side streets north or south off Dame Street. Instead loading bay / taxi ranks will also cover many of these streets.
The development plan states: “In accordance with cycle routes identified in the National Transport Authority’s Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network Plan: (i) To improve permeability for cyclists by … allowing contraflow cycling on all single lane one way streets, and to provide a segregated contraflow cycle lane on all one way streets with two or more lanes, except where engineering report demonstrates risk is too high.”
Church Lane, on the south side of Dame Street, is part of the Primary Route 11 to Ranelagh in the Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network Plan. Not only is there no contra-flow on Church Lane, but there also appears to be no route for people cycling from Church Lanes and wanting to turn left into the two-way cycle route at the edge of the plaza.
The council has abandoned its original plans to have Parliament Street open to two-way bus traffic, but the street is now planned to be “restricted to public transport only from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday”, in its current southbound flow. This will mean longer re-routing of northbound buses which currently use Dame Street to cross the city.
The city council has outlined in recent studies how there is a major shortage of bicycle parking in the city centre, in the plan, however, the plaza project only includes an increase of 6 extra bicycle spaces, a total of 32 cycle parking spaces in the plaza area.
At the construction phase, the plan states: “Vehicles (other than bicycles) will be excluded from east-west transit through College Green at the beginning of the construction stage and will not return after construction is finished.” It states that “a minimum 20m wide pedestrian / cycle zone will be maintained”.
According to Dublin City Council: “Submissions and observations may be made in writing to An Bord Pleanála at 64 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1 on or before 5:30 pm on the 30th June 2017” accompanied by a fee of €50.
The following are the crops of the drawings and images released as part of the planning process:
In this area the cycle route will run with-flow on both sides of the roadway (with the same paving as the plaza). The cycle routes are marked between the new lines of trees and the footpaths, while buses, taxis and local access will run between the two lines of tress before making a U-turn to Dame Street on the circle:
Bicycle racks can be seen here between two trees:
The area where the woman with a bag is cycling in the below photomontage is between the footpath and the trees:
The dots (shown in light pink) will have bicycle logos and directional arrows:
In this area the cycle route will run as a two-way route between the trees and the footpath:
The two-way cycle route will run between the woman in the blue skirt and the man in the red jacket as shown in this photomontage:
The cycle route will follow the dots again here and go from the modern stone plaza area (left) across newly laid historic stone footpath stone and then turn onto a more defined cycle path (grey shaded area) which will run along side the Luas tracks: