COMMENT & ANALYSES: Local councillor Nial Ring (independent) said last week on Facebook (and similar things in news article afterwards) that “Dublin City Council is proposing to remove/destroy 62 trees from Fairview to facilitate a new cycle path”, but is this true? It’s a bit more complicated.
It involves a cycle route, but it also involves competing interests and desires. The destruction of the trees is not required for the cycle route and a better, safer, and more attractive cycle route than the one planned can be built without knocking down the trees.
The competing interests are wide-ranging. They include councilors and others who don’t want to see traffic lanes reduced, and those who think traffic lanes should be taken out before trees are cut down.
Other interests include the National Transport Authority and one of its planned bus route upgrades (to so-called BRT standard). And there’s the council officials who want an “esplanade” — translation: a shared walking and cycle path with fancy paving running along a redefined edge of Fairview park.
Then there’s the planned cycle route. Despite planning on holding Velo City in 2019, an international cycling conference, with the tagline “cycling for the ages”, the council are set against proper, Dutch-like segregated cycle paths suitable for all ages and abilities.
Strangely, when other locals are already mounting such a campaign against the trees being cut, Cllr Ring has told dublinlive.ie that “Basically myself, Christy Burke and Damien O’Farrell are going to organise a major campaign.” The trees are just the latest thing Cllr Ring is using to fight against the cycle route, but the cycle route could be a lot better without cutting down the trees.
There’s loads of space inside the tree line for separation of cycling and walking (see images) — and this is much the same for nearly all of the length of the park. Most of the current shared surface of the footpath / one-way cycle path between the trees and the roadway can be greened, with space left for bus stops and cycling and walking crossings.
Dublin needs a high-quality cycle route and this can be provided without cutting down the trees. The current plan from the council is too low grade and does not provide for “cycling for the ages”.
At public consultation for the project a two-way cycle path was also the main preference of individuals, businesses, councillors and cycling groups. It’s not only practical, it has support.
Space inside the tree line:
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There’s only a small section where anywhere near major clearance is needed and that clearance is mostly of overgrown bushes:
The images below show an outline concept — note: this will work with or without changing the current roadway (for a BRT route or whatever). And also note that this is a concept, while it will fit, the measurements here aren’t supposed to directly relate to any one section (the widths vary).
[images made with streetsketch.mobycon.nl, switched to English]
And a version with the cycle path split by the tree line:
Real-world examples of concept elements:
Two-way cycle path split by a line of trees — this example is in central Amsterdam where the two-way cycle path runs along one side of a busy road, much the same as Fairview:
The buffer between the cycle path and the roadway allows space for cycling turning movements — woman in red and black to the right of the image below is waiting for a traffic light. The buffer space allows her to do it without getting in the way of the cycle path flow:
Two-way cycle path with buffer enables children of difference ages to cycle, examples from Leiden:
A family / families of tourists cycling on a two-way cycle path near Wassenaar:
Island bus stop (or “bus stop bypass” arrangement) between cycle path and bus lane in central Utrecht on busiest cycle route in the Netherlands and high-frequency bus street:
Island bus stop (or “bus stop bypass” arrangement) between cycle path and bus lane in Leiden:
Two-way cycle paths with green buffers including trees in Utrecht:
Two-way cycle path at signalised junction:
Low-level shrubs / bushes between cycle path and roadway, both images from Amsterdam:
Green buffer between two-way cycle path and road in suburban Amsterdam:
Clear visual priority given to cycle path when it crosses side street:
*concept examples ends*