What to do with a problem like cycling in Rathmines?

COMMENT & ANALYSIS: Use of space on streets is a political, not an engineering question. Dublin might not be ready for the suggestions within this article, but maybe it’s time to start talking about it? Even if it is maybe years away.


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Things are changing fast. For example, in the continuous urban area of Dublin, more residents now commute by bicycle than those who commute by Luas, Dart and Commuter rail.

Buses carry more people overall but around Rathmines this is universally not the case — more commuters who live off the Rathmines Road, Rathgar Road, Harold’s Cross Road, Ranelagh Road, and Sandyford Road roues use their bicycles than get a bus. The buses also carry people from further out, and that’s important, but more and more people from those areas are also cycling.

But while the area has relatively high numbers of people cycling conditions remain poor and this is a blocker to more people cycling — especially cycling for all ages and abilities. Enabling everyone from children to older people and everyone inbetween to feel safe cycling in their community shouldn’t be just a dream.

Currently northbound (towards the city centre) cycling is mixed with buses in a bus lane and, southbound, the cycle lanes aren’t segregated and are shared with buses trying to pull into bus stops. Speeding can be an issue off peak.

Rathmines is also plagued by illegal fly parking. Weekends and evenings can be far worse — with the bus lane and cycle lanes out of hours and then legally used for parking. These problems persist even when parking off-street and on side-streets is only half full.

Rathmines Road has a typical width of at least 16 metres (shown in pink below) to 17 metres (yellow below). There’s also shorter sections of 18 metres (blue below) and even shorter sections of 20 metres or more (green below).

Here’s an idea of what you could do with such widths:

16 metres:

What about buses? There was the idea of implementing a bus gate at Castlewood Avenue — rehashing that idea or a version of it could solve the issue.

The bus gate could operate peak times and in peak directions only — this would give higher priority to buses than is currently given by broken bus lanes in one direction only and often abused.

These is room for bus stops too. This is 16 metres with staggered bus stops:

And examples of what can be done with 18 metres:

There’s a lot of sections of 17 metres too, so, here’s some examples:

A problem like Rathmines isn’t going to be an easy one to solve. But it’s worth starting to talk about it — not just for cycling or “cyclists” but for a more vibrant, greener and more livable Rathmines.

IMAGES: Made with streetsketch.mobycon.nl.

NOTE: This article was originally published before it was fully finished, it was soon fixed.

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  1. Sorry if I’ve misunderstood, but are you suggesting making Rathmines one way for cars and buses? The images you show for the 16m section seems to only leave room for a single car and bus lane, so where would opposing traffic go?

    • I’m suggesting peek time, peek direction bus gates.

      City to suburb traffic would reduce in line with reductions already taking place and less and less space for cars in the city centre. Local traffic would still have access.

  2. Rathmines isn’t near my usual commute, but being there yesterday (3 Aug 2017) with the IBike rally, I was astounded by the amount of people on bikes.

    I was also really struck by how little space is given over to pedestrians. There were crowds of people walking to and fro on a crappy small pavement. The footpaths definitely need to be widened. Space given over to private cars definitely needs to be restricted.

  3. There is always a problem with Bus stops getting in the way of Cyclists either forcing them to wait behind Buses or else overtaking the Bus which can be dangerous. So there are stretches on Rathmines Road that are wider, this is where the Bus stops should be. Cyclists should be able to go behind the Bus Shelters and then back onto the Cycle Lane again giving Cyclists Parity at all times, this is the way I prefer things.

    At the moment there are lots of areas in the City that this can be done but through Laziness this has not happened. You have extremely wide Paths and a Bus Shelter right beside the Kerb. There is a Cycle Lane that abruptly comes to a halt then a stop for a Bus forcing Cyclists to stop and try to overtake the Parked Bus. Obviously there is enough room for the Cycle Lane to cut behind the Shelter but this has not happened. This is happening everywhere in Dublin and everywhere.

    Because of increased Cycling they the Road planners will have to use best practice Cycle infrastructure instead of trying to fob Cyclists off with shoddy Cycle Lanes like they have been doing. No doubt there are lots and lots of minor accidents involving Motorists ,Buses, And Cyclists that you never hear about because they were non fatal or serious just scrapes and bruises. Vehicles passing to near Cyclists and bumping off them mainly at rush hour. So we need greater segregation to feel safer. Dont forget those opening Car Doors too.

  4. You are right – it is years away. I think that the discussion should begin with a consideration of green field development adjoining a main road and what the provision for cyclists should be.


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