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.
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:
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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.