Dublin City’s on-street testing lab to trial protected cycle lanes

Types of physically protected cycle lanes, making part-time cycle lanes 24 hour, and designing advanced stop boxes more clearly are some of the ideas which Dublin City Council are looking at testing as part of their on-street testing lab.

The suggestions from a mix of the public, councillors and council staff have come out of the council’s Beta Project programme, best known for enabling local artists to use traffic light control cabinets as their canvases.

The Beta team have said that they will also be looking at trialing on-street bicycle lockups, called bicycle hangers, for a second time to gather more information on how these could be rolled out successfully. The hangers are used widely in the Netherlands and have been increasingly used in London in areas where residents don’t have access to secure parking.

As this website previously reported, Beta Project was rebooted last year with a team and dedicated funding to progress projects to live testing.

While not all of the suggestions will make it to be trialed, in a public call for suggestions the concept which scored the highest was trialing different types of physically protected cycle lanes.

Only flexible bollards have been used in Dublin to protect cycle lanes, leaving a range of other quickly-installed methods to be tested such as concrete kerbs bolted into the road, flower planter pots, and plastic humps called “armadillos”.

The project team are looking to “Prototype solutions that can be tested quickly, followed up by more permanent solutions, and used to develop a minimum grid [of protected cycle lanes] as rapidly as possible.”

Protected cycling routes were suggested by multiple members of the public. One of the them said:”On-road cycle lanes, including mandatory cycle lanes, are regularly obstructed by people parking, encroaching or driving with their cars in the lanes. This places people (children and adults) who use the cycle lanes (on bicycles and in wheelchairs) in danger.”

Shane Waring, coordinator of the Dublin city council Beta Project, said that the team are “constantly open to suggestions from anyone”

The current shortlist has seven “strategic” suggestions and seven “quick trickle” ones, Mr Waring said that the list should be updated every three months. Suggestions not started on will happen after three months, unless there’s new ideas which score a higher priority.

He said his team hope get through 2-4 projects of both types every three months — although some concepts “might require 2 years in order to learn what it needs to learn”. Going through the process a few times will give them a better idea of how many ideas can be progressed at one time, said Mr Waring.

The Beta Project will also involve continuous reviewing of work where needed — he said an example of this will be to do another trial of bike hangars, which are on-street bicycle lockers for city centre residents who don’t have bicycle storage.

Mr Waring said: “It will depend on their size and nature. For example, some trials are simple to practically do, but come with political complexities surrounding them. Others are the opposite.”

The scoring system which gives priority to concepts includes if the council has a he knowledge, technology, resources and time to implement, assess and report on the ‘beta’ test and what impact would a full roll out of the suggestions have on the city.

The suggestion of making cycle lanes 24 hours said that the current times, generally from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday, “means that they stop being cycle lanes precisely when it’s darker and less safe to cycle, when there’s less traffic so traffic speeds will naturally be faster and when less experienced cyclists will be out and about, children or families in the evening or on Sundays”.

A suggestion from a councillor said the city should “Bring Back Car Free day” and this should follow the experience of past car-free days.

Full list of Beta ideas, including non-cycling suggestions, can be found on Google Sheets. More information on the Beta Project is at dccbeta.ie.

I am editor of IrishCycle.com and have reported on and commented on cycling in Ireland for over a decade. My background is in journalism -- I have a BA in Journalism from DCU and HDip in Print Journalism from BCFE. I wrote about cycling for national newspapers, and then started CyclingInDublin.com for overflow stories. Later the website was re-branded to reflect a more national focus.

7 Comments

  1. My experience of 7am to 7pm cycle lanes is that people start parking in them around 18:15 and don’t vacate them until after 08:00. Try Ranelagh if you want ample evidence of this. The phrase “why should I have to get up at 7am just to move my car” rings a bell.

    Plenty of people block off road and segregated cycle lanes with their cars too, and the impact on cyclists is often worse then because it’s not simply a question of going around them. There needs to be enforcement too.

    I can already see people shouting about how they weren’t consulted (meaning they want a veto) and claiming they represent the silent majority. Brown Thomas etc claiming that this will utterly destroy the city leaving a desolate ruin. The AA will wheel out Conor Faughnan to explain how he is all in favour of cycling but just happens to be against every measure which might encourage it. The council will back down and we’ll be back where we started.

  2. As the bus driver said to me the other day, “Why do they need to plan everything new? Why don’t they just copy the methods of successful countries like Denmark and the Netherlands?”

  3. There are Armadillos on the North quay cycle track, but there is also free parking, causing the cycle track to veer suddenly

  4. I’m new to this site but have you guys been (rightly) discussing & criticizing the insanity of a cycle track from Pearce st/D’Olier st to dame st? We now are expected to bloody go right towards BOI HQ, cross the lights and then face oncoming traffic squashed in on wrong side of the road, then go through another set of pedestrian lights then wait and cross the road to another set of traffic lights in the middle of college green then cross back to the lane we’d have gone past five minutes earlier if it wasnt for the insane detour. Whoever came up with this idea would make it onto one of those cable TV “worlds dumbest” shows. Four sets of traffic lights and it is much more dangerous than risking being run over by a Tram or Bus the other way. I know which route I am going to take, to hell with this crazy route. God give me patience with Irish traffic planners.

  5. The cycle track on the North Quay has to be the worst design in the city. It starts and stops with no clear logic. Safer to cross the river and use the South Quay, or just avoid altogether!

  6. Leinster Wheeler April 30, 2018 at 4:06 pm

    In one city in the UK, armadillos only lasted a day before a HGV drove over them. End of trial. Light segregation is a low cost solution and should be a temporary measure.

  7. Hi Paul — it’s an optional route to avoid the tram tracks. If the College Green Plaza is given permission, the two-way cycle path will link to more

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