COMMENT & ANALYSIS: Following on from the popular article last year on What to do with a problem like cycling in Rathmines?, we look at what is possable between South Great George’s Street at its junction with Dame Street to Camden Street.
Years ago a senior council official told me that this route needs to be upgraded urgently. Yet, is still is a desperate state for cycling — narrow cycle lanes, regular loading (both illegal and some legal or semi-legal) blocking cycle lanes, and bus lanes.
The project to look at options to upgrade the cycle route was suspended, along with other projects, while Luas Cross City was under construction.
The National Transport Authority are planning on upgrading bus priority along this route — they have released no firm plans yet but the only way to have strong bus priority and provide cycling segregation along this route is make it most of the route bus and access only.
Access to/from the car parks etc around the west side of Grafton Street and deliverers on the north-south route can be maintained via the cross streets (east-west), and via Cuffe Street.
The typical width along this route varies, but it is mostly over 16-17+ metres. The map of the route below shows the width by colour — 16 metres is in pink and 17 metres is yellow. There’s also areas of 18-19 metres (blue and light below) and significant sections of 20-23+ metres (green). There’s a few pinch points smaller if smaller widths (13-15 metres) but these are limited in number and short in nature.
IrishCycle.com’s suggestion for the route is a two-way cycle path. While two-way cycle paths are not liked by some transport officials and some campaigners, the option of using a two-way path on one side of the route has gained a large amount of success in London and elsewhere.
Mark Treasure, chairman of the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain — a group with seeks Dutch-like cycling provisions in the UK — has a great thread on Twitter on the pros and cons of two-way cycle paths. It’s worth reading if you’re borderline on two-way cycle paths in this kind of context.
In any case, a lot of what is said about two-way routes just does not stand up — for example, I’ve heard it claimed recently that the Dutch are not still building them in urban settings — yet, Utrecht, Amsterdam and other cities are building them to this day.
This route in question is suited to have a two-way cycle path because of the way the traffic light-controlled junctions are set up at the main cross-streets, and, if most of the traffic lanes were made bus-only, the buses would be going straight along the cycle path for most of the route, thus removing turning conflicts and allowing buses and people cycling on the cycle route to flow north-south at the same time.
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There’s many wider sections along the route, but the even the smaller end of the scale of the typical continuous width is 16 metres. This is an example cross-section of what’s possable at that width:
Further south on South George’s Street, between Fade St and Exchequer St, the street width allows for a proper high-capacity bus stop fully segregated from the cycle path:
And 19 metres — a width which is available at different points along the route — can also allow for something like this:
The longest narrow section of the route is about 75 metres on Wexford Street which narrows to around 14 metres. With this width, you can provide something like this — note these footpaths would be likely wider than what’s there now:
If the route is continued the full way to the canal (and that’s not necessarily the only way to continue), the very narrowest section is 13 metres and that’s a squeeze but it is very short (only around 10-15 metres before it starts widening again) at Richmond St South in Portobello.
While, closer to town, on Camden Street the width is typically give or take around 23 metres. This gives lots of space for different options, including public space or access for deliveries etc via a dedicated lane or loading bays at the side of the bus lane:
What’s suggested in this article would not be an easy sell to many people, but it would allow for a much-needed upgrade of public space, while also providing a strong north-south bus route and provide for cycling for all, linking between the canal and close to College Green.
It would enable more liveable streets, better public spaces, and provide extra people-moving capacity by bicycle and bus, and maintain delivers and access.
IMAGES: Made with thanks to streetsketch.mobycon.nl.