COMMENT & ANALYSIS: Cycling has boomed so much along the Grand Canal Cycle Route in Dublin that Census experts at the CSO linked the cycle route with a notable increase in cycling in areas beside it. But compromises when the route was built is adding to heavy congestion at peak times, lowering the potential of the route and its potential for expansion.
One of the — if not the — worst problem area is the west side of the Leeson Street bridge junction. These two images don’t fully show how busy it can be with people cycling and walking from both directions:
This video gives a better view of the volume of people and the issues:
Then as you round the blind corner with sight lines blocked by the bush, there’s an ever narrower space — note the different heights of the surfaces:
This is the same place from the other direction, with the pinch point made worse by the poll and surface difference:
Here it is in satellite view:
And Google Map’s 3D images:
Rotating Google Maps around and we see there’s no real need to have a shared area outside of the pinch point along the canal itself (and that cycling on Leeson Street needs to be addressed, and hopefully will be with BusConnects):
Here’s the elements color coded for clarity:
This is a small area but it messes with the capacity for both walking and cycling at peak times and results not just lower quality of service but also discomfort and safety issues.
I’ve had people tell me the focus should be to expand the Grand Canal Route towards the west, but such an expansion will mean more people cycling at least to Leeson Street and making this pinch point worse. That means this issue should be looked at before or as part of the expansion.
Upgrading of cycle routes with BusConnects, building the planned Fitzwilliam cycle route or just the general increase in cycling will also put presure on the pinch point.
So, what can be done here? There’s a few options or mix of options: NOTE: This is blue sky thinking here on any options I can think of — I’m not the council and I’m not proposing any one option or any mix of options:
- Leave the lock gate on the left in the open position and level off the surface (up or down) around the lock gate.
- Look at different designs for the lock gate and see if this is possable within any protections and/or Waterways Ireland’s historic attitude towards cycling.
- Remove a small section of wall (shown in black beside the purple area above) — this wall is not part of the bridge, which is possibly protected.
- Cut back the hedge besides the canal to increase visibility.
- CPO the part of the front yard / parking place (yellow).
- CPO the all of the front yard / parking place (yellow) to allow for a large waiting area.
- CPO part of the rear yards, the parts of the sheds and extensions which were built into the rear yards, and the front yard — this option is likely to cost too much to be justifiable but depending on the condition of the extensions (many similar ones are of poor quality), the owners might be open to the cost of upgrading a smaller space etc or just take compensation.
- CPO part of the rear yards, the parts of the sheds (but not the extensions which were built into the rear yards), and the front yard — this way the route could curve around buildings and the lock gate if it can’t be changed.
- Build a two-way cycle path on Adelaide Road (between Harcourt Terrace and Leeson Street) to fully re-route cycling or have it as a capacity enhancement.
- Build a shorter re-routing via 29-31 Adelaide Road (see below for details).
I promised blue sky thinking — underpasses or overpasses are not suitable for this location given the canal, the historic bridges and the building etc but at least a few of the above are possable.
Are we likely to see any action to make one of Dublin’s better cycle routes better, safer and to be usable by more people?
CORRECTION: This article originally stated that 29-31 Adelaide Road is owned by the OPW, this is not the case. It is only rented by the OPW on behalf of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. Because it is a privately-owned building, the details previously included in the article on routing the cycle route via this building — in the same vain of the cycle path inside the Rijksmuseum museum building in Amsterdam, was removed. IrishCycle.com apologises for this error.
Subscription drive update: IrishCycle.com reached its target of 270 subscribers by the end of August -- thank you to all who have helped! Our new target is to have 300 subscribers by the end of 2022 -- originally this was hoped to be exceeded by the first year of running the site full time (end of October).
If you can help push IrishCycle.com above 300 subscribers, please subscribe today for €5 or more. If you have already done so -- thank you!
Please remember, every month there's a natural drop-off in subscriptions due to people getting new cards, cards stolen, Revolut not topped up etc.
IrishCycle.com is a reader-funded journalism publication. Effectively it's an online newspaper covering news and analyses of cycling and related issues, including cycle route designs, legal changes, and pollical and cultural issues.
There are examples, big and small, which show that the reader-funded or listener-funding model can work to support journalism -- from the Dublin Inquirer and The Guardian to many podcasts. To make it work for IrishCycle.com, it just needs enough people like you to believe!
Monthly subscriptions will give IrishCycle.com's journalism a dependable base of support. But please don't take free access for granted. Last year IrishCycle.com had an average of 15,800 readers per month and we know our readers include people who cycle and those who don't, politicians, officials and campaigners.
I know only a small percentage of readers will see the value of keeping this open enough to subscribe, that's the reality of the reader-funded model. But more support is needed to keep this show on the road.
The funding drive was started in November 2021 and, as of the start of June 2022, 250 readers have kindly become monthly subscribers -- thank you very much to all that have!
But currently, it's only around 1.6% of readers who subscribe. So, if you can, please join them and subscribe today via ko-fi.com/irishcycle/tiers