Dolphin’s Barn plans need bus and cycling priority, NTA tells council

— Bicycles and buses mixed on section with 5 lanes, central island, linear park.
— Retaining parking and turning lane given priority on South Circular Rd.

IMAGE: The widest section of Dolphin’s Barn has five lanes and more.

Dublin City Council will need to adapt its plans for Dolphin’s Barn to allow for bus and cycling priority, a submission by the National Transport Authority has said.

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The deadline for submissions on the Dolphin’s Barn public realm project is tomorrow, Monday August 13, by 4.30pm. This is the second time the project was out to Part 8 planning, after an error in the first application it was withdrawn.

The public realm project is to cover the main streets of Dolphin’s Barn — Dolphin’s Barn north-south (leading to Crumlin Road to the south and Cork Street to the north), and South Circular Road going east-west.

As has previously reported, Mike Haslam of Haslam & Co Architects, who were contracted to draw up plans for the area, said: “Just to add on the cycle lanes, we have kept what’s there, we have not changed that. Again because of the restrictions on the carriageway sizes — which we were not permitted to alter.”

IMAGE: The current plan includes widening public space, reducing the size of islands but retailing narrow, unprotected cycle lanes.

However, while claims were made about not changing the carriageway, footpaths, kerbs and central islands were to be moved or resized. A presentation given to local councillors at the start of the year shows how the designers of give priority to providing space for other elements. This includes for car parking, and widening an already wide public space at north-east corner of the junction where Dolphin’s Barn meets the South Circular Road.

Existing sub-standard, narrow painted cycle lanes were planned to be retained on Dolphin’s Barn, but the Core Bus Corridor elements of BusConnects may override the plans. The infrastructure will be planned to accommodate the planned very high frequency D spine bus route, with a frequency of a bus every 5 minutes or better.

It is less clear, however, if BusConnects or any other factor with help segregate people cycling from the planned O inner orbital bus route which will have a frequency of a bus every 7.5 minutes for most of the day. The O route will needed to use single-deck buses and there’s the prospect that bendy-buses will be used.

New new formalised parking spaces and the retention of turning lanes is given priority along the South Circular Road, while no provision is made for space for cycling.

Michael MacAree, head of planning and data analysis at the National Transport Authority (NTA), said: “Dolphin’s Barn Street forms part of the Greenhills to City Centre Core Bus Corridor. It is intended to publish preliminary designs for this scheme, in October 2018. It is essential, therefore, that the implementation of the Part 8 proposal is undertaken in a manner which is, consistent with the emerging preferred option for the provision of continuous bus priority and high-quality cycle facilities at this location.”

He added: “This relates in particular, the allocation of road space between the various modes of transport and to the provision of a raised table at the junction. The NTA is of the view that the public realm objectives of the city, as set out in subject planning application, can be met in tandem with the objectives of the Core Bus Corridor project. It is recommended that, in the event of the approval of the Part 8 scheme, the City Council liaises with the NTA in order to ,ensure that the further detailed design is consistent with the emerging preliminary design of the Core Bus Corridor.”

IMAGE: On the South Circular Road the project includes car parking on both sides of the road with no priority or separation for cycling.

Local councillor Cllr Rebecca Moynihan (Labour) said she welcomed the scheme but called for more speed calming measure and better links for cycling.

Cllr Moynihan said: “The part 8 is very welcome in this much neglected part of the city. I welcome the removal of the railings at the traffic lights but I would also ask for some speed calming measure to be introduced along the junction similar to what was done in Ballyfermot village. This is especially important at the junction of Cork Street and Reuben street which many pedestrians and cyclists from the local area use as their entrance to village. The traffic at this blind spot when looking right, or turning right from Cork is fast moving in both lanes and measures should be introduced to slow the car traffic at this point.”

“The report references Grand Canal Cycle Route but it is important that a cycle lane included at the junction along the SCR part of Dolphins Barn also. Currently cycling here is dangerous due to the illegally parked cars and informal nature of the car parking which forces cyclists to weave in and out of traffic. I welcome formalising the parking space but a cycle lane similar to the one provided in Rialto village should also be incorporated into this scheme, as the east west portion of this route is as important for cycle commuters as the south/north,” said Cllr Moynihan.

She said: “Additionally I would ask that priority be given to cyclists at the traffic lights as buses and trucks are taking off from the lights (and in some cases turning left at the Massey junction). Priority lights for cyclists here would be an important safety measure, allowing them crucial time to take off from the junction before other larger vehicles.”

“Along the South North route the cycle lane should be a special protected lane, which is feasible on this wide road. Currently approaching the lights by the Tesco cars illegally park in the lane, causing cyclists to have to weave into a dangerous bus lane. Putting in place quality cycle infrastructure at this junction is a simple but important measure.”

MORE: Online planning file.

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