How BusConnects could change roads around Blanchardstown Shopping Centre

COMMENT & ANALYSIS | LONG READ: This the fifth part in a series covering the details of how the draft plans for BusConnects changes streets and how things could be done better on the Blanchardstown route.

This article covers around the Blancherdstown shopping centre.

This legend shows the meaning of the key different colours and lines on the drawings:

Where we left of in the last article was the Snugborough Road interchange between the N3 and the Snugborough Road which is one of the main roads connecting north and south sections of Dublin 15.

The design of this is was already put out to public at the start of 2017 and IrishCycle.com covered it at the time — there’s little point repeating that now but the junction redesign is poor for walking and cycling.

The section of BusConnects we are going to deal with in this article will start beside eBay, travel around the Blanchardstown Centre and back out over the N3, with a small one-way section beside the Crowne Plaza Hotel (shown in a narrower line):

For this section, this is the first draft drawing from the NTA that we’ll look at in detail:

So, here we have the first bit — shared space (yellow) for people walking and cycling, and a continuation of the confusing design of having the flows on two-way cycle paths changed to go against the drive/cycle on the left rule:

There’s also a discontinuation of the two-way cycle route — a route between the two two-way cycle paths would allow people to cross the road in one, straight crossing rather than three staggered crossings at the junction:

The road at the top of the junction pictured here has cycle paths on most of its length, but, rather than link that to the junction, the NTA plans to added general traffic lanes.

There is also ample space at the south end (pictured, bottom) of the junction — note the distance between the current boundary line (dashed blue) and the planned footpath and cycle track. The space could easily be used as mix of better buffer space and space for proper separation between walking and cycling:

For this section, this is the second draft drawing from the NTA that we’ll look at in detail:

In this section, there’s five minor and uncontrolled junctions where people on the cycle path in both directions will have to yield to motorists in just 250 metres, and there’s more around the corner…

Here’s an example up close:

This is not how you do two-way cycle paths — as well as having no priority, and not enough of a buffer between it and the roadway (which is important with uncontrolled junctions), the cycle path is just too narrow for a two-way cycle path in a busy area:

For this section, this is the third draft drawing from the NTA that we’ll look at in detail:

And here we are around the corner… in total we’re talking about 11 points in just 600 metres where cyclists are told to yield — some understandably but mostly poor design and a lack of regard for priority in local and national transport policy.

From a bus priority perspective, this drawing and the others near the core of the shopping centre are also worrying. Anybody who knows the area at peak times it means buses are likely to be blocked when car parks get busy:

This alternative routing of the two-way cycle path would mean far fewer conflicts

For this section, this is the forth draft drawing from the NTA that we’ll look at in detail:

Here there’s no way for people walking and cycling to cross at or anywhere near the roundabout — this is car-thinking with buses added on. This might be ok for bus priority but the NTA are going deeply against transport policy, including their own policies and part of the point of the NTA.

So, here, not only does the two-way cycle path ends — there is no cycle path at all in the direction away from the shopping centre on any side of the road:

In the below image, people cycling from Sheepmoor Grove toward the shopping centre will have to cycle 400 metres up to the shared crossing and the back again:

There’s massive green areas around this roundabout — so, it’s no space that’s at issue here. The NTA’s focus and where it is willing to spend money on this project is a very large question mark still standing:

For this section, this is the fifth draft drawing from the NTA that we’ll look at in detail:

Much of the cycling details in the following three images show little change for cycling — the NTA is only concerned with adding a bit of extra bus priority:

Combo of cycle lanes and slip turns retailed against NTA design guidance:

For this section, this is the sixth draft drawing from the NTA that we’ll look at in detail:

Much like the previous images, the cycling details in the following three images show little improvements for cycling:

 

Would you let your children cycle lane? Your teenagers even?

This end the detailed look at the Blanchardstown route. BusConnects coverage to be continued…

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.

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