Dublin City Council defends not offering temporary cycle path during works

Dublin City Council has defended closing a busy segregated cycle path with no alternative route as part of “quick wins” planned to be finished ahead of the Velo-City conference at the end of the month.

It is normal in cycling-friendly cities to provide protected diversion around works on cycle paths. While it is common in long-time cycling-friendly cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, it is in recent years also becoming common when there’s works on new higher-quality cycle paths in London.

The works at the junction of the Matt Talbot Memorial Bridge in Dublin is to link the junction with the new two-way cycle path on City Quay in the south Docklands.

Perry Chitombo, a Dublin City Council senior executive engineer, said: “Due to the volume of public transport and general traffic on the bridge it was not possible to take possession of the road space and provide a [temporary] segregated track for the cyclists. Since the area under construction is relatively short, it was felt that cyclist can transit the bridge by sharing the carriageway with other traffic.”

Asked what is involved with the works, he said: “We are finishing the outstanding section of the South Campshire Cycle Route. We are merely connecting the missing link on the bridge bringing the facility to the same standard as the recently opened cycle track.”

There was no reply from the city council when asked could this website see a copy of the planned layout, so, it is unclear if the council plans to follow the BusConnects / Liffey Cycle Route plan to remove the current pedestrian crossing design. The current design is Dutch-like in providing pedestrian space between the cycle path and the roadway, although it needed fixing after design changes to the quayside in recent years.

The previous design:

The work area is at the top right of the junction below:

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. Ronald Vallenduuk June 17, 2019 at 11:18 am

    This junction is part of my morning commute. I’d like to see what they’re chaning because as it was I never used the cycle lane there anyway. Mixing with pedestrians is tricky and the connection onto the new two-way cycle track on City Quay was awful.
    Using that cycle track itself isn’t great because turning right onto Lombard street means crossing oncoming cyclists while again mixing with pedestrians.
    So for me there’s nothing new at the moment, apart from having one traffic lane instead of two. I still cycle in the middle of the lane for the left turn onto the Quay.
    Being Dutch and having cycled for 45 years means I’m not the typical Dublin cyclist; I cycle faster than most and I’m not afraid to cycle among cars.

  2. The failure of road works control generally in Ireland to provide for safe transit for people who cycle through road works is no longer acceptable. We are vulnerable road users and ‘Cyclists Dismount’ signs are inappropriate since we are driving a vehicle and entitled to safe passage while riding our machine, not pushing it.
    The Health & Safety Authority (HSA) needs to sit down with us, the NTA/TII and the various road authorities and their road works control contractors to produce a code of practice for safe transit of cyclists through road works. It is being done properly in Denmark and the Netherlands so no need to reinvent the wheel.

  3. Séan Billings June 17, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    This bridge is a nightmare if you are crossing from the north side (behind the custom house) onto it to get to George’s Quay on a bike. If you follow the bus\bike lane on the right of the road it disappears as soon as you hit the bridge and you can’t use the bike lane on the right hand side of the bridge because it is pointing the wrong way (and usually has pedestrians in it).

    You could use the bike lane on the left hand side of the bridge by crossing three lanes of traffic, avoiding the pedestrians on it and then, once over the bridge, crossing two sets of pedestrian lights (and potentially, two light changes) to bring you back across the lanes you crossed earlier. In this way you will eventually end up in the bike lane on the left hand side of George’s Quay, which will have buses parked in it, because there are always buses blocking that bike lane.

    Realistically, the only way to cycle from behind the Custom House to George’s Quay across Matt Talbot Bridge is to stay with the traffic and try to get into the second lane from the right on the bridge, so that you end up in the bus lane on the left of George’s Quay.

    This is very difficult as few motorists are willing to give a cyclist to opportunity to perform that manoeuvre. I have been honked at and abused by motorists on this bridge for my failure to use the unhelpful bike lanes and the sin of using the road like I have some kind of right to it.

    If I can, I take another rout.

  4. @Ronald, that right turn onto Lombard street is problematic alright. While I like the new cycle track, the kerbing around it means there are only two short opportunities to go onto the road to turn right, and these are very narrow. It also means, as you said, you are more likely to encounter a cyclist coming the other way. While kerbing is necessary to protect cyclists and deter cars from encroaching, there should be more access points through it.

    Another example is going Northwards, from Lime St onto Sir John Rogerson’s Quay to turn left along the Liffey. You can’t access the new cycle lane, again because there are no breaks in the kerbing for ages. Instead, you have to stop (due to traffic) and turn RIGHT instead for a little bit, then do a U-turn onto the cycle path to go back in the direction your wanted in the first place.

    While any segregated cycle path is very welcome, I’m convinced that the people designing cycle paths never tried cycling on them themselves, or else only considered people cycling from the start of it to the end of it, never merging or leaving.

    Side note: Interesting discussing cycle lanes on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay when the gentleman himself was born in the bike-friendly Netherlands (in 1648)/

  5. That’s a crap junction to negotiate on a bike. Leaving aside the issue of providing a safe passage during works, I wonder what changes they’re going to introduce. Pity they wouldn’t let you see the plans.

  6. May I mention a pet gripe of mine please, when the bridge was being built it was decided to name it memorial bridge to honour those merchant seamen who gave their lives keeping Ireland supplied during the second world war. At the last moment one councillor proposed naming it for Matt Talbot so they compromised and divided the dedication. Few now know what the memorial part of the name stands for and when the name is contracted to matt talbot bridge it removes any reminder of the brave sailors who endured great hardship in favour of
    a man who overcame drunkeness but was a rather strange person. Not cycling related but not everything has to be.

  7. “Due to the volume of public transport and general traffic on the bridge it was not possible to take possession of the road space and provide a [temporary] segregated track for the cyclists. Since the area under construction is relatively short, it was felt that cyclist can transit the bridge by sharing the carriageway with other traffic.”

    This reasoning is bizarre. If it’s short enough for cyclists to share with buses and trucks, then it’s short enough for two lanes to narrow to one.

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