Cork University Hospital walking and cycling link: One of the strangest I’ve come across

COMMENT & ANALYSIS: When cycling down the Wilton Road on a visit to Cork, I spotted this walking and cycling link into Cork University Hospital. It looked good enough to stop and turn back for a look… Extra access for walking and cycling is great. But details are important and overall the details are horrible for walking cycling on this.

The only other entrance to the hospital campus from the Wilton Road side is to cross the road unaided where we have the red line and arrow marked below. The next option is to go around this roundabout, which is clearly not walking and cycling friendly. That should be fixed, but for now the walking and cycling link on the Wilton Road should be fixed.

And the entrance at the yellow box marking area is also marked as buses and emergency vehicles only:

Back to the walking and cycling link: Maybe I was unlucky, but the first thing I experienced was a long wait to cross the road….

For the most part, there’s nice clear separation of walking and cycling and the surfaces are good:

But the bollards on this path which slop down to the Wilton Road (pictured in the background here) gives a sense of a hostile environment — I don’t know if there any real risk of a cyclist getting injured if the fall on the top of these bollards, but especially facing down the slope, they feel more than uninviting.

For pedestrians they eat into the footpath space, which could be slightly larger even if the bollards were removed.

We’ll get to the barriers later, but first: The access to the rear of the two houses seems to be the reason for all the barriers along the footpath and the grass. But why? If there’s a removal bollard blocking all but occasional access, why line the path with bollards?

The barriers here further pen in people walking and cycling — the designers of this and the management of Cork University Hospital must (a) be really misguided or (b) hate walking and cycling and universal access.

Butting up barriers like that and telling cyclists to dismount is making a big presumption that all cyclists are fit and able. It would be hard to get many bicycles around that barrier and harder again for anybody with a disability.

As an aside: The sign to the left here shows a contra-flow cycle track sign. There’s no contra-flow cycle track here. It’s really unclear what the designers were trying to express here.

You could probably rule out use of this with any trike or hand cycle or cargo bicycle:

What went wrong here? Do they not care? Did somebody go out of their way to make it harder for people walking and cycling?

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.

3 Comments

  1. Looks like it was designed by an unsupervised work placement person who did not know how to read a list of traffic signs, did a architect or engineer sign off on this plan?

  2. The bollards are there because before the work was done the laneway was full of cars parked on both sides, over the grass. The central bollard nearest the Wilton road is a replacement because the initial one was lightweight and was knocked over more or less immediately. The design, bad though it is, has actually slightly improved pedestrian access because it doesn’t require any active enforcement of parking restrictions.

  3. @Corky — Bollards at both ends would do the same thing.

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