Politics of space and time defines our streets and roads

Comment & Analysis: After delay, after delay, after delay with planned cycling projects this website has started to write about quickly building at least a basic cycle network, but, the more we look at the issue, the more the issue of ‘politics of space’ pops up.

Politics of space defines our streets and roads — it’s a phrase which makes clear that how we divide up our public space is a political issue. Especially at junctions, it’s best to call it the politics of space and time.

Take a key example like the canal bridge at Rathmines. It’s not that small:

The space between the footpaths on the bridge at Rathmines could fit something like this — with the black bike lane on the left being a right-hand turning lane as a connection into the canal route:

Another nearby example is the bridge at Harold’s Cross, which is much the same — made worse by the higher hump and the doubling up of cars going outbound:

Again, the space between the kerbs could fit something like this:

The above suggested layouts could be trialed using Dublin Orcas, which have bollard inserts:

The suggestions would not cost much at all. It’s not a matter of cost.

Bus priority also should not be used as an excuse here. If authorities want to give more priority to buses then bus-priority traffic lights ahead of both sides of the bridges can be used. As it stands, there’s only one inbound lane on both bridges and that would not change. The narrow width of the other lane likely causes more problem for buses. Banning the outbound right hand turning lane could be done on safety grounds alone.

Should we wait for BusConnects’ Core route project? That could take at least 6 years or, if there’s more delays, the better part of a decade.

It’s a matter of what’s seen as important — bicycles already exceed the number of cars crossing the bridge at Rathmines. But safety and comfort also needs to be taken into account here — the city wants people to cycle but don’t see providing safe and attractive space as a priority.

Around Dublin, children are been cycled by their parents and some are cycling along side their parents in more notable numbers — those children should not have to wait until they are grown up for change which will make Dublin’s streets safer for 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.

1 Comment

  1. Coupled with late release vehicle traffic lights, this would be a great yet simple solution.

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