BusConnects review: Route 1: Clongriffin route: Part A: Clongriffin and Belmayne

COMMENT & ANALYSIS: IrishCycle.com plans to try to look at all of the revised BusConnects Core Bus Corridors, which are the on-street infrastructure changes which includes cycle routes. These articles will aim to inform the public and made up a submission that the routes should follow CyclingForAll.ie standards.

This kind of infrastructure will last for decades. Now is the time to the detail right to kick start cycling for all across Dublin — enabling everybody from school children to retirees and everybody in between using the Dutch system of systematic safety.

There’s sixteen corridors so we’re in trying to cover all the routes by the closing date for the consultation on April 17, 2020. We might miss things or get things wrong, please comment below if you have suggestions. There’s more details at busconnects.ie/initiatives/core-bus-corridor-project.

The article is split into sections as follows:

This is the overall map for this route:

This is the key / legend for the drawings:

North Fringe — Clongriffin and Belmayne

The areas of the North Fringe — ie Clongriffin and Belmayne etc — are all relatively recently built. But are overall desperate in terms of car-focused streets which are not friendly to play, community development or active travel. This applies to both local streets and the main roads.

It is not something we can go into much further detail in this article — but there’s a load of issues. For example: car-parking and car-movement dominated layouts, lack of bicycle storage at a huge percentage of houses in the area, footpaths in many cases with some streets lined with car parking inside the footpaths, full car permeability in most cases, excessive hard surfaces, in some cases too few formal car parking spaces given the average suburban car ownership per house resulting in cars parked on footpaths, some one-way streets with no provision for cycling in both directions, service and other streets left unconnected / with dead ends, and more.

Both developers and planners have a lot to answer for in this. Urgent action is needed at a high level to stop these kind of layouts from being built — maybe the Manual for Urban Roads and Streets needs further firming up or reviewed?

BusConnects

With the BusConnects route, it starts at Clongriffin train station or, more so, the large roundabout / underground park and ride posing as a town square of sorts. The plan for BusConnects is to leave this as is for both walking and cycling — which is a really poor call given that this is not just a bus hub but also a Dart / Commuter train station and village centre:

Here is the current BusConnects drawing for the start of the route… maybe somebody will care enough to retro-fit cycling and priority crossing for people who are pedestrians here?

Below is Main Street which will also be left as it is now — around 600 metres of urban centre dual carrageway before there’s a cycle track. More on-street car parking without a cycle path is planned on the right in the below Google Street View image.

This layout will cause more issues for not just walking and cycling but also buses once the area is fully built out and there’s more activity (people driving around, stopping outside shops, loading etc).

THIS APPLIES TO THE LAYOUT OF MOST OF THE ROUTE: In other countries standard practice where bus priority is high on the agenda is to have buses running in the centre of the road or to one side. It’s unclear why the NTA refuses to take such designs seriously when they are proven to work better than kerb-side bus lanes. Such designs also break up larger roads better and slow cars by design.

If they are going to keep the first 600-700 metres free of any cycling provision, they need to at least fix the transition from cycle path to shared bus lane:

The text says “no works proposed for this section of main street” yet the drawings include the suggestion of raised tables at junctions and relocated bus stops.

Putting up 30km/h signs or adding logos on the road and hoping for the best rarely works:

And, after the above was written in a draft of this article, the following was posted on Twitter which shows the electric sign on the other side of the road closer to the train station:

https://twitter.com/AlanDub13/status/1236958000146980865?s=20

These are the bus stops just before Main Street meets the Hole in The Wall Road and the side road here is the entrance to the Trinity Sports & Leisure Club & Bar and a montessori.

The bus stop pass location is too close to the side road and for cycling and pedestrian safety it should be moved back:

Furthermore the cycle track should remain at a raised level across any side road or entrance like this — as is planned for pedestrians:

At the Hole in The Wall Road junction the design type used is a weird hybrid design of a protected junction — the modern Dutch protected junction design is safer and more attractive than this.

This video explains Dutch protected junction design:

Note: The roundabout designs also shown would generally not be suitable for the planned core bus routes in Dublin:

Parking is to be removed on this section to fit in cycle tracks of 2m wide — this is the best section yet. But, again, the cycle tracks should be raised at side streets and entrances.

 

The section on the second last image above notes: “THIS SECTION OF PARTIALLY CONSTRUCTED ROAD WILL BE
COMPLETED IN ACCORDANCE WITH DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL’S BELMAYNE MAIN STREET AND BELMAYNE AVENUE SCHEME”. Drawings for such can be found here.

Here’s two example sections which we will not comment on here as the scheme already is progressing:

NOTE: While on the same stretch on road in the same direction, the orientation with these drawings is different — on the BusConnects drawings we moving from left to right while these drawings are moving from right to left:

This scheme brings us as far as the Malahide Road which is pictured to the left here:

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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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