BusConnects review: Route 1: Malahide Road: Part C: Around Coolock’s retail parks

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:

The introduction is the same in each article. While it’s best read going from one article to another, most people will likely only read about the areas they live in or cycle through.

This is the overall map for this route:

This is the key / legend for the drawings:

 

Malahide Road — Around Coolock’s retail parks (Blunden Drive / Priorswood Road to Oscar Traynor Road)

This is the next section of the road including the redesign of the roundabout at Blunden Drive / Priorswood Road, which is to be changed into a junction:

The junction is, again, not a proper protected junction, it does not provide for cycling movements in all directions, and the lack of horizontal buffers is striking when there’s ample green space to provide such:

The cycle paths should look something more like this example from Utrecht:

And with the image flipped crudely to reflect the side of the road that we drive on, you get something like this:

This is the section along the Malahide Road Retail Centre (aka Coolock Retail Park) — a possable new connection is proposed into the residential area currently walled off. This will hopefully be seen as a positive by locals offering direct access to bus stops, and walking and cycling access to the retail park etc.

 

This is the cross section for around the Malahide Road Retail Centre, but it’s worth saying that the grass verges on this underestimate the actual grass verges — there should be a 1-0.5m grass verge between the cycle path and the bus lanes along this section:

Cycling this close to a bus lane is not attractive — a grass verge between the bus lane and the cycle path would add to safety and comfort levels. It would also have practical effects of making it easier to turn onto and come off crossings and making it safer at minor side roads.

This artists impression also looks too narrow, there’s no reason for it to be narrow here, so, it might just lack perception:

On the Malahide Road Retail Centre side of the road there are entrances and exists to the retail park and the Malahide Road Industrial Park behind it, and seprate ones to the filling station.

For cycling safety and cycling and bus priority, consideration should be given to closing the direct filling station access onto the main road Marked in green. There is already access to the rear. If this is not possable, a design similar to that used in the example from Utrecht above needs to be used.

Here’s the access points again, this time overlaid on the BusConnects drawing and showing the planned residential  connection and new new crossing point.

The crossing point should not be be shared and should not be staggered, even if people are expected to wait in the middle of the road. There also needs to be a two-way connection into the retail park and industrial estate:

The retail park is significant enough, with a Lidl, Halfords etc:

But if a two-way connection into the retail park and industrial estate is not concidered needed by the NTA, There will be two questions here:

  • Is the NTA planning cycling on the basis that it’s for middle class people going to offices?
  • And, if not, why is the NTA disadvantaging people working or visiting the retail park and the Malahide Road Industrial Park?

The next section is the second retail parking, mainly containing the Odeon Coolock and Leisureplex Coolock. This section suffers from the design issues already mention, including:

  • lack of horizontal buffer
  • need for a full Dutch-style protected junction
  • need for raised cycle path at the side roads / entrances

A Dutch-style protected junction would allow for a two-way cycling crossing on the south side of the junction which would allow for the planned Santry River Greenway, a greenway listed in the GDA Cycle Network Plan.

Here’s a section of the GDA Cycle Network Plan map — the primary 1C (red) route follows the BusConnects route we are reviewing here and the green line is the Santry River Greenway (the blue route is a secondary route).

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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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