BusConnects review: Route 1: Malahide Road: Part D: Oscar Traynor Rd to Artane roundabout

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 — Oscar Traynor Road to Artane roundabout

This is the junction with the Oscar Traynor Road / Tonlegee Road. The issues here are a mix of recurring issues:

  • lack of horizontal buffer where there’s space, or more pronounced kerb where there’s not the space
  • need for a full Dutch-style protected junction

Implementing a Dutch-style protected junction with feeder paths onto and off of the Oscar Traynor Road / Tonlegee Road would be a big improvement here (green lines).

There’s a general problem across most of the BusConnects design that they are fitting in cycle tracks along side bus lanes rather than proper segregated cycle paths with horizontal buffer or a notable kerb.

By following the skirting-along-bus-lanes design pattern there’s echos of old cycle routes which brought cyclists in and out and up and down and all around. I’m not saying it’s as bad as old routes. But the design needlessly brings people cycling closer to buses and other traffic, and, if you’re trying to build a good cycle network, I wouldn’t start with this thinking blocking progress.

There’s no shortage of space at this junction:

And new / local issues…

The bus stop shown below will be moved back and the nearest bus stop will be back towards Odeon and Leisureplex. This makes it even more important that the route to the bus stop should be accessible and attractive. A raised table across this residential street would help:

The planned addition of a drop kerb (yellow crossing point) leads to a driveway (circled in blue).

Most people don’t walk in 90 degree arcs like the crossing — so many people would just cross at the green arrows anyway. If the green route is not provided for, there’s a higher risk of people walking along the road are to continue along the cycle path rather than go to the footpath beside the houses.

On the other side of the road at this point there is existing filtered permeability. While the BusConnects team have shown that they are looking to increase filtered permeability, they should also be careful not to close off existing filtered permeability.

The BusConnects plan to refresh this area and add green space is commendable, but it is needless to remove the filtered permeability when it can be replaced with a cycle path link beside the footpath.

Ideally it would be a two-way link up to the greenway / Odeon and Leisureplex junction.

This next section, which runs right beside Coolock Village on one side of the road and we’re as well to look at this combined with the section after it which is a continuation of the service streets. The service streets are the mini-streets the run between the bus lanes and the houses — in the image below, St Brendan’s Ave is the top one and Brookville Park is the lower one.

There’s a lot going on here:

The Netherlands have been making access or service streets cycling-friendly for decades — see this article from BicycleDutch.

In recent years have re-branded some them as one type of “bicycle street” (Note: not all bicycle streets are service streets and not all service streets are bicycle streets).

To make such service streets work for safe cycling, there must be low speeds and low volumes, ie motorists should not be able to drive through the full length of longer service streets such as St Brendan’s Ave — ie being restricted by being pushed back out onto the main road.

IMAGE: From BicycleDutch

The bus stop in the top left of the image below has shared space between cycling and walking right beside where the bus pulls up — this is done on a section of road which is 40 metres wide:

One possibly make the service street safer for cycling is to close off the entrance as it is:

Instead, there could be an entrance and exit along the street with an entrance design something like this or an equivalent to calm traffic coming off the main road into the residential street:

Or like this from ‘s-Hertogenbosch (aka Den Bosch):

An alternative to closing and rearranging the existing entrance is to redesign it to something of a smaller scale which also shows the service street is a through route for cycling and that such has priority over motorists crossing the service street. This example from Utrecht isn’t an exact fit for the Brookville Park, but it’s an example of a design direction towards a solution:

On the other side of the street it would be better if the cycle path crossed the mouth of the side road on a raised table:

At the other end of the road it is unclear why the NTA is planning a new right hand turning land (circled in yellow) and this makes the crossing point over the cycle track an even worse design:

The location is currently marked with no entry (except taxis for some reason?).

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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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