Planned bend in S2S cycle route outside Clontarf Baths makes no sense

COMMENT & ANALYSIS: Planned changes to the car park at the Clontarf Baths in Dublin should be a opportunity to improve Dublin City Council’s longest segregated cycle route — the S2S North — but the current plan is to make it worse.

Since the Clontarf Baths reopened, mainly as a restaurant, customers parking on the cycle route has been an on-going issue. With complaints also that the numbers of cars parked exceeds what was allowed in the planning permission for the restaurant.

And one of the solutions so-far? Yield markings for the cycle route… you couldn’t make it up — this is the cycle route Dublin City Council showcased to attendances of Velo-City last year:

This is the new plan for the car park and cycle route crossing the entry and exit points:

Given the solutions to the issues to date, it should not be a shock that this is the next step planned by the owners of the Clontarf Baths — a weird and unneeded twist in the cycle route:

The exit point isn’t bad overall but seem too wide to the point it will encourage overflow parking on the cycle route: and yield or stop markings should be placed facing motorists exiting the car park:

The following are examples from Utrecht in the Netherlands — all motoring access points across two-way cycle paths, some different design styles and different types of places.

Here’s an entry point to a sports centre car park — which is larger than the one in Clontarf:

And the entry point to a park and ride car park:

…and it is far larger than the car park in Clontarf:

And a filling station, which is likely busier than the Clontarf Baths:

And three examples of entry points to residential areas which are far lager than the Clontarf Baths:

A key part of most of the above designs is space for cars to pull in and stop before crossing the cycle paths. Where there is not that space, cycle path can use the “bend-in” curve design, as shown here:

The raised nature of the point where cars enter the Clontarf Baths is good — but twist is not:

The twist looks like the design of where a cycle route crosses a road — the twist in the path is not a design which is anyway appropriate for a main cycle route and the crossing is cars crossing into a small car park:

The 3 metre width of the path is also an issue — the route is often too busy for a 3 metre path and that will need to be addressed sooner or later. They might as well address the issue locally, outside the Baths, now while works are planned rather than fixing the issue at a later date.

Ideally, regardless of the width of the path, there should be a buffer between the cycle path and the low wall (as well as the polls etc along it).

And regardless of if the car park works get approval, Dublin City Council should be getting the cycle route fixed here and giving clear priority to the cycle route, not allowing a situation where a small car park has priority over the city’s longest segregated cycle route.

ADDED: An alternative design — which would require a small reduction in car parking spaces compared to the design — could be done as follows:

A key part of this design adjustment is space for motorists to wait without blocking the cycle path — the exit junction here is likely too wide and should be narrowed:

 

If you want to comment on the plans, you have until April 23:

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. How does a car turning across traffic into the baths, check oncoming car traffic, pedestrian traffic in both direction, oncoming bicycle traffic and then somehow also bicycle traffic coming fast from behind them in the same direction of travel, before commencing the turn? While I do not like the bend as a cyclist, I think it was inserted so that A cars would have an intermediate mid-turn stopping position which would not block the opposite motor traffic lane while they were in a a proper position to see if the cycling traffic was clear, and B, So that cars would not be forced to complete a full turn without the means or position to check cyclists coming from behind in the same direction of travel, causing an accident. Perhaps the examples from the Netherlands are on less busy stretches where blocking oncoming motor traffic is not an issue?

  2. Its obvious really,car drivers refuse to comply with regulations so we have to change the rules as they relate to cyclists. I suppose we are lucky there is not a concert hall at this site or the council would probably re-designate the cycle path for parking.

  3. Make sure to sue an car driver who even touches your bike at that spot, and the penny might drop.Or better still, if its possible sue the Restaurant itself.

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