Clontarf Cycle Route: What do you think of these planned bus stops?

COMMENT & ANALYSIS: Below are 3D renderings of the planned bus stops on the Clontarf Cycle Route… based on the images, what do you think? Here’s my thoughts…

Segregated cycle paths at bus stops (aka ‘bus stop bypasses’ or ‘island bus stops’) are required if you want your city to have safe cycling where children and adults cycling don’t have to mix with buses. This isn’t a new design, and there’s no better alternative. All the other design options are worse (they are shown in this Twitter thread from 2019).

So, lets please focus on getting the design right and not a wider debate. This is for people who think mixing buses and people cycling is ok:

The design for the bus stops on the Clontarf Cycle Route was included in a presentation to the Central Area Committee of councillors in December 2020. Cllr Ray McAdam (FG) uploaded the presentation to his website where he asked for feedback.

The design includes three different formalised crossing points which seems excessive to the point of adding risk. There’s too much happening. Having three crossings points so close to each other is really unusual in this design — I’ve looked and I cannot find any examples of bus stops with cycle paths and three formal crossings.

Remember, as well as at the crossings, some pedestrians will also be crossing without using any of the formal crossing points. I’ve worked somewhere with a zebra crossing on a busy road beside it, and it’s maddening how many people will cross just a metre or two away from the formal crossing.

Over-design like this is well meaning, but it doesn’t take overall human behaviour into account.

Having yield markings at one crossing point but not at the others is a pedestrian safety issue. The crossings without yield markings are the only ones with textile kerbs to guide people with sight issues. Why would have yield markings at one crossing, but not where people with sight issues are more likely to cross?

If you add in three yield markings and the overengineering becomes even more apparent. Painted zig zag markings also seem excessive and could be another hazard, especially when wet.

If the middle crossing with no tactile paving before pedestrians start to cross means is used by a person with sight issues, they may be left unaware they are crossing a primary cycle route which already has the second highest volumes of people cycling in Dublin City.

The ramp looks to be an excessive gradient compared to the dropped kerb for crossing 1 and 3. If this is the case, it will effect less stable and less able people on bicycles more than it will effect idiots going at excessive speed.

While some people understandably don’t want forgiving kerbs, not having them compounds the issues above.

People with a keen eye will have spotted the “tram track” or similar tactical paving across cycle tracks (shown in the image below). These are — like tram tracks — a known slip hazards to people cycling, especially people who are less able or more at risk of a fall. Having these tiles anywhere near a ramped crossing point should be ruled out — ie two hazards combined.

Such paving also makes it harder to react safely a mistake when it happens, be it the fault of a person on a bicycle or a pedestrian.

The solution here is to make the crossing point more like an actual crossing — including adding tactual kerbs for people with sight issues, the removes the need for the “tram track” paving and makes it clearer to everybody that this is a crossing point. It’s not a place to linger.

Having a crossing point at the top of the bus stop shelter also causes an issue because of the lack of visibility / sightlines. It looks ok in the graphic, but what about when there’s passenger information or and advertisement posted on the bus shelter?

Transport For London guidance recommends that “the crossing will be located such that the passenger will turn left when exiting the bus to locate the crossing, when one bus is at the stop, and it is stopped in the correct place. When walking from the footway to the bus stop, the passenger turns left to locate the bus stop flag, in the standard layout.”

Dublin City Council are right to be taking extra care to design cycle paths around bus stops, but as outlined above, overengineering can also be problematic.

Cian Ginty
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.

5 COMMENTS

  1. thank you Cian for a very in depth look at the design which was done without consultation with the disability community either. There are a lot of issues with the design noted by yourself but one of the bigger ones will be in the actual track areas you will need at least 6 meters of space 2 meters for footpath cycle track and bus island as a minimum on each which is hard to place along a lot of the route.

  2. Looks like re-inventing the wheel again. The Dutch model for cycle infrastructure is the benchmark: provide a clear uniterrupted cycle track pavement where any pedestrians crossing it must treat it like any other uncontrolled road crossing, i.e. dont step out in front of traffic whether that be cyclie traffic or motor traffic. The proposal at Clontarf would work if they got rid of the footpath platform placed in the cycle track and left the two uncontrolled crossing points as proposed, thereby ensuring that the integrity of the cycle facility was not comprmised. Otherwise this design is only going to lead to pedestrian/cyclist conflicts as pedestrians pay no heed to cycle traffic and lead to a poor qualtiy section of cycle infrastructure where more confident cyclists may choose to use the road instead and that is not “designing for all”.

  3. Very good analysis of the design. The main problem seems to the ramp area and the fact that it is not clearly marked as being part of the cycle path (which presumably it is) or the footpath. The design could do with some consultation of cycling and disability groups.

  4. Can Dublin City Council please watch that YouTube link posted above and simply copy and paste? The Dutch figured out how to do cycle track design right a long time ago and why should we Irish be doing any different.

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