New Dublin northside cycle route falls short of ages and abilities standards

— Low-quality project is quick build and also “part of a five year plan”.

A new quick-build cycle track protection project on Collins Avenue by Dublin City Councils falls far short of design of cycling for all ages and abilities — the design leaves people cycling exposed at junctions, car parking and bus stops.

The Dublin City Council drawings for the design of cycle route shows the project retains some extra large traffic lanes.

The council also makes a point to state in the drawings that all traffic lanes are retained when the design includes what campaigners call “murder strip” cycle lanes placed between traffic lanes (pictured above) at the main entrance to Dublin City University along the road.

The council’s drawings also show:

  • Non-segregated sections.
  • Car parking inside cycle tracks, even where there’s ample space for parking-protected cycle tracks.
  • Mixing children and adults on bicycles with buses at bus stops.
  • No junction or turning radius narrowing or continuous footpaths or raised crossings at non-signalised crossings to improve walking and cycling safety.
  • No entry points to the cycle track from side streets at T-junctions.
  • No protection at junctions in a number of cases.
  • No extra waiting space where advanced stop boxes are the only option to make right hand turns.
  • No access to DCU without using footpaths beside the existing shared crossing.
  • No removal of painted centre-of-road hatching — which encourages speeding — even away from turning lanes.
  • No safe crossing from one side of the road to the other outside or near St. Aidan’s CBS school at eastern end of route.

The section of the route is around 800 metres long, and a service road running around 560 metres of the same stretch is not used as part of the cycle route.

The installing of concrete kerbs as part of the project includes two main marked widths — 2 and 1.75 metres. International best practice calls for at least 2 metres of usable space when cycle paths are segregated by a kerb, to allow for safe overtaking of other cycle paths users and cycling side-by-side.

The project includes 4 metre wide general traffic lanes — which is wider than the traffic lanes on M50 where the speed limit is 100km/h.

These extra-large traffic lanes are retained even where there’s issues with cycle route including no extra space for waiting before entering the advanced stop boxes.

Dublin City Council said: “As part of a five year plan, funded by the National Transport Authority, Dublin City Council has begun to investigate options for improving the cycling and pedestrian facilities along a route connecting Finglas village to Killester. The route includes Glasnevin Avenue, Collins Ave Ext and Collins Avenue. We would intend on developing the designs in sections and as information becomes available we will publish it on the Consultation Hub.”

“As part of this project, the Covid Mobility Team intends to begin by installing protected cycle lanes in the vicinity of the entrance to Dublin City University on Collins Avenue Ext,” the council said on its website.

According to the project drawings, the road marking line for the bicycle section of the shared crossing to Dublin City University walking and cycling access point will not be repainted.

The Google Maps Street View images showing the crossings over number of years seems to indicate that the crossing has not been repainted in over a decade. Users of the crossing will also have to mount the footpath to use is as the council is not planning non-shared or other direct access to the cycling access point just yards from the crossing.

IMAGE: The crossing in 2009.

COMMENT & ANALYSIS: Overview of the drawings:

The western side of the project starts short of the junction with the Ballymun Road, with parking inside an unprotected cycle lane eastbound and no protection for people cycling by a bus stop and no protection from sideswipes as the roadway narrows westbound.

There is also no radius narrowing or raised crossing at the minor side street.

There is also no provision for people cycling to cross to the side street.

The traffic 4 metre wide lane and painted hatching will encouraged speeding:

At the junction to Shanowen Ave there is kerb shown in the way of people cycling exiting the road and turning right (see image below).

There is also a lack of two pedestrian crossings to bring it onto compliance with the Manual for Urban Roads and Streets.

To turn right from the main road to Shanowen Ave, there is no safe option for cycling for all ages.

The only option is using the advanced stop box, but there is no waiting space in the kerb-segregated cycle track so not to block it if traffic is moving or motorists are blocking the advanced stop box.

This is despite the traffic lane is left extra wide.

At the walking and cycling only entry point to DCU, the cycling section of the existing toucan crossing is not being repainted according to the drawings.

Because of maintaining the general existing layout, people cycling will also have to mount or cross footpaths to access the crossing. This is not a major issue but is an example of design pushing people to cycle on footpaths when it is a bugbear of many.

Also because of maintaining the general existing layout, the cycle tracks will be below 2 metres, which is seen as the minimum needed for segregated cycle paths.

Because of a mix of car parking inside the cycle and unprotected bus stop there is a significant section of unprotected cycle lanes on this stretch:

At the main entrance to DCU there’s substandard width cycle lanes / tracks in both directions, including a “murder strip” between two traffic lanes.

There is also no safe provision suitable cycling for all for turning into and out of DCU at this point. The walking and cycling entrance is a significant detour from this entrance if going to many buildings on the campus.

On the other side of the junction, there’s a significant section (20 metres) of cycle lane unprotected eastbound heading away from the junction and westbound there’s another “murder strip”.

The east end of the route ends with no safe crossing to a school or the housing estate across from it:

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. I think it might be time to get the Comptroller and Auditor General to look at money wasted on cycle tracks that won’t enable any modal shift

  2. Another masterclass in poor spelling, syntax and generally poor reporting. I support your “zero sum game” thinking on all these topics – it really shows you and your ilk up for the unreasonable cretins that you are!

  3. Why does Joe use quotation marks when not quoting anyone? Why does Joe think that people who want a more livable city are unreasonable? Why does Joe think such people are also lacking in iodine? Why does Joe engage in ad hominems? Why does Joe not offer any factual evidence of any of the things he claims? Why is Joe so angry? Perhaps it’s because he drives everywhere, maybe? Driving in urban spaces is known to raise cortisol levels and make people feel angry. Perhaps Joe should trying cycling instead.

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