It’s National Slow Down Day… but what part does poor design play in speeding?

COMMENT & ANALYSIS: It’s National Slow Down Day where Gardai are focusing on speeding, and we could ask: shouldn’t it be every day? But rather look at the lack of a 365 day focus on speeding, or blame motorists, let’s look at the design reasons why people are speeding on the roads in urban areas.

First, here’s the full list from the first bundle of example speeds given by the Gardai:

• 68km/h in a 50km/h Zone on the Clontarf Road Dublin 3 Dublin
• 66km/h in a 50km/h Zone on the R527 Ballysimon Road Limerick Limerick
• 103km/h in a 80km/h Zone on the R162 Spiddal Nobber Meath
• 128km/h in a 100km/h Zone on the N20 Creggane Charleville Limerick
• 76km/h in a 60km/h Zone on the Callan Road Kilkenny Kilkenny
• 63km/h in a 50km/h Zone on the N80 Main Street Stradbally Laois
• 126km/h in a 100km/h Zone on the N21 Rineroe Adare Limerick
• 98km/h in a 80km/h Zone on the N4 Palmerston Upper Dublin22 Dublin
• 97km/h in a 80km/h Zone on the R147 Dowdstown Navan Meath
• 59km/h in a 50km/h Zone on the Brideswell Athlone Westmeath
• 93km/h in a 80km/h Zone on the R689 Lisronagh Clonmel Tipperary
• 116km/h in a 100km/h Zone on the N11 Garrycleary Crossabeg Wexford
• 113km/h in a 100km/h Zone on the N25 Ballyadam Carrigtwohill Cork
• 112km/h in a 100km/h Zone on the N22 Farran Ovens Cork
• 111km/h in a 100km/h Zone on the N77 Granafallow Abbeyleix Laois
• 116km/h in a 120km/h Zone on the M11 Rossana Lower Rathnew Wicklow (e.g. Vehicle towing)

We’re just going to look at the areas of 60km/h and below…

68km/h in a 50km/h Zone on the Clontarf Road Dublin 3 Dublin

The problems here:

  • Recklessly wide traffic lanes for an urban area.
  • Non-segregated bus lane.
  • No walking/cycling crossings to cycle route or waterside at many side roads and/or not all sides of junctions with one crossing.

66km/h in a 50km/h Zone on the R527 Ballysimon Road Limerick:

The problems include:

  • Recklessly wide traffic lanes for an urban area.
  • Recklessly wide junctions.
  • Non-segregated bus lane.
  • No walking/cycling crossings at most junctions, side roads and major entrances.
  • Use of motorway-like / rural-like road hatching which has no place in an urban area.
  • Slip-lane style designs on urban streets.
  • Limerick is long bypassed but nothing here reflects this.

76km/h in a 60km/h Zone on the Callan Road, Kilkenny:

This is a national road that has not been bypassed but inside 60k/h zone where there’s more housing, workplaces etc, this design is not good enough. The issues include:

  • No crossings at junctions.
  • Recklessly wide junctions.
  • Lack of priority walking or cycling along main road.
  • Ribbon development allowed along a national road.

The 50km/h section of the road also has many issues include giving priority to traffic flow rather than giving a reasonable amount of space to cycling — before changing the layout, this is a case where hatching is preferable to squeezing people cycling in narrow lanes into the kerb:

63km/h in a 50km/h Zone on the N80 Main Street, Stradbally, Laois:

Stradbally is not bypassed so this is a national road but on a main street the there should be a better balance even without a bypass. The problems include:

  • Hatching which should be other use, ie cycle path, trees/planting, wider footpath etc.
  • Needlessly wide generally and extra-wide sections.
  • Needlessly wide junctions especially given the needlessly wide areas on the main street to turn in and out of.
  • Not enough crossings and no raised crossings. If, for example, Ballaghaderreen managed to have raised crossing on its main street before it was bypased, why not Stradbally? Is road safety more of a priority in Roscommon than in Laois?
  • Innaproate use of rural-like egde line-markings in an urban area. There should really be no side-of-road line markings on a main street.
  • Even the traffic-focused Traffic Signs Manual does not recommend edge of carriageway markings in urban areas with kerbs:

59km/h in a 50km/h Zone on the Brideswell, Athlone, Westmeath:

The problems include:

  • Athlone is long bypassed but no real change of function is apparent.
  • Huge stretch with no pedestrian crossing in urban area.
  • Hatching inappropriate to urban area.
  • Turning lanes where demand is likely low.
  • Mini-hatching is just like extra lane width.
  • Rollercoaster footpath give a greater sense of motoring priority.
  • Again: Innaproate use of rural-like egde line-markings in an urban area.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: