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NTA BusConnects designers want to institutionalise loading across narrow footpaths and cycle tracks

— NTA has not responded to questions on safety and accessibility.

Designers working on the Government’s key BusConnects project want to institutionalise loading across what would be made into narrow footpaths and cycle tracks rather than having loading in bus lanes off-peak.

This would effectively institutionalise what is currently illegal behaviour which affects the safety and accessibility of people using footpaths and cycle tracks.

IMAGE: The document was released under Freedom of Information.

The details are contained in the National Transport Authority’s Preliminary Design Guidance Booklet for BusConnects Core Bus Corridors. The document was released under a Freedom of Information request by a member of the public who provided it to IrishCycle.com.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) design manual shows examples of loading bays designs on Main Street, Bray and Camden High Street in London that use part of the footpaths in both locations. But these designs are examples of time-limited loading bays on extra-wide footpaths where the extra space is available outside of loading.

The pictured example of loading bays (shown below) is around 2 metres plus and what looks to be 8 metres plus of footpath space when the loading bays are in use.

The NTA has not responded to a set of questions — sent originally on August 23 — such as why it is trying to apply this design to more confined areas, what safety analyses it has conducted, what accessibility analyses it has conducted, what legal provisions allows for this design, and why would loading not just take place in a loading bay off-peak.

IMAGE: Examples of similar designs in non-confined locations. The NTA did not respond as to why it is trying to implement these designs in confined locations.

The design would see delivery trucks and vans driving over a cycle track and up onto a footpath leaving just 1.2 metres between the vehicles and the front of shops.

The design drawings show that the loading bay would leave a 1.25 metres cycle track, but this would include not just cycling on the kerb but also include the section of the kerb sloping down to the carriageway level where buses would be passing by.

Below is a quote and screenshot from the BusConnects example loading bay straddling a footpath and cycle track as shown in the NTA’s Preliminary Design Guidance Booklet for BusConnects Core Bus Corridors:

The design guidance states: “In confined locations it may be appropriate to provide a part-time loading bay to operate at off-peak periods (such as 10am to 12pm) and it may be necessary for the loading bay to partly straddle the footpath and cycle tracks so long as a clear passage is provided on both sides. Figure 13b shows a proposed cross section detail for a loading bay in a confined location.”

IrishCycle.com asked first asked the NTA about the design on August 23, a follow-up email was sent to the NTA on October 6 with added questions on another design, and a follow up to this was sent on October 11. This last email was acknowledged and it was said that the questions were sent to the BusConnects team.

Seven days ago on October 15, IrishCycle.com once again checked with the NTA if it wanted to respond to the questions. No reply has been received since.

These are the questions sent to the NTA:

  • Can the NTA please explain what legal provision it is using to design loading bays straddling footpaths and cycle tracks?
  • Has the NTA conducted any safety analyses of this design?
  • Has the NTA conducted any accessibility analyses of this design? Including accounting for bicycles used by people with disabilities and mobility devices using the footpaths?
  • The text in the images states the design is “to provide a part-time loading bay to operate at off-peak periods (such as 10am to 12pm)”. In such off-peak cases, why would loading not just be provided for on the carriageway?
  • Does the NTA accept that the example it gives of loading bays designs on Main Street, Bray and Camden High Street have footpaths inside these loading bays of 2 metres plus and what looks to be 8 metres plus? Why is the NTA trying to apply this design to more confined areas?

IrishCycle.com is happy to add a response from the NTA if it is forthcoming after the publication of this article.

MORE: Preliminary Design Guidance Booklet for BusConnects Core Bus Corridors (PDF)

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Cian Ginty
Editor, IrishCycle.com

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