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A lot of walking and cycling money, without focus, will bring a lot of waste

COMMENT & ANALYSIS: The Green Party has to be commended for securing €360 million for walking and cycling, but there are many ways this can be wasted. A huge amount of focus and change of mindsets is needed to stop that from happening.

This is a stunning example. Can this be justified in any way? A fully signalised pedestrian crossing on Grangegorman Lower?

Fully signalised pedestrian crossings can cost around €50,000-€100,000 or more each (depending on location etc). Zebra crossings cost significantly less (usually around two thirds the price) to install and also less to maintain.

On Grangegorman Lower through traffic has been blocked. The location where the crossing was put is a mini-low traffic area. Just beyond the crossing in this photo is very limited motor traffic access to the Grangegorman Bring Centre and controlled access to the TU Dublin campus:

The crossing does not even line up with the pedestrian desire line from one side of the campus to the other:

There is car access beyond the crossing as far as the bring centre. But the car pictured to the right of the last image seemed to be a U-turn because it was not clear that Grangegorman Lower is a dead-end for motorists — the signage used before the crossing is unclear, confusing and too small.

It’s a pedestrian street sign with “access and pedestrians” as exceptions — this makes little sense as the through-access is allowed for bicycles and pedestrians don’t need to be listed as exceptions on pedestrian streets.

The above picture is actually the second fully signalised pedestrian crossing recently installed on Grangegorman Lower — there’s another just north of the building pictured in the first image above.

This crossing makes slightly more sense as there’s slightly more traffic here, but there’s still very low volumes of traffic for a fully signalised crossing.

This can be contrasted with the fact that there are no crossings at the north end of Grangegroman where Rathdown Road and Grangegroman Upper meet the North Circular Road. The traffic volumes using these side roads junctions don’t justify anything above a raised crossing point, and the same can be said about the centre of Grangegorman.


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The contrast is even worse at the south end of Grangegorman where Grangegorman Lower meets North Brunswick Street — this is a signalised junction but there’s no formal pedestrian crossing across the end of Grangegorman Lower and it has higher volumes of traffic:

It can be said that that’s part of another project or that councils don’t have enough staff etc, but if the reasoning for installing fully signalised pedestrian crossings in the centre of Grangegorman is people with disabilities, then would their safety and access not benefit from focusing where the need is stronger first?

The lack of a crossing at where Grangegorman Lower meets North Brunswick Street is just one of the many issues for safety and accessibility — tactile slabs are missing from all of the junctions mentions above and also where Grangegroman Lower meets Kirwan Street and other minor streets within Grangegorman. Outside the one private entrance, there’s historic cobblestones which are wheelchair and pram unfriendly.

The Kirwan Street street junction could do with it’s own mini-redesign to slow the remaining traffic down and to allow pedestrians to cross in all directions.

And these issues are just the issues in Grangegorman. Many more exist around it in the local area and beyond it in other parts of the north inner city.

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3 comments

  1. Actually yes it is essential for vulnerable pedestrians something you constantly don’t appreciate. It would be the same as saying putting in a proper segregated wide cycle track along Parnell square west is a waste it. It works for the user group it’s designed for . Pedestrian crossings and proper cycling infrastructure should be something we both want not one over the other

    Reply
    • Nice attempt at an ad hominem attack (aka playing the man and not the ball), but the article already deals with this issue. If a fully signalised crossing is required at such a low-traffic location, then — going by that logic — every little side road will need to be signalised.

      Arguing for fully signalised crossings everywhere a new change is being made (rather than on a case-by-case basis) is not without unintended consequences. Time, resources and funding are not unlimited and would be better spent on other interventions for pedestrians. I’ve outlined a load of issues in Grangegorman, there are loads more issues in need of addressing more urgently on streets and roads around Grangegorman and beyond it.

      Comparing it to a segregated cycle path on Parnell Square West is a false equivalence. A cycle path is more comparable to a footpath than a crossing and the traffic volumes on Parnell Square West are not comparable.

      As for “Pedestrian crossings and proper cycling infrastructure should be something we both want not one over the other” — that’s another strawman argument. The article focuses on pedestrian interventions and the many things which would be a better use of funding. I’m not the one pitting walking and cycling against each other.

      Reply
  2. Generally, I think criticizing the notion of politicians throwing money around recklessly without imagination (for votes) is valid. Its very common with politicians. Public spending inside this Grangegorman campus is for the comparatively better-off of us. I also think that poorer people living in that area outside the campus have many and more serious needs where public spending could be better placed.

    Reply

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