Cycle routes linking residential areas to schools in Limerick will not allow children to cycle beside their children and includes “a confused mess” according to local campaigners.
Part VIII public consultation for the Fr Russell Road Cycle Scheme Phase 1 and Part VIII – R510 Quinn’s Cross to Raheen Roundabout both end today at 4pm.
With the first route, the Limerick Cycling Campaign said that they support the Fr Russell Road Cycle Scheme Phase 1 but that they have concerns about design details including the width of cycle paths along the route, what they see as the needless removal of trees at one bus stop, and the use of plastic bollards on a permanent cycle route.
Dave Tobin, in the Limerick Cycling Campaign’s submission to the project, said: “The cycle lanes are only 1550mm wide, bordered by raised kerbs on both sides. Using the width calculator from the National Cycle Manual, this layout requires a clearance zone of 250mm on the nearside and 500mm on the offside. This route is also on an incline and connects to a number of schools so an additional 250mm is required. That leaves a usable safe cycling regime of 750mm-1000mm.”
Cycle paths of at least two metres wide are recommended in Irish and international standards to allow for people cycling side-by-side and overtaking.
He said: This is unacceptable in the context of a route serving schools where families will need the space to cycle together. All cycle routes should allow people to comfortably and safely cycle two abreast.”
He said that this issue is amplified due to the use of an “unforgiving raised kerb” beside the cycle track which “poses a risk of falling into the carriageway for any cyclist who catches their wheel on it.”
The campaign also questioned why a new bus bay is needed opposite Belvedere Court along the route.
Tobin said: “Why are 4-5 mature trees are being removed to ‘allow for the bus stop’? Why is a bus bay
being created where none exists or is needed? To propose the removal of these trees shows a complete lack of understanding of the role these trees play in urban environments. The overall design lacks concern for the visual impact this scheme will have along this route but the proposal to remove these trees is staggering. There is no need for a bus bay here. The on-road bus stop should remain in its existing location.”
He said that the planned Racefield Roundabout design is “a confused mess for cyclists”.
Tobin said: “The crossing points for cyclists and pedestrians are way off the desire lines. The short stretch of cycle tracks between the crossing points is once again, another ‘standard’ implementation we see regularly that doesn’t appear in any design guidance manuals. The tactile paving specified is incorrect. While the removal of the slip lane into Oakfield is welcomed, we would recommend a redesign of this roundabout.”
The campaign also questioned why plastic bollards are pictured in the photomontages for the project.
Tobin said: “We would hope that a highly visible, high-cost and permanent scheme like this would not use bollards. Bollards should only be used as a temporary measure to provide protection until a permanent solution is provided. We already have too many bollards in place around the city, let’s not add to them.”
R510 Quinn’s Cross to Raheen Roundabout project
Another project proposed by Limerick City and County Council also has design flaws according to cycling campaigners.
In his personal submission, local campaigner, Leo Dillon, said: “According to guidelines set out in the National Cycle Manual, to allow for single file + overtaking the lane would need to be 2000mm at a minimum”.
He said if following all the extra reasons for adding width on a cycle path, including being beside a school, the cycle path would be 2.5 metres wide.
On this, he added: “The ability for people to be able to cycle safely and comfortably two abreast is critical to the success of any cycle route and especially those that service primary schools where parents are likely to cycle with their children. The first two lines in the NCM are as follows: ‘The ‘cycling offer’ within urban areas must be improved to encourage more people to cycle, including those who are risk-averse. The goal is now to ‘raise the bar’ and to aim to provide for two-abreast cycling in a stress free and safe environment.'”
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