COMMENT & ANALYSIS: What would a quick-build cycle route in Dublin look like if we were starting to take climate action on transport seriously? On a route like the city centre to Ballymun, I think it would need:
- Wide enough agreement that it would be good not just for climate action but for communities, for health, for accessibility and mobility.
- An acceptance that car traffic has been reduced in the city centre and that it would be a good thing that it would be reduced further in the city centre and beyond the centre.
- Acceptance that space is taken away from both traffic lanes and even sometimes sections of bus lanes or even small bits of wider footpaths (although like BusConnects is planning in some of the busiest locations).
- That a bus gate can be trialled in Phibsborough and that to be seen as a better form of bus priority than bus gates,
- Support from councillors, TDs, community groups, schools etc along the route.
- Willingness from Dublin City Council to design it well and install it quickly.
- Acceptance that the current BusConnect Ballymun to City Centre BusConnects for Phibsborough where the plan is centred around removing space for walking and cycling is not acceptable in such a high-density area which is lined up for even higher density.
- Ministerial direction to tell the NTA to allow this to happen, and hold off on Ballymun to City Centre BusConnects.
- Acceptance that two-way cycle paths as used in London, Paris and some Dutch cities are the best way to quickly retrofit continuous cycle routes into an Irish streetscape.
Too much to ask for? Unfortunately, substantial climate action will be hard to implement even when the benefits are strong.
The following are the kind of interventions and road space reallocation required:
The route could start in the City Centre linking to a previous suggestion contained in the article: ‘How do you solve a problem like space for cycling on Dublin’s O’Connell Street?‘. But these could be too separate projects and many city centre changes are needed and are planned.
A continuous route could transform the Phibsborough Road from this:
(Please excuse some not very proportionally accurate Photoshopping)
To something like this:
For an area with a bus stop to be transformed from something like this:
To something like this — this shows cars as I’m not being prescriptive about how the bus gate would work or at which point it would stop motorists, but with any bus gate set up, it’s unlikely motorists would be able to drive southbound here:
Or with a bit of greenery:
And it would transform this:
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To something like this:
This is a proportionally accurate look at how the current space between the footpaths could be reallocated:
And the following are the same for a selection of locations along the road:
The northern section of Phibsborough Road, north of the shopping centre area:
Cross Guns Bridge
In a case like this it would be recommended to slightly eat into the wide eastern footpath to get to a width of a little over 3 metres wide for the cycle paths:
Botanic Road at Harts Corner
Botanic Road at the Botanic Gardens
The question is: Will Dublin be brave enough for action like this anytime soon?