Cork is reallocating some space but kind of fudging it at junctions

Comment & Analysis: About a decade ago, when this website was still called “Cycling in Dublin’, I remember writing about how if councils were mixing walking and cycling on “shared footpaths” that people shouldn’t be surprised if cyclists also cycled on footpaths.

“Shared footpaths” basically footpaths but where a sign was put up to allow cycling. Beside the signs there’s little or no different between a footpath and most ‘shared footpaths’. A footpath in Ireland is a path for pedestrians along side a carriageway, unlike in the UK, it’s not a path away from a road way.

A decade or so on and spending has been ramped up for walking and cycling, but councils still are giving up at junctions.

The National Cycle Manual outlines how “design should ensure that the bicycle does not ‘pop out of nowhere’ into the middle of traffic, or a pedestrian environment. Rather, the change in direction of the bicycle through the transition must be designed so that it anticipated and understood by the other road users, as well as the cyclist.”

Local campaigners highlighted these issues ahead of construction of the MacCurtain Street project, which includes the parallel quays and streets joining them.

There is poor legibility in the design of the transitions from (a) one cycle path to another and (b) from other roads to the cycle paths.

The gap in the cycle paths referenced in the video in the second tweet above was in the drawings for the project, and so is the footpath transition to the cycle path circled here in yellow:

The new cycle paths provided along Cork’s quays, mostly as part of the MacCurtain Street project, are generally level with the footpaths.

While some people who walk and/or cycle won’t mind this design, even a minimal level different and/or forgiving kerbs would be better than this design for visual impaired people and others who need more legibility in how space is marked out:

If kerbs are used, it makes designing other elements a bit more difficult. For example, this acute angle isn’t really an issue with a level surface, but it is if there were kerbs between the cycle and footpath. This is however a fixable detail.

Here’s some examples of the project drawings and photos of what been built so-far…

At Lavitt’s Quay this crossing could have been kept as separate crossings linking over to Emmett Place — there was no space constraint here, this was a choice:

Although it’s not clear how much will be changed (the cycle path is unfinished), but the area at the south bank of the Mary Elmes Bridge is still a shared surface when the plan shows it as a cycle path:

The contra-flow cycle track leading up to Railway Street also merges with the footpath before Railway Street when there’s no reason for this to happen:

A maybe minor issue is that on junctions where the two-way paths along the quays drop down to carrageway level, the feel of the design is temporary with painted line and plastic bollards:

Elsewhere in the city centre, the new cycle track on South Mall is not level with the footpath, but it merges with footpaths at both ends:

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