— Raised zebra crossings cost around “half the price” of installing a signalised crossing.
Five zebra crossings are to be installed by Dublin City Council with a further eight planned to follow this, with a preference for having raised crossings.
The plan follows the work of the Zebra Crossing Working Group, a sub-group of the city council’s transport committee. It represents the council slowly moving away from its unwritten policy against using zebra crossings.
Zebra crossings are much cheaper to install and maintain than fully signalised pedestrian crossings, although are not a suitable replacement for all signalised crossings, such as those at signalised junctions.
The city council currently only has three zebra crossings installed on its public roads and streets — at Strand Street Great in Dublin 1, Belmont Ave in Dublin 4, and Donore Ave in Dublin 8. The locations of the new crossings are outlined at the end of this article.
Dublin City behind curve on zebra crossings
While zebra crossing went out of favour with road traffic engineers, there has been a resurgence of their use in the last 20 years, mainly outside of Dublin and Cork. Dublin City is also behind other Dublin councils, with over 20 zebra crossings installed in both the South Dublin County Council and Fingal County Council areas.
IrishCycle.com has documented nearly 700 zebra crossings with beacons. This website has also recorded around 150 without beacons on significant enough roads and streets which are publically accessible (excluding inside car parks).
Even with the extra five planned crossings, the number of zebra crossings on public roads and streets in the Dublin City Council area will still not exceed the number in many towns around the country, including in Athlone, Portlaoise, or Ballina.
And even when the full 13 extra crossings are installed, the city council will not exceed the number in towns such as Tullamore, Ennis, Tralee, Dungarvan, Enniscorthy, or Wexford.
Not part of trial without beacons
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A report to the city’s transport committee notes that the council is not taking part in the zebra crossing trial currently taking place in other parts of the country to examine not using Belisha beacons, which are a requirement for zebra crossings in Ireland.
This national-level trial is split into two — a National Transport Authority-run trial being run with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, and Limerick City and County Council which replaces the flashing orange Belisha beacons with two different signs, and a Transport Infrastructure Ireland-run trial with no signs at all, being run with Donegal County Council.
The Dublin City Council transport committee have been presented with a report written by Zebra Crossing Working Group chairperson, Cllr Janet Horner and Karen Hosie, a senior transportation officer with the council.
The two said: “In relation to universal access the issue was raised by members of the committee in relation to the current operation of a zebra crossing is based on the principle that a vehicle should yield to a pedestrian that has stepped off the kerb and is starting to cross. Some members of the community who cannot make physical eye contact with approaching vehicles may be unsure when to step off the crossing. To address this issue the group agreed that initially Zebra Crossing would not replace signalised crossing on vehicle-trafficked streets and also that traffic calming measures such as crossing on a raised platform, for slowing vehicles on the approach to should be implemented where possible.”
They said: “The other main issue discussed related to the cost of installation. Initial costing were carried out based on a universal design for the installation of mains-powered and solar-powered crossing with and without a crossing ramp. In all cases, the cost of installation is approximately half the price of installing a signalised pedestrian crossing.”
The Zebra Crossing Working Group also recommended that there should be a review six months after the installation of the first five crossings and that should include the actual costs versus the installation of a signalised crossing, and a before and after speed survey.
It also said that an “awareness campaign should be launched to remind members of the public of the operation of zebra crossings”.
List of first 13 crossings
The following locations were listed as where the first 13 crossings are planned to be installed:
- Mercer Street/Johnson’s Court junction
- Johnson Place/Stephen
- Harrington St/Synge St Junction Potential Zebra
- Mountjoy Square East – Charles St Great
- Church Avenue at Rathmines Road
- Seafort Ave Dromard Terrace
- Seán MacDermott Street @ Buckingham Street
- Ravensdale Park @ Poddle Park
- Talbot Street @ James Joyce Street
- Abbey Street Luas Stop
- Ryder’s Row @ Capel Street
- St. Cancies boys school, Ballygall Road West
- St Ciaran’s special needs school on St Cancies Rd