Draft Clontarf to City Centre plan includes 2x traffic lights over cycle paths at 12 bus stops

— Traffic lights installed across cycle paths at Liffey Valley have become the butt of jokes.
— Two crossings, four traffic light poles and utility boxes to be placed at each stop.
— Rumble strips and flashing LED lights also proposed for cycle paths.

Dublin City Council has refused a Freedom of Information request to release the current drawings for bus stop designs on the Clontarf to City Centre, but a draft drawing shown to councillors late last year shows two fully signalised crossings at all of the 12 bus stops on the project.

...IrishCycle.com's reader-funded journalism won't survive without your help. With over 762,000 views so-far this year, it's not just "avid cyclists" who read this website, but, if you want it to keep going, more support is needed from readers like you. Now, back to the article...

UPDATED: The day after Dublin City Council replied to the FOI request, they updated the project drawings for the route. These drawings also show signalised crossings at each bus stop, although are less detailed than the draft bus stop drawings in this article.

Segregated cycle paths at bus stops, after being rolled out on routes across London, are viewed to be safe by Transport for London. But highly edited videos shared by UK-based groups which are against segregated cycle routes have been used by some people in Irish disability groups to spread fear and oppose plans for cycle paths in Ireland.

In London, a general design of a raised crossing with zebra crossing markings without beacons is recommended by authorities to slow cyclists and make pedestrian priority clear.

IMAGE: Traffic lights were recently installed on narrow cycle paths as part of the BusConnects interchange project at Liffey Valley. The signalised crossings, which are strangely marked with zebra crossing markings, were featured in the media for their comic value.

Officials from Dublin City Council told this website a number of times last year that the drawings for the Clontarf route project would be published soon, but this never materialised — in June, an official said that “An updated image will be uploaded in the next few weeks” and in August that “The bus stop drawings will be published soon, as they are going through some final drafting.”

A response to the FOI request last late week, the council said: “The bus stop design is yet to be finalised and currently going through an approval process and therefore isn’t yet available for release.”

But a draft design for cycle paths at bus stops was outlined at Central Area Committee as part of a presentation of the proposed separate project, the two-way cycle path linking Alfie Byrne Road with East Road.

The project engineer for the Alfie Byrne Road and East Wall Road project said that they want to copy whatever design is used on the Clontarf route.

Alec Dundon, a senior executive engineer with the council, told councillors in November that: “We feel that it’s very important that whatever detail we provide on East Wall Road is consistent with what’s on the Clontarf to City Centre scheme.”

“The proposals involve signalised crossings similar to what’s shown in this detail here where the cyclists are controlled by signals — we’d propose to adopt that on our scheme as well. Also, the idea is to have in advance [of the bus stop] is to put in rumble strips, that there will be LED strip lighting in advance as well and all of these measures are designed to slow the cyclists down on the approach to the island bus stops,” he said.

Dundon added: “As we speak, I know there’s still conversations going on between the NTA and the Department of Transport about getting the legislation in place to allow for the signalisation of these island bus stops, and there’s still also consultation going on within in the Clontarf to City Centre scheme about the details of the scheme”.

At least some of the same disability campaigners who are against cycle paths at bus stops — and also cycling campaigners — seem doubtful of the proposed solution of traffic lights across cycle paths of usually less than 2 metres wide will be in any way effective.

There is also a history of measures aimed at cyclists generally ending up mostly or only impacting disabled users of cycle paths.

According to documents released after an FOI request, Dublin City Council has not consulted with any disability group or individuals from the perspective of disabled users of bicycles or mobility devices who will use the cycle paths.

A summary of the input from the Voice of the Visually Impaired outlines how the group wants people cycling dumped into bus lanes to mix with buses pulling into the stops. The groups otherwise looked for rumble strips, LED lighting, straight full-height kerbs and other measures.

A summary of the Irish Wheelchair Association submission made a distinction between people with disabilities and cyclists as if no cyclists have disabilities and as if people with other mobility devices do not use cycle paths. They said that the fear of being hit by cyclists is real.

Cycle design experts point out that narrowing cycle paths — including by the use of straight high kerbs and traffic light poles close to the path — can cause more conflict rather than solve any issues. This is because there’s less space to avoid cyclist/pedestrian collisions when one type of user or another makes a mistake.

IrishCycle.com requested any assessments or other reports on how measures, such as kerb types and rumble strips, will impact on cyclists and other disabled users of the cycle paths. The council said: “Any feature of the cycle track included to alert cyclists on approach to this crossing, will be designed so as not to unduly interfere with wheelchairs, both adapted and normal cycles, and cargo bikes/trikes and mobility devices.”

In relation to this, the council made reference to the PDFs marked Q4 Records, but as far as IrishCycle.com can tell, none of these records includes assessments of how the design elements will impact on users of the cycle path.

Asked for any assessments of the effectiveness of any measures planned, ie in-ground LEDs lights, rumble strips, traffic lights across two-metre or narrow cycle tracks etc, and Dublin City Council said: “A length of LED lighting was installed parallel to a stop line at Blackhall Place and found to be effective.” No reference was made to the effectiveness of rumble strips or traffic lights.

Meanwhile, the council’s contractors have started to place planting, including child-height bushes just ahead of the crossings, obstructing the view of the crossing. See the embedded tweet below.

Draft drawings from June 2022 and November 2022

The images below, the first released under FOI and the second shown to councillors shows, two signalised traffic lights crossings to be put in place at each bus stop along the Clontarf to City Centre project:

Recent images of a bus stop along the Clontarf route

The cycle path surface is unfinished and the traffic signal poles are yet to be installed:

Same location after planting obscured crossing location:

ALSO READ: Liffey Valley BusConnects project is wake-up call for better design for walking and cycling

Clarification: The article originally said a response to the FOI request this week, it should have said last late week and this has been corrected.

3 comments

  1. If this bicycle control medley at bus stops was a good idea, the Dutch would have been doing it decades ago. Whatever happened to the National Cycle Manual design concept of conferring advantage on the bicycle: “Designing in such a way that cyclists have priority or advantage over other modes,e.g. in terms of more direct routes, reduced delay, lanes approaching signals …”? So basically as a cyclists I am penalised by using the cycle track: I have to go up and down annoying ramps, swerve around road studs, hope I dont suffer a front wheel slip on the zebra marking and stop at a pointless red light potentially twice over a short distance. All of a sudden the footpath starts to look more attractive or even that nice smooth straight stretch of blacktop that car drivers get to enjoy and so we have a failed design… but at least the mobility-impaired lobbyists will be kept happy and that’s all that matters, right?

    Reply
  2. @Cian you’ve mentioned this before – but why does the cycle path narrow when you are just about to approach people on an island? I have panniers, can imagine a kid running out, no room to manouevre or brake properly, then I’m swerving, falling, and colliding with either pavement or person. Stupid.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.