A review is to be undertaken of barriers where cyclists are being told to dismount at barriers beside the €215 million upgrade to the Dunkettle Interchange, a junction linking the M8, N8, N40, and N25 just east of Cork City.
The barriers go against the direction from transport Minister Eamon Ryan who has outlined how cycle routes should include “universal access” and “free-flow of cycling”.
Conn Donovan, a former chairperson and member of the Cork Cycling Campaign, said: “It seems illogical that people cycling have to dismount their bicycles, or turn back if using a cargo bike or trike because the design team didn’t consider alternative ways to prevent motorised vehicles driving onto a greenway.”
Guidance issued from the Department of Transport and circulated by Transport Infrastructure Ireland — which heads the Dunkettle project — said access control measures “must be provided in a manner which ensures universal access (including for people with disabilities) and the free-flow of cycling” and “Where an access control point does not meet these requirements, it is considered noncompliant.”
In a letter dated February 2022, Geraldine Fitzpatrick, head of Roads Capital Programme and Regional Management at TII said: “In the case where there are existing Greenway accesses that restrict movement for users, their location should in the first instance be notified to TII via TII’s Regional Manager. A design and cost estimate should then be prepared and submitted for consideration for funding.”
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In an email reply this week to Donovan, the Road Construction Team of the Dunkettle project said that the barriers seemed like the ideal solution to them but they have now committed to reviewing the barriers.
The email said: “We have brought your comments to the attention of our Contractor who, in addition to the building work, has responsibility for detailed design. We have asked him to revert to us with his comments as quickly as possible. In parallel, we will also carry our own review – on completion both reviews we will be in contact you again with a more detailed reply.”
“As a matter of interest, the kissing gates [chicane barriers] at the southern end of the cycleway, near the Dunkettle House entrance, were installed due to concerns raised regarding excessive cyclist speed on the downhill section issues were also raised here regarding cars inadvertently traversing the cycleway (This happened on at least 1 occasion),” the reply from the project team said
“At the northern end at the Dunkettle cul-de-sac, the kissing gates were installed following concerns from local residents regarding excessive speed on the cycleway and regarding minimising the risk of motorbikes using the cycleway.”
The project team added: “At the time, the kissing gates seemed to us to be the ideal solution at both ends. However, we note your comments and we will, as noted above, carry out a full review and revert as quickly as possible.”