Clontarf route update: Progress advancing on inbound side of project

Comment & Analysis: Parts of the Clontarf to City Centre Cycle and Bus route project are now starting to shape up — the work is more advanced on the east or inbound side of the road, with work starting to ramp up on the western side more as the other side is finished.

You might also want to read the article back in March based on the latest design drawings for the route. That article concluded that the Clontarf cycle route will be better than previous Dublin City projects, but new routes need to be even better, and also planned and built faster. This article will cover the reality of what is being built, including some of the issues which were obvious from the drawings.

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Some of the work is more complicated than it might look if you’re just passing by on a bike or in a car or bus. An example of that is under the Loopline Railway bridge where it starts at Connolly Station where a cantilever system is being installed to make off-road space for both the cycle path and footpath:

I’m still not sure how the four lanes planned here will fit between the bridge pillars, maybe with the realignment of the approaches it will fit? Previously it was two lanes northbound and a rather wide lane northbound which could fit two cars side-by-side but, for example, not a bus and a truck. Currently, it’s three narrow enough lanes and this temporary space for pedestrians:

As pointed out in previous articles, there are cases where walking and cycling are mixed needlessly. Such as at this crossing over to Buckingham Street Lower:

It should be noted that while many sections of the route look finished, it is mostly still under construction and not cyclable.

A lot of areas along the route will get wider footpaths and extra greenery, like the example below.

Although there are some acute examples of footpaths being narrowed to fit everything in, thankfully mainly over short distances (these are mainly on the other side of the road where work hasn’t started yet), and the main result is generally wider footpaths.

Bus stops are being upgraded with new shelters.

Note the red tactile paving = controlled crossings. Draft plans show traffic lights show double sets of traffic lights at most of the 12 bus stops along the route.

Also read this article published earlier today: Department of Transport needs to intervene in scaremongering-led design for cycle paths at bus stops.

Sadly, there are some signs of vandalism already:

The rectangular shape in the surface in the foreground is for where the traffic light push button pole is planned — adding to obstructions for pedestrians:

This is an image of another stop showing the seating from the bus side of the bus stop:

There’s still active work with the water main and other underground services at different points — anybody not just zooming by in a car should understand that this project is much more than adding cycle tracks. This is at the junction of the Five Lamps:

This is another section across from the Five Lamps which is also almost finished, but until sections north and south of it are also finished, there’s no point trying to open this up to cycling yet:

Just south of the Royal Canal is another example where there was substantial engineering work to widen the road:

At the bridge over the canal, the inbound cycle path will be where the footpath was and pedestrians will use the pedestrian bridge built ahead of this project:

The old wall north of the canal has been reinstated — the cycle path will run inside the wall:

When passing later than afternoon the contractors were laying the cycle path surface:

This is a really awkward angle for cycling from the cycle track to the side street — the bend in the cycle track plus the kerb angle don’t make for a good combination.

A possible solution is the drop kerb being extended to around where the man is standing in the image below.

This is also around the location where a bus stop was omitted with the longest walk to the next stop. This is being blamed on the cycle route, yet, a bus stop could have fit where this parking bay is located:

There is new greenery already in place along the project, with more to follow — so, again, not just a cycle route.

The continuous footpaths over minor side roads are an excellent feature of the project.

Although, the surface levels are a bit odd with some examples — the roadway in the side street should be lower than the continuous footpath and the surface on the crossing shouldn’t be higher than on the footpath on one side.

This is a reasonably level section of road, but maybe there’s a localised issue?

Various sections are at different stages of development:

At the bridge over the River Tolka, the cycle path and footpath share a level surface with no delineation yet obvious which might help guild people with visual impairments:

Work is ongoing on finishing the inbound Fairview Park section of the route, but the section which is open has not changed much since this video was taken in April:

I still cannot get over the choices made here along the edge of Fairview Park — there are three crossing points in close succession in this image. This is beside the pedestrian overpass and bus stops beside it.

The first (closest to the camera in this image) has dropped kerbs but no markings at all, while the other two crossings are raised crossings with motorway-like rumble strips (a bit overkill) and yield markings… the yield markings are confusing and the choice should be between yield markings or traffic lights, it cannot be both.

Why have three formal crossing points along this section? Or, if you’re going to have three, why not make them all equal?

Most of the times I’ve visited this spot is off-peak, yet the closer unmarked crossing point seems to be popular… Why did the designers of the route miss so many of these walking and cycling desire lines?

With so much focus on people crossing bus stops, the contrast of the entrance to the Westwood gym is glaring.

It’s a really wide open area, with no restraints on this wide open space, no likelihood of rumble strips aimed at motorists being added, and it’s not even a raised crossing from the perspective of motorists exiting the gym.

There are no traffic lights here or at other locations along the route to aid pedestrians to cross as that would hold up traffic on the road

This section of the route from the two-way cycle path in Clontarf to Irish Rail’s Clontarf Dart station, the Westwood and Fairview Park, has a strong desire line for two-way cycling but it’s only unidirectional and there are no obvious crossing points along this section of the route aimed at cyclists.

There’s ample space along here for at least having cycling crossing points. Without such, the temptation will be strong here to cycle against the flow or on the path.

As with most of the other junctions, the junction at the northern end is still under construction:

Work seems advanced on much of the inbound side of the route, so, it shouldn’t be too much longer before longer sections are opened up to be cycled on…

5 comments

  1. Excellent report. Something very rum about the removal of a bus stop in a densely populated area of low car ownership to put in new car parking. Qui bono? The owner of most of the derelict buildings along the North Strand perhaps? Should we expect a new planning permission application?

    Reply
  2. Will there be new traffic lights to allow pedestrians/bikes to cross from Fairview Park to the shops and vice versa? I haven’t seen signs of any which if not done would be a disaster. It’s so hard to cross the 4 lanes of traffic and the over ridge is a nightmare, takes ages to cross. The only set of lights is ages away, up by the exit for Malahide Rd. Many people just chance it and try to run across the traffic, me included. Please tell me the new cycle lane will help pedestrians in Fairview!

    Reply
    • Hi Lucy, yes, there will be new crossings. These likely won’t be installed until the work on the other side of the road is progressed near completion.

      Reply

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