Redesign of junction at Eden Quay and Customs House Quay just doesn’t work

Comment & Analysis: Even with the bus stops on the inside of the cycle lane, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so safe cycling on Eden Quay but also my slowest ever cycle on it. The removal of the slip turn has to be welcomed for the safety of both pedestrians and cyclists, but the design and traffic light arrangement chosen just doesn’t work for any road user.

First off is a short view of cycling along Eden Quay just before Christmas:

You can find the drawings for the rest of the quay in a previous article, this is the key drawing for the junction:

Most pedestrians are walking to the traffic islands — many are also doing this on the other side of the road where they have to cross the contra-flow bus lane to get to the island.

There’s some grand theory that using traffic lights to govern the interaction between people cycling and pedestrians is safer and better but it doesn’t really work when it hits the reality of how all road users use roads and streets. The reality is that people don’t behave in the way which is thought about by engineers or some people who are fearmongering about the risk from cyclists.

It’s also worse for pedestrians in terms of safety and convenience.

Having people cross the width of five lanes plus islands is not safer or easier, especially not for people with disabilities, older people or anybody who cannot move as fast for one reason or another.

Having separate traffic light phases for everybody means everybody will be slowed here, including bus users and car users.

When I was there there was also an issue with motorists getting confused and then a two others following them — this might not be a common issue, but it seems to make it clearer that the cycle lanes are such needs to be done.


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And, while there’s really nothing that can be done about buses pulling in and out, out-of-service buses sitting in such a central place as Eden Quay (which shouldn’t be happening) means it’s more likely that in-service buses will be forced to stop in the cycle lane.

Some cyclists will also exit or not enter the cycle lane so they can legally avoid the bicycle traffic lights and others will break the lights. Even with the current setup, it’s confusing why the left turn for cycling cannot run at the same time as motorists turning left:

10 comments

  1. We can clearly see in the video that left turning cyclists are being unnecessarily held on a red light and that cyclists were ignoring it. If cycle signals appear pointless here for cyclists then the wider cycle signal network just loses respect. This can then become a problem at less safe locations where cyclists really do need to stop. Take a look at Dutch YouTube vids of cycle tracks through signalised junctions: cycle movements/interactions that do not need to be signalised are left that way with free flow and retention of bicycle momentum facilitated. Cyclists are held on red only when they need to be and let go on green when they don’t (yes it’s that simple) and there is general respect for the signals from cyclists as a result.

    Reply
    • Great point. Blackrock Park has designed a great soft-segregated cycle/pedestrian path. Separated by a line and different textures/colours for pedestrians/cyclists. No traffic signals, but clear Yield markings in favour of pedestrians at any point where there might possibly be conflict. I’ve never seen any problems on it. When I was in Copenhagen last year it took me a few hours to realise that there was no point jaywalking like I do in Ireland – because the traffic signals for pedestrians are so responsive and fast. I could see people glaring at me the first few times I dashed across thinking no point waiting 2 mins for a pedestrian green – then I understood why. Assigning priority in practice is the real issue in Ireland as we all know.

      Reply
  2. Hang on! I just looked at the timing. Red for cyclists for at least 1min 35 secs? Red light comes on screen at approx 25 secs in (so might have been there longer) and changes to green at 2mins? This also doesn’t account for the physics and physical effort of cycling and how it feels to be out in the cold/rain/wind, cooling down, stationary, for that length of time, all momentum lost and then having to start up again, in many cases on one’s own steam.

    Reply
    • Agreed, but what surprised me most was that there was a left turning lane of traffic while the bikes were held at a red light – would it not have made sense to let the left turning lane of bikes go with the traffic, and then hold ALL the straight on traffic and let it move together?
      One more comment on pedestrians coming over the road from the Quays – “many are also doing this on the other side of the road where they have to cross the contra-flow bus lane to get to the island” – this comes as a surprise as most people walking from say, Tara St to here will cross on the opposite side because there is no pedestrian light on the opposite Quay on this side & its almost impossible for a pedestrian to cross from the other side – there might be a small few who cross the bridge on the opposite side, cross on the other side of this road, and then look to walk over this towards Abbey St buts its far quicker and safer to do so on the far side of the road, or, if you are walking from O Connell bridge, to cross at the LUAS bridge on that side and get straight onto Eden Quay.
      Its possibly also some pedestrian traffic alighting buses at the stops opposite and maybe coming from there?

      Reply
      • Laura, re what you’re saying about pedestrian crossings. I cross from Abbey St luas to Tara St station on foot to get from luas to dart, and vice versa. I’m really interested in what you’re saying but I found myself getting confused by what you meant by ‘opposite side’ etc. Could you clarify?

        Reply
  3. If there was a generalised colouring of the bike lane surfaces throughout the city, motorists would be more aware that they are attempting to drive along a bike lane – but unfortunately there’s no existing respect for bike lanes.

    I do think it is bizarre holding bike users going straight at bike lights to allow motorists to turn left. If only motorists like in other countries would respect and yield to bike users going straight. Just another legacy of 30 years of promoting motorists over bikes.

    Reply
  4. None of these junctions will work with such excessive wait times. O’Connell St northbound and Clontarf Rd/Alfie Byrne southbound are the same or worse.

    Reply

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