To cross or not? Is a feasibility study needed for a crossing to Tramore Valley Park at Grange Road?

Comment & Analysis: The Grange Road-to-Tramore Valley Park link in Cork seems to be a great bit of infrastructure which is much appreciated by locals. But like many pedestrian and cycling projects, something is missing to make it a bit safer and accessible — a simple crossing.

“Funding to establish whether or not a pedestrian crossing should be installed at the Grange Road entrance to Tramore Valley Park has been secured from the National Transport Authority”, reads the start of an article on EchoLive.ie, but should this really be much more than a half-hour of analysis by council staff?

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The newspaper also quotes Cllr Shane O’Callaghan: “A lot of extra pedestrians, including children, are now crossing the Grange Road at that point in order to gain access to the lane, and it is a stretch of road where many cars tend to travel at high speed.”

So, I’d say a raised crossing with a traffic island. But let’s look at it further…

A quick search of the distance between crossings brings up the Global Street Design Guide which states: “Provide level crossings every 80–100 m in urban environments. Distances over 200 m should be avoided, as they create compliance and safety issues.”

It warns that “If it takes a person more than three minutes to walk to a pedestrian crossing, he or she may decide to cross along a more direct, but unsafe route.”

The below tweet highlights the location’s lack of crossing:

https://twitter.com/conndonovan9/status/1719709477199360504?s=20

Google Street View suggests good visibility in both directions ahead of the greenway access point:

If a traffic refuge island is to be provided as part of the crossing, there may be an issue with the bus lane/bus stop. This small section of bus lane mainly seems to be in place to keep stopped buses out of the flow of traffic.

If it’s deemed an issue to provide an island area at the crossing point because of the bus lane, a small section of the bus lane could be removed and/or the bus stop marking reduced to closer to the length of one bus. Note the current pole is wrongly located away from the bus stop markings:

This is the current situation with rough measurements given to the nearest crossings:

  • Orange line: ~270m to signalised crossing
  • Red line: ~426m to signalised crossing
  • Yellow line: ~140m to crossing point with island but no marked crossing
  • Blue marker: Greenway access point

One issue might be asking: Is there a better location than right outside the greenway entrance? The answer is that people cycling to/from the greenway will be doing so along the road, so, the best location is likely right outside the greenway access point.

Offsetting crossings seems popular with some councils based on ideas of safety that don’t take account of the risk of increasing conflict between users of the greenway. The offsetting could have been allowed for with a wider shared area at the access point, but, currently, the location at the access point has the most space for people waiting at the crossing and the safety risk of blocking people’s access from the crossing to the greenway.

A raised crossing is preferable in terms of safety and accessibility for greenway users. The only question left seems to be if it should be a fully signalised crossing or a zebra crossing with beacons — the location does not seem to be suitable for an unmarked or, once such is allowed more widely, a zebra without beacons.

I think there’s little doubt that the access point needs a crossing and should be right at the access point, it should have been provided as part of the greenway route. A local engineer or consultant could confirm any of the above with a site visit before signing off on a crossing.

There’s too many examples like this where safety features are needed but a huge amount of debate, studies etc are needed before something goes ahead that makes sense to most people looking at the situation.


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2 comments

  1. Could combine the raised table and zebra with building out the footpaths on either side. Seems like a wide road designed for speed. The build-outs would then facilitate to slow traffic, and merge into the bus stop just beyond it in place of the blink-and-you-miss-it bus lane.
    That’s of course if this is about pedestrian, bus and bike user safety or about keeping traffic “flow” as the priority.

    Reply
  2. it’s ridiculous that funding has to be made available to discuss this – what a waste of money. a lovely old trail was closed for over a year,has been replaced with a mini road,hundreds of mature trees were destroyed in the process and now the incompetents in city hall are suggesting wasting money on talking about something that should have been part of the original plan.just incase i’m misunderstood my criticism is not of the grange/tramore valley link – i’m a regular user and delighted it is re opened

    Reply

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