Comment & Analysis

Cycle routes planned for N81 shows standards still too low

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More shared use where there’s room for segregation

South Dublin County Council told the Sunday Times in 2010 that traffic lights blocking a cycle track at a pedestrian crossing was “standard design”. Things might have moved on, but it seems that if designs are better now, it’s not by much.

Following from recent projects in other areas, two routes proposed by South Dublin County Council add further proof that Ireland or at least Irish councils are not ready for high-quality segregation. These two projects are the ‘N81 (Fortunestown to N82) cycle track scheme‘ and the ‘Tallaght to Templeogue Cycle Track Scheme‘ — the first of which we deal with below.

There still seems to be legacy issues with individual councils, but likely more central to the issue is weak design standards. It’s not likely that standards will improve any time soon unless stricter and binding design standards are put in place which rules out the cycle lanes and tracks most cyclists. The National Cycle Manual fails cycling by allowing the mistakes of the past to be repeated. A central mistake is the idea that mixing cyclists with pedestrians is acceptable.

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Dublin Cycle Planner needs a health warning

As we recently reported, the National Transport Authority launched their online cycling route planner for the Dublin area. The planner (online here) should excel at showing cyclists and would-be cyclists easier or quieter routes. At the moment it horribly fails on this — so much so it should not have been launched or at least come with a health warning.

We tried several routes between three places we’ve lived at on the north side of Dublin City and work locations as well as commutes to a college and a university.  On the ‘balanced’ and ‘easier’ route options the planned recommended routes which includes gates and steep steps:

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Road safety should not be based on half facts

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A cycling crossing of Luas tracks: Can you see the tram traveling at speed?

“Supporters of helmets often tell vivid stories about someone they knew, or heard of, who was apparently saved from severe head injury by a helmet. Risks and benefits may be exaggerated or discounted depending on the emotional response to the idea of a helmet. For others, this is an explicitly political matter, where an emphasis on helmets reflects a seductively individualistic approach to risk management (or even ‘victim blaming’) while the real gains lie elsewhere.”

That’s Ben Goldacre, of Bad Science fame, and David Spiegelhalter, Winton professor for the public understanding of risk, writing in the British Medical Journal about the complex issue of mandatory bicycle helmets.

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Speed limits review isn’t “more credible”

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Only in Ireland: A 60km/h school zone pictured on the cover of the Speed Limits Review report

“We need to ensure that the right speed limits are in operation on the right roads” said transport minister Leo Varadkar at the start of the year when he announced that speed limits will be reviewed. Yesterday the Speed Limits Review report was published.

The aim, the report says, is to restore credibility in speed limits which it’s hopped will “improve safety and reduce collisions”

But the report just isn’t credible.

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Cycling should be centre stage when “kick starting change” along the Liffey

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A depiction by David Jordan and Fergus Browne of what O’Connell Bridge could look like: But where are the cycle lanes? Where are the cyclists?

ANALYSIS: An independent project which is seeking to “kick start change along the Liffey Corridor” is to present their vision of Dublin’s quays to Dublin City councillors today, but cyclists don’t fare well in detail of the new vision.

The vision from Fergus Browne and David Jordan, who are both urban designers and urban planners, is called “the 21st Century Liffey Project” — including removal of clutter and more space for pedestrians. The research project is supported by but not endorsed by Dublin City Council.

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Dublin City Council: Still living in fear of disrupting the car?

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South William Street (by infomatique – Creative Commons: AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved)

Dublin City Council’s plan for the Grafton Street Quarter, released last week, is yet another example of how the city can’t take walking, cycling or civic spaces seriously. They don’t want to change traffic flows to the area — they seem to fear changing traffic.

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IMAGES: What can Irish cities learn from cycling in Amsterdam?

Dublin and Amsterdam are cities of a similar enough scale in many ways, both have many narrow city centre streets, their population sizes and density are not a million miles different, and both have similar climates so suffer very similar weather. But Amsterdam residents cycle a lot more and one of the key differences is how that city’s streets and roads are designed for cycling; so, what can Dublin learn from its Dutch counterpart? And can other Irish cities pick up tips along the way?

Cycling in the city centre should be attractive to all, not just mostly male adults:

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Braemor Road project includes extra green space with replacement trees designed to give “immediate impact”

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council are in the process of upgrading Braemor Road in Churchtown, including transforming the cycling experience from one of the worst in country to possibly the best (more on that in a future post).

The scheme included the removal of a number of trees and there seems to be some anger and confusion around this, so, it’s worth pointing out:

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