Comment & Analysis

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PREVIEW: Churchtown cycle route shaping up to be one of Ireland’s best

image (16)We’ve been anticipating the completion of the Braemor Road Enhancement Scheme in Churchtown for some time. It’s not yet complete, so we’re previewing rather than reviewing it. Once the project is finished we hope to return to the road at rush hour to see what it’s like under those conditions.

The scheme includes cycling, walking and general surface upgrades to the road, as well as an increased area of green space and replacement trees.

This revamped section of the route is under 2km in length… so, what’s to get excited about? When Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council proposed the enhancement scheme our interest was spiked because we had highlighted the route as one of the worst cycle routes in Dublin — see our old westbound and eastbound images on flickr.

The route used to include broken red surfaces, trees causing bumps in the cycle path, large sections of narrow widths, sharp turns, poor shared use with cycle track lines painted on footpaths, and obstructions including branches and polls. The now near-complete project is designed to fix all of those issues — it seems to succeed in doing so.

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Blanchardstown to Phoenix Park cycle route — ambitious but full of missed opportunities

Public consultation has just ended on the Blanchardstown to Phoenix Park cycle route — this route is ambitious for tackling a confined main route and giving space over to cycling, but it’s also full of missed opportunities and disregard the Manual for Urban Roads and Streets, which the council are obliged to follow.

Possibly the worst element of the route shows a distinct disrespect for the law, or disrespect for cyclists — we’re not sure which one it is. In any case, putting cyclists into share space which leads into zebra crossing is disrespectful of road safety. Bicycles legally should not be cycled across zebra crossings, but the Fingal County Council directing cyclists into the crossing will likely give many cyclists the wrong impression. Motorist rightly won’t be expecting to have to yield to cyclists on a zebra crossing. Combining those two is looking for trouble.


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Cycle routes planned for N81 shows standards still too low

N81 B1a
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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