For the 2013 Cycling in Dublin newspaper, we surveyed Dublin’s TDs and councillors to get an overview of politicians’ opinions on cycling; here we publish extra details with analysis by Cian Ginty and Colm Moore. Results should be read in the context set out across the following pages:
Response to criticism
One councillor responded to an open-ended answer, within the “Image question on shared use space“, as follows:
Hi Cian. I think the questions here are pretty loaded. You are trying to get people to say that this design is unacceptable. But there will always be compromises in design. We’ve seen that the number of cyclists along this route has risen dramatically in the 15 months that it has been open. So cyclists are voting with their wheels.
My response is as follows:
The “shared use” picture question where is based on common issues around shared use in Dublin and elsewhere, most notably in the UK where this design practice is most used — Irish councils followed the UK.
My question and answer choices are based are common questions which arise from this type of design. So, if the question or answer choices are even slightly “loaded” I can only share the blame with the UK designers of our type of shared us, Irish councils for copying the design, and many uses of shared use across Ireland and the UK — including people who are blind or old and their representatives — who have cautioned against its use time and time again.
Cyclists use the Grand Canal route in great numbers because overall the route is a distinct improvement in the level of service provided before it was in place — that does not mean that the route has no flaws and it does not mean sections could not have been designed better. And, at least some users, I’m sure would agree. One of your fellow councillors (although not on the city council) comments in the survey saying: “The canal path green way is mixed use with no markings and I use it frequently as a pedestrian and as a cyclist and it’s not satisfactory for either.”
I can partly understand the shared use at the N11 junction (or former N11 — the R138 to give its correct name since downgrading) given the likely high cost of CPOing part or all of the house which leaves little room. At Grand Canal Street which is pictured above, however, there’s loads of room for other designs.
Too many compromises is exactly why the Danish try to avoid using two-way cycle paths in urban area. The Dutch use such designs but the Dutch are willing to spend the money and give cyclists the needed space, time and priority at junctions to get it right.
One solution could be a using a Danish-like design, as shown in the following images – please excuse the roughness!
Very rough outline of lane locations:
And here is a diagram (not to scale) overlayed onto Google Maps, click for larger view:
The cyclist turning pockets could end up looking like these Dainish examples:
Danish or Dutch engineers may be able to give you better mockup ideas — but they will tell you it is possible without shared use.
– Cian Ginty