There’s nothing engineers hate more than politicians getting their crayons out to come up with a scheme. But I’ve had an idea all the same and would welcome thoughts! (I’m on michael@pidgeon.ie – or the Twitter discussion is here.)

The basic idea

A surprisingly simple two-way, properly segregated cycle track linking the Phoenix Park to the Grand Canal – going via Islandbridge, the Kilmainham bit of the South Circular Road and Suir Road.

The space is (I think) there for a fully segregated two-way path, with only road remarking and a new kerb to segregate. I don’t think you’d even need much of a change to light sequencing.

The route would link the Phoenix Park and the cycle lane along Conyngham Road all the way up to the Suir Road Luas stop – where it would link in with the Grand Canal cycle lane (going west and east) and the soon-to-be-upgraded linear park running through Rialto (going east into the city).

Essentially this:

How would it fit?

As it stands, the road is – at its narrowest – composed of two car/general traffic lanes and a standard width unprotected/painted bike track on each side. In places, it is wider, but those lanes wouldn’t need to be compromised.

Remove both bike lanes and replace them with a two-way lane on only the east side of the road. This would obviously take some more detailed measurements! The bridge over the Liffey at Islandbridge seems to be the narrowest point, but looks doable!

Something like this (as if looking north):

Why that side of the road?

Simply because the east side of the road has more connections and fewer conflicting turns.

The west side of the road (where the northwards bike lane currently is) has 28 vehicular entrances (including houses) and turns, plus a much-parked at Spar and regularly entered petrol station.

The east side has 12 entrances and turns, by contrast. It doesn’t have any heavily trafficked shops and allows a nice connection into the IMMA/Royal Hospital Grounds.

This side also requires less changes to existing car parking, which saves hassle.

This is also partially the reason to do two-way lanes on one side of the road: it minimises conflicts and provides more space to do segregation (as you require one kerb/set of bollards rather than two).

Difficulties and downsides?

There are some conflicts on the east side of the road, but fewer than doing lanes on both sides of the road. You also still have to cross the road at Islandbridge to get into the War Memorial Gardens or the schools there.

Lights would have to be adjusted at the Suir Road/SCR/Bulfin junction. Perhaps an advance cyclist green light at Emmet Road junction (but it could work without).

The slip junctions at the Chapelizod bypass are difficult, but this applies to any cycling intervention, unfortunately.

(I’ll add in any feedback here as we go.)

How would we get this done?

Dublin City Council announced a rake of pro-cycling interventions as part of their COVID Mobility Scheme. One of the announced routes for protected cycle lane measures was route 14 (pictured below), which runs from Suir Road bridge alongside the the Grand Canal into town.

I emailed the council seeking an update on this route recently. They said:

Route 14 is currently at initial design stage. An extension to Route 14 to connect to Conyngham Road, (thereby providing a connection to the Phoenix Park and the Liffey Cycle route) is at an advanced design stage and is planned to be installed next month.

The extension of some kind of protected route would be a good thing – but I think a two-way, segregated route would not only offer a visible lift to the area, but create the kind of route that families and yet-to-be-cyclists could take. Linking up the friendlier routes like IMMA, the Rialto Linear Park, the Phoenix Park, Conyngham Road, etc etc.

I’ll be submitting this idea to the Council shortly – what do you think? I’m on michael@pidgeon.ie – or the Twitter discussion is here.

PS – here’s my shoddily done Photoshop image so you get the idea:

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