Submission on Quality Bus Corridor in Rathmines

I have made a submission as part of the public consultation on the Rathgar Road to Grand Canal section of the Tallaght Quality Bus Corridor (QBC) scheme. My main comments relate to the proposed design whereby cycle lanes would be marked within general traffic lanes – see my earlier post ‘Half-and-half cycle lane’ for details.

The text of my submission follows:

I wish to make the following comments in relation to the proposed design for the Tallaght QBC, Rathgar Road to Grand Canal section. In general I welcome the work the QBN is doing to provide priority for public transport on this section of the route, but have serious reservations about the proposed design of the cycle facilities. I include my detailed comments below:

1) The sections on Maps 1 and 2 show that parts of the ‘continuous cycle lane’ are actually within general traffic lanes. ‘Cycle lanes’ within general traffic lanes provide no advantages to cyclists whatsoever, as they simply replicate the situation within a general traffic lane with no marked cycle track. Cyclists progressing normally will in any case use the roadspace over which it is proposed to mark a cycle track.

In fact, the provision of a ‘cycle lane’ of this nature will actually disimprove conditions for cyclists, in that motorists may expect a cyclist to remain within the ‘cycle lane’ even when it is necessary for him/her to move out to pass an obstruction or change lanes in advance of turning right. This will result in less safe conditions for cyclists. In addition, certain statutory instruments governing the use of cycle lanes, although confused and in some cases contradictory, could be interpreted to suggest that cyclists are not entitled to move outside of the ‘cycle lane’ marking for these purposes.

The only purpose these road markings can be said to serve is to encourage cyclists to remain in the leftmost part of the leftmost lane of traffic. Given that this is the general behaviour of almost all cyclists in any case, there is no justification for the expenditure required to provide these markings.

Although cycle lanes can improve safety, and indeed perceived safety, for cyclists where appropriate road space is provided for both cycle and other traffic, there is no such benefit to the design proposed. Furthermore, the presence of these road markings could be used to give a misleading impression of the level of cycle facilities provided in the city. For example, the preamble to this request for comments suggested that the design provided “Continuous inbound and outbound cycle tracks,” which any general reader would assume to mean a continous roadway for cycle traffic alone, rather than a shared space with other traffic.

2) Map 1 shows that footpath widths at the junction with Rathgar Road and Rathmines Road Upper will be reduced. Pedestrian traffic in this area is very heavy and safety may be compromised by this design.

3) Provision of advanced stop lines for cyclists at junctions is very welcome, and should be pursued even where the roadway is not wide enough to provide a ‘feeding’ cycle lane.

I trust you will take these comments on board in creating your final design. I would also like to request a copy of the report compiled on this phase of public consultation.

Finally, I would like to repeat my request that advance notice of these public consultation exercises be given to interested parties, especially cycle campaign groups. The running of five separate consultation exercises during the month of August, with no advance notice provided to key stakeholders, only undermines the credibility of the public consultation process.

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