Original Submission Date : 11 November 2020
The Rathfarnham to City Centre route has improved in some ways and disimproved in others. The solution found for Rathgar Road was in our view a very good one as a good compromise was found here to prioritize public transport including cycling infrastructure. However Terenure Road East continues to be a source of concern and the decision to remove existing cycling infrastructure in order to maintain a segregated bus and traffic lane in each direction illustrates a lack of oversight on how to best reduce traffic volumes on limited roadspace.
We disagree with the removal of the existing narrow cycle track on Terenure Road East in order to maintain a continuous bus lane throughout. Whilst we understand that there are particular width constraints on this section of road, when you are less than 5km from the city on a thoroughfare that connects with the busiest cycle route in the country, cycling actually takes precedence over maintenance of separate general traffic and bus lanes not least because it serves to remove more vehicles from the route.
Add a segregated inbound cycle track from Aldi to Rathgar Village.
Remove the planned new inbound bus lane
Keep bus and general traffic mixed until Brighton Road junction.
Keep the planned outbound configuration but with existing outbound cycle track until St Josephs Church.
Our Reasoning: The aggregated affect of the inbound Bus Gate on Templeogue Road and Rathmines Road with priority signalling throughout will help with traffic calming along this short stretch and upgrade of the existsing min-width cycle lanes to segregated tracks is the best way to further reduce the volume of general traffic on this route because commuting cyclists to schools, villages and jobs take cars off the road.
Two lanes will become four but no room for the cyclist
Lets look at the issue from the point of view of key stakeholders.
Residents: Residents who are already concerned with land-take from their private gardens would rather have a cycle track encroaching on them than a high frequency bus lane which would require more land take and should be kept towards the middle of road. Concerned with a “highway corridor” effect, the plan to widen the road only to add more vehicles and remove bikes makes this idea a difficult sell in calming their understandable concerns.
Business: Businesses in the village want cyclists to have access as it means more footfall for them. Even newer tenants such as Aldi and Lidl have even gone as far as installing cycle racks outside their store, recognition by them of what is a growing market for those who want to make more frequent smaller trips to the supermarket.
Families: Parents want their kids to be able to cycle to school for obvious reasons. Students of St Josephs primary school and Presentation secondary also deserve safe access to their school by bike and providing for this would remove much of the peak hour traffic with which the buses are currently competing.
Cyclists: As mentioned previously, directness is important to cyclists and sidelining cycling to a rat-run on neighbouring streets goes against best international evidence on a key artery just 5km from the city centre. Keeping inbound cyclists on the most direct in the morning is likely to encourage greater uptake whilst making greater use of neighbouring streets for the outbound cycle is unlikely to deter them since they are likely on the way home.
LEFT: BusConnects cycling plan for Terenure RIGHT: europa.eu best practice cycling document:
To summarize: Converting Terenure Road East from a two to a four lane corridor for vehicles is an extreme solution to a space problem, particularly when it removes key cycling infrastructure 5km from the city. It is once again important to remember the number 1 priority here: removing a quantity of private vehicles from the road on a shared roadspace to allow for more people to get more places. Widening the road to four traffic lanes makes little sense particularly when it results in a loss of cycling facilities and greater convenience for general traffic, contributing to the much despised “highway” effect on our streetscapes. To this measure, we believe our three lane plus cycle facilities proposal fulfills the improved mobility objective to a much greater extent than the current BusConnects plan. The marginal benefit of a segregated inbound bus and general traffic lane on this stretch of road is outdated and simply not worth the cost to residents, the streetscape, cyclists and the community as a whole.