TCD plan will smooth the way for students to walk and cycle to college

Submission to council seeks wider footpaths and more cycle lanes on key routes in Dublin


The journey to college is never easy, but Trinity College Dublin is making attempts to smooth the road for students and staff with an application for improved footpaths and cycle lanes between its campuses and residences.

The college is seeking to widen footpaths and install bicycle lanes on more than 8km of key routes around Dublin to enable its 17,000 students and 4,000 staff to walk and cycle safely as the city opens back up.

The submission follows the publication in May of Dublin City Council and the National Transport Authority’s Enabling the City to Return to Work plan, which outlined what changes would be needed to footpaths and public areas for them to meet Covid-19 social distancing requirements.

The TCD submission seeks improvements to three priority routes not covered by the council plan. The additional routes are: Trinity College to Grand Canal Innovation District, Nassau Street and Trinity College to St James’s Hospital.

A fourth route – from Trinity College to Trinity Hall, Dartry – is already covered in the plan.

Martina Mullin, health promotion officer at TCD, said the four routes had been identified as “priority” corridors for the university two years ago.

Speed limits

The council is being urged to introduce measures including prioritising walking and cycling at junctions and reducing speed limits on the four routes.

“For instance, the Westland Row-Pearse Street junction is a real concern for us,” Ms Mullin said.

“It has an extremely narrow footpath – we have 1,000 students in the the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute on Pearse Street, and they have to pass the Dart station . . . [to get] to our Science Gallery entrance, and there is actually no safe way for them to do that.”

We are asking those who live within 5km of the campus to walk or cycle if possible

Prof Brian Caulfield, associate professor in civil engineering at TCD, said the cost of the additional measures “will be quite low”, involving mostly the installation of plastic bollards or “orcas”.

The college said it was also planning a “substantial increase” in cycle parking on campus and would also advocate for the introduction of a student equivalent of the bike-to-work scheme.

“TCD is not just relying on the city council to do this for us. The estates and facilities department on campus are putting in a lot of extra cycle parking to enable this to happen so that students and staff that do cycle in will have a safe and secure bike park when they get onto campus,” said Prof Caulfield.

As adequate social distancing has already proved to be difficult on public transport, students and staff who commute within 5km of TCD are being encouraged to make their way to college by bike or by foot.

“We are acutely aware that when the city reopens, our community needs to plan how to travel under social distancing requirements. We are asking those who live within 5km of the campus to walk or cycle if possible. We hope that if people are enabled to do so, they will,” said provost Patrick Prendergast.