Luas may make areas of Dublin ‘inaccessible to cyclists’

Draft report claims new corridor could impact on cycling in large parts of the city centre

The new Luas Cross City line is tested for the first time on Saturday, June 17th as work on the line enters its final six months.

 

Busy areas of Dublin city such as Henry Street may become virtually inaccessible to cyclists when Luas Cross City starts operating, according to a National Transport Authority (NTA) draft report.

The NTA has assessed the possibility for cycling along the new Luas corridor and concluded that substantial areas of the city would become largely inaccessible to cyclists unless interventions were made at certain points.

The report also says that areas including parts of St Stephen’s Green, Nassau Street, Lower Grafton Street, O’Connell Street, Parnell Street and Dominick Street will end up being completely off-limits to cyclists when the new line becomes operational.

It warns that a failure to act on the shortcomings it identifies would have “implications for the safety of cyclists and pedestrians”.

Luas Cross City will connect the northern end of the Luas Green Line at St Stephen’s Green to Broombridge station in Cabra, intersecting with the Luas Red Line at O’Connell Street. The route runs on-street between St Stephen’s Green and Broadstone station.

The draft report, released under the Freedom of Information Act, highlights issues such as a lack of space to accommodate both cyclists and trams at certain “pinch points”, as well as acute crossing angles over tracks where cyclists are at risk of getting their wheels caught in the rail grooves.

The report, dated March 10th, recommends that, where crossing angles are too acute, crossings of about 90 degrees should be provided or else cycling should not be accommodated.

It also recommends a segregated cycle track for the northern side of College Street; that filler be put into the rail grooves of the service link track at the O’Connell Street-Abbey Street junction, and special road markings to guide southbound cyclists safely over the rails at the Parnell Street-Cavendish Row-O’Connell Street junction.

“If the risk associated with the O’Connell Street-Abbey Street junction is not adequately addressed, cross-city cycle trips will be required to divert a considerable distance from their preferred route and cycle access to important destinations such as [the] Henry Street retail area will become virtually impossible,” the draft report says.

In addition, it identifies a number of locations where, “even with mitigation”, cycling cannot be adequately accommodated once the line is in operation.

These include: the St Stephen’s Green-Dawson Street junction; Dawson Street (northern end); Nassau Street; Lower Grafton Street; Dominick Street northbound; the Dominick Street-Parnell Street junction; parts of the Parnell Street-Cavendish Row-O’Connell Street junction; the Parnell Street-Marlborough Street junction, and the Marlborough Street-Abbey Street junction.

Alternative routes

The report recommends that in areas where there is no space to accommodate cycling, alternative bike routes should be developed.

It says that if alternative routes are not provided, then cyclists will probably follow the most direct routes they can find.

This would involve cycling along tram tracks, against traffic on one-way streets or along pedestrianised streets, “with implications for the safety of cyclists and pedestrians and for the efficient running of light rail and buses”.

It says the absence of the necessary interventions would “render substantial areas of the city largely inaccessible to cycling and would be expected to reduce the attractiveness of cycling as a means of travelling to, through and around the city, with consequences for the wider transport environment in the city”.

An NTA spokeswoman said the content of the draft report is under discussion between Transport Infrastructure Ireland, the NTA and Dublin City Council.

She added that cyclists use the current route over the O’Connell Street-Abbey Street junction on a daily basis. “It is intended to keep the operation of the junction under review over the coming months.”

She also said the NTA and Dublin City Council intend to implement the proposed segregated cycle route on College Street.

The NTA is responsible for public transport investment in the greater Dublin area and provides funding for Luas Cross City.