Submission on Draft Cycle Network Plan for Greater Dublin Area

As a regular cyclist I support the development of an integrated and consistent Cycle Network for the Greater Dublin Area.

Image It is, however, absolutely imperative that all developments to the cycle network infrastructure comply with the mitigation measures recommended in the Habitat Directive Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment and that compliance with these is fully monitored.

As a regular cyclist I concur with the Draft Plan’s comments on gateways and barriers to ‘greenway’ routes in the within the more urban areas of Dublin.  As these greenways are a great incentive to beginner and inexperienced cyclists improving access to them should be prioritised as a way to achieve the 20 percent target.  Removal of difficult gateways, greater separation from pedestrians, better signage would increase their usage.

No emphasis is given to the quality of the cycle lane surface, this is not just a convenience factor but an important safety concern.  Where the surface is crumbled and pitted the cyclist’s concentration is taken up by avoiding hazards and unable to take proper notice of the complete surrounding traffic situation.  The cyclist may have to swerve suddenly to avoid a nasty pothole and into the flow of traffic.  The quality and maintenance of the road surface for cyclists should be an integral part of the Cycle Network Plan.  The road surface should be affordable and durable, the red crumb material used on many Dublin cycle lanes crumbled in the snow and ice and has not been either repaired or removed.

The plan recommends that where possible verges should be retained between cars and cyclists as a safety and an aesthetic feature.  This is a positive recommendation but the plan should also include the instructions to the designers of future cycle lanes to avoid planting trees closely along the side of cycle lanes that will grow into the sight lines of the cyclists themselves.  Local authorities must be responsible for maintaining the trees and hedgerows beside cycle routes so that branches and brambles etc. do not hit cyclists

These design features are as important as the route itself in making cycling a safe and convenient option for travel.

Although the Cycle Network is focused on the large scale network it is disappointing that Primary and Secondary level schools were not included as important destinations on the planning maps.  Given the percentage of car journeys that are to these educational institutions, safe and convenient cycle and pedestrian routes to them are imperative to combat traffic congestion and the costs and pollution that goes with it.

I note that the draft plan identifies potential locations in built up residential areas where permeability can be improved and recommends that local cycle plans open up these access points.  These would greatly help reduce congestion on entry and exit to housing estates and the traffic on the main roads. It is essential that these local plans are fully resourced and effectively implemented.  Future planning should avoid these bottlenecks.  These should be included in the overall Cycle Network Plan – – otherwise the ‘network’ will just be a patchwork with large gapsImage