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Galway, Martin Roundabout Upgrade

Galway City Council Disappoint with the Martin Roundabout Traffic Scheme

We urge all our supporters to let Galway City Council know that they need to up their game in designing for Cyclists and bus transport.  Based on the proposed scheme for the Martin Roundabout which is out for public consultation till 4pm on Monday 12th  August, the City Council and its consultant designers, do not appear to have studied the relevant guidance manuals!  The proposed scheme is available here

But, while the basic idea, from the proposal, of improving safety for all users at the roundabout is to be commended, the detailed design is of a shoddy quality that leaves a lot to be desired.  Check out our DRAFT submission below and feel free to copy part or all of it and make your own submission. The more people who point out the issues with this proposed design the better for public transport users and for cyclists.

Submissions should be made by 4pm on Monday 12th August directly to [email protected]

1    Introduction

Cyclist.ie, the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network (ICAN), is the Federation of Cycling Advocacy Groups, Greenway Groups and Bike Festivals on the island of Ireland. We are the Irish member of the European Cyclists’ Federation.  Our vision is that cycling will become a normal part of transport and everyday life in Ireland.

We broadly welcome this proposed intervention in the change of design of the Martin Roundabout from a roundabout to a signal controlled junction, which will undoubtedly help to make the area safer for all users.   The public notice states that the proposed measures at the upgraded signalised junction include: provision of public transport priority measures, as well as  provision of cycling facilities and associated pedestrian enhancements and traffic calming measures.

However, we are unhappy with the proposed detailed design elements, particularly in relation to cyclists and public transport, which merit review.  In our submission below we have a number of comments to make on some general and specific design elements, which we suggest will improve the overall design and the safety elements of the proposed scheme, and encourage an increased rate of cycling and public transport enhancement.

2    Design Issues

2.1    General

2.1.1    Context

Galway has a growing population of cyclists, and congestion and private car use is a major everyday problem for the City and its health and economic wellbeing.  The growth of everyday cycling, as well as visitor cycling, needs to be encouraged. But the scheme as advertised is lacking in basic context. How does it link with existing road design?  How does it fit within the overall transport context of Galway City? What is the overall purpose over and above improving safety at the Martin Roundabout and improving access to the Galway Clinic?  Greater explanation of this context needs to be supplied and the exhibited material should have included a full Design Report.

2.1.2    Publicly Available Materials/Drawings

The scheme as advertised has 2 exhibited drawings, both nearly identical, with the same title, but one with a slightly greater extent than the other.  No Design Report, cross sections, or visual mock-ups are supplied, which make it nearly impossible to gauge the quality of parts of the design. It is difficult to understand why no cross section details are supplied at this public consultation stage, and this is unacceptable.

2.1.3    National Cycle Manual Compliance

Due to the paucity of exhibited material it is not clear how this proposed scheme complies with the guidance of the National Cycle Manual (NCM).  But in particular it appears to ignore the basic needs of cyclists as outlined in the NCM. The NCM outlines in Section 1.2 the critical ‘5 needs of cyclists’ when designing for the bicycle.  These five needs are outlined as:

  • Safety
  • Coherence
  • Directness
  • Attractiveness
  • Comfort

It is not clear from the exhibited material how these issues are dealt with in the proposed design?   All of these issues need to be addressed in a comprehensive Design Report.

2.2    Specific Design Issues

While this proposed scheme is a small step in meeting the requirement of greater safety for road users, a number of basic design elements for safer cycling, and for public transport priority, appear to have been ignored in the proposed design:

2.2.1    Cyclists Sharing with Pedestrians

The principle of bikes sharing with pedestrians is one that is not recommended by the NCM as a first option.  As no Design Report has been included in this consultation it is impossible to know what other design options were considered here.  The NCM clearly states that ‘Shared facilities between pedestrians and cyclists generally result in reduced Quality of Service for both modes and should not be considered as a first option’.  We note the extensive sharing areas proposed at the main junction and we are unhappy with these proposals, which could be very easily upgraded to an acceptable standard.

2.2.2    Junction Design

At the new Martin junction cyclists are asked to revert to pedestrian mode, by sharing (ill advisedly) with pedestrians and  to wait for pedestrian signals, and are not being facilitated to cross with main traffic green lights as recommended by the NCM.  This is clearly not in line with NCM guidelines and we refer the designers to Section 4.4 of NCM – for further advice.  This needs to be altered.

2.2.3    Cycle Track Widths and Segregation

The width of the proposed cycle routes should conform to the recommendations of the National Cycle Manual; this is impossible to determine from the drawings exhibited, and, due to no cross sections being included, we are unsure if the cycle facilities proposed are segregated from pedestrians and traffic, or proposed as on road cycle lanes.  The drawings exhibited indicate cycle lanes, which would normally refer to on-road facilities rather than segregated. In the context of traffic levels in this area and the apparent 80kph speed limits this would be non compliant with the NCM, and unsafe for cyclists.  Segregated cycle tracks are required, not ‘cycle lanes’.

2.2.4    Speed Limit Reduction Possibilities

We are delighted to see the proposed reduction in speed limits to 60kph on the approaches to the proposed junction along the R446/N67.  This is a logical and welcome feature. However, we do not see any concomitant proposal to reduce the speed limits on the Old Dublin Road or the access road to and from the Galway Clinic, where cyclists are being facilitated by a new proposed cycle lane or track.  The logic of this omission escapes us, when considered together with the R446 speed reduction proposal. The proposal to apparently retain the 80kph limits is unacceptable and out of line with the recommendations of the NCM. There is a need to review the  speed limits on both of these junction legs.

2.2.5    Bus Lane Improvements

Public transport will play a continually greater role in the future of transport here in Ireland, and Galway.  While it is good to see some improvements in the proposed bus lanes along the R446/N67 and the Old Dublin Road, they do not go far enough in ensuring that buses get clear access right up to the junctions, and are given clear priority through the junction.  The design as outlined for the bus lanes is unacceptable in the context of where we need to go in relation to public transport improvements. We refer the designers and Galway City Council to some of the developing designs for the Dublin Bus Connects project

2.2.6    Limits of Scheme

The proposals, as outlined in the limited documentation available, show the proposed scheme terminating abruptly on the Old Dublin Road and on the Galway Clinic access road, as illustrated in the clips below taken from the scheme Drawing Number 5186221 / HTR / DR / 0101.

Despite the obvious links needed on the Old Dublin Road into a busy junction with the Doughiska Road, and obvious links on the eastern side to the Galway Clinic, the scheme has been terminated in ‘open country’ at both ends, making no sense in the context of desired links, and encouragement to use the facilities.  These ‘terminations’ are a shoddy piece of design.

Scheme Drawing   5186221 / HTR / DR / 0101

2.2.7    Permeability

The proposed scheme, particularly on the Old Dublin Road, lies right beside a major housing estate, Renmore.  The opportunity to open walking and cycling links into this estate have not been availed of. This should be examined when this scheme is being reviewed critically.

3    Summary/Conclusion

While we in Cyclist.ie welcome the conversion of the Martin Roundabout to a signalised junction, we are overall disappointed with the quality of the detail as shown in the very limited exhibited drawings.  In essence:

  • The drawings and material exhibited are not sufficient to enable a proper assessment of the proposed scheme.  There is no Designer/Engineer’s Report and no cross sections or visualisations of the proposals.
  • The proposed scheme does not appear to comply with the guidelines of the National Cycle Manual in a number of respects and needs to be completely reviewed in that context.
  • The Bus Lane provision is limited and poor and does not conform to best practice.
  • The proposed scheme has physical boundaries, which appear to bear no relation to the broader context of travel in the area, with stark unacceptable endings at both eastern and western ends that do not encourage greater cycling levels, and do not link into obvious destinations.
  • There is a need for consistency in the proposed application of speed limits, which is not shown in these proposals, as outlined above.

We wish to see a comprehensive review and design report for this scheme, to place it in context and to demonstrate compliance with national design guidelines.  We in Cyclist.ie would be happy to meet with the designers and Galway City Council at any stage, to discuss any of the points raised above.

Dubliners Reclaim City Centre Street in Fight for Clean Air

A coalition of transport and environmental groups freed Dublin’s South William Street from motor traffic today, creating a space for people by preventing motor vehicles from accessing the area.

Dublin Cycling Campaign, Dublin Commuter Coalition and the Irish Pedestrian Network joined forces for today’s action, with additional support from Extinction Rebellion activists. The groups say that the time has come to fight back against the dominance of motor vehicles in our towns and cities.

Full Press Release

Vote for the Right Candidates in Euro Elections!

As the European populace is voting for their representatives in the new European Parliament later this week, we are extremely pleased to see strong cross-party support for cycling as the future of transport among the next generation of elected officials. This is the key result of the ECF European Parliament 2019 election campaign coordinated with our members over the last few weeks.

In 25 out of 28 Member States, candidates to become MEPs have been asked to complete a survey of their views on five of the most pressing issues for Europe’s cyclists. Candidates were also asked to sign the Cycling for All pledge, signing up to be champions for cycling in the next parliament.

Read article

VELO-CITY COMES TO DUBLIN

Dublin City Council is hosting the Velo-City 2019 international cycling conference in Dublin from the 25th – 28th June 2019 in the Convention Centre Dublin. The Velo-City conference is the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) annual global cycling summit, and Dublin is proud to be hosing the conference this year. It is the world’s largest conference dedicated to cycling, cycling infrastructure, bicycle innovations, bicycle safety, and the social and cultural changes driven by cycling on a global scale. Delegates attending the conference will be involved in the areas of delivering safe cycling facilities, technology, health, behavioural change, urban and infrastructure policies and mobility. 

Approximately 1500 delegates are scheduled to attend the event over the three-day period, providing a significant boost to the local economy.  The conference title is ‘Cycling for the Ages’ and will explore visions for the cycling city of the future and how we get there from the cycling city of today; how can we support and design to ensure measures taken are inclusive for all ages, gender, abilities and nationalities. 

“I’m very happy to lend my support to this important international conference. It’s an exciting event and it’s great to that Dublin City Council are hosting it. Encouraging and supporting people to walk and cycle is crucial to help meet our climate action challenge, tackling congestion and making our cities more liveable places. That’s why this Government is increasing the funding available to support the development of safe cycling infrastructure across the country both in urban areas, like Dublin city, and rural areas, through our new Greenways Strategy”, said Shane Ross TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.

“This increased investment is supporting the delivery of a number of major projects in Dublin this year and over the coming years as the National Transport Authority continues to implement the Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network Plan, including the delivery of 200km of cycling infrastructure as part of the BusConnects programme,” he said.

One of the key social activities that Dublin City Council has organised for the delegates is a Bike Parade, which will take place on the afternoon of Wednesday the 26th of June. Delegates will travel along the Sutton to Sandycove (S2S) cycle route – one of Dublin City Council’s and the National Transport Authority’s flagship cycling projects, towards St. Anne’s Park. Joining them in the cycle parade will be a host of community groups, school children and cycling enthusiasts along the UNESCO designated Biosphere, a location that is one of the most highly designated and ecologically sensitive sites in the world.  ​ Upon arriving at the Park, there will be free family entertainment for all as well as a farmers’ market with foods such as artisan cheeses and preserves, organic meat, fresh baked bread, cakes and treats.

“We are delighted to host Velo-city 2019 and look forward to interesting and informative discussions from leaders in the cycling world”, said Owen Keegan, Chief Executive, Dublin City Council. “As part of our ongoing commitment to sustainable transport and delivering on our commitments to combating climate change, construction contracts will be awarded on three major cycleway projects in the city centre this year; the Clontarf to City Centre Cycleway, the Fitzwilliam Street Cycleway and the Royal Canal Way project; while design work is ongoing on the Dodder Greenway, Clonskeagh to City Centre, and the remaining sections of the Sutton to Sandycove Route (S2S). With the Liffey cycle route now out for public consultation all of these projects represent an important and exciting future for the city.”

“As a Smart City, we also constantly explore how technology can help increase cycling levels and we have worked in partnership with several companies and organisations trialling unique and smart solutions to promote and encourage cycling,” he said.

To coincide with Velo-city, Dublin City Council in partnership with Cycle Industries Europe and the European Cycling Federation, has announced the ‘Smart Pedal Pitch’, a search for the most innovative cycle tech solutions. Winning entries will get the chance to pitch to a global cycle audience as well as a panel of international judges from the tech and cycling world.

Over the course of the Velo-city Conference, sessions will focus on a broad range of engaging topics including; “Cycling & Climate Change – the opportunity”, “Cycling Road Space Design – to Share or Segregate”, Explaining and convincing for a better cycling city”. Keynote speakers at the Conference include; Owen Keegan, Chief Executive Dublin City Council, Anne Graham, CEO National Transport Authority, Philippe Crist, Advisor for Innovation and Foresight for the International Transport Forum (ITF) at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), former professional cyclist, Chris Boardman, Greater Manchester’s first ever Cycling and Walking Commissioner,  Lucy Saunders, public health specialist, urbanist and transport planner, creator of healthy Streets approach, Klaus Bondam, CEO of the Danish Cyclists’ Federation since 2014 and Amanda Ngabirano is an urban and regional planner, lecturing at Makerere University in Kampala and Vice President of the World Cycling Alliance in Africa. Conference Details

Health Bodies Call for Active Travel in Climate Action Plan

Major Health Bodies support call for Active Travel to be an integral part of the forthcoming All of Government Climate Action Plan

The Irish Heart Foundation, the Irish Cancer Society, Diabetes Ireland, Irish Doctors for the Environment, the Association of Health Promotion Ireland, Professor Donal O’Shea (National Clinical Lead for Obesity and Hon. President of Cyclist.ie), and the Irish Pedestrian Network have signed an open letter from Cyclist.ie to the Taoiseach asking for concrete measures to facilitate active travel to form an integral part of the forthcoming All of Government Climate Action Plan.

The Department of Transport’s walking and cycling budget is increasing this year, but planned expenditure comes nowhere near the 10% level demanded by Cyclist.ie for cycling in its Pre-Budget Submission 2019 and endorsed by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action (JOCCA). The ground-breaking report by the JOCCA makes a very strong case for active travel with the statement – “active travel measures are also among the most cost-effective emissions reduction strategies”. Our particular focus is how this needs to happen on health grounds. There is overwhelming evidence that lack of physical activity is a contributory cause in a host of debilitating chronic illnesses, including heart-disease, stroke, some cancers and diabetes. Hence the endorsement of the letter by all of the above health bodies. The forthcoming Climate Action Plan presents an opportunity to set targets for active travel which will contribute to reducing emissions and promoting health.

Read article

Cyclist.ie in Erasmus at Corella

Back in September 2017, we were delighted to be contacted – completely out of the blue – by Toño Peña, the Vice-President of Biciclistas de Corella, a Spanish organisation promoting the bicycle as a means of transport. He was inquiring to see if Cyclist.ie would like to be a partner in an Erasmus+ project funding application he was leading on. The project was to be all about social inclusion, youth empowerment and sustainable transport. The answer was an emphatic ‘yes’!

Roll on March 2019, and after many months of SKYPE calls, emails, Garda vetting of volunteers and navigating labyrinthine forms for EU projects, we were part of an exciting partnership and on our way to the lovely town of Corella in the the region of Navarra. In the intervening period, Cyclist.ie had teamed up with Green Schools Ireland, and the other project partners were Frie Fugle and Cycling Without Age from Denmark, a youth association (LAG Suduva) from Lithuania, and the Alhama High School and Biciclistas de Corella in Spain. Crucially, on board with the adults from the cycling and environmental organisations above were school children from all four participating countries – around half a dozen from each. The pupils from Ireland came from St. Tiernan’s Community School in Dundrum. The adults comprised Dr. Damien Ó Tuama from Cyclist.ie, Jane Hackett from Green Schools, Martina O’Shea linked to the school, and Allison Roberts from Clonakilty Bicycle Festival (who was joined by her partner Justin and three year old Ari, all of whom were on bigger bicycling and camper-van adventures in Spain and Portugal at the time!).

All 40+ participants who travelled to Corella were treated to a wonderfully diverse and amazingly action-packed week of activities. We have to say that the crew from Biciclistas de Corella were the best hosts ever! Each day was jam-packed with formal and informal, indoor and outdoor, day-time and night-time activities of every type imaginable. Some of the highlights included a tree planting workshop, a lovely 40km cycle through a farming region to Fitero, a trip to the Bardenas Desert with a picnic and barbeque afterwards, a dancing workshop, a pottery-making session, singing jotas with the residents of the nursing home and then heading out with them on a Cycling Without Age trishaw, evening time dinners with home-made food provided by locals, visits to wineries, a trip to Pamplona and visiting the palace of Navarra, tortilla-making workshops, meeting the Mayor of Corella, visits to cathedrals….. and lots of presentations on cycling and cycle tourism. It is exhausting listing even some of our activities! Most importantly, we got a lovely warm welcome from the hosts and from everyone we met in the school and on our trips.

The first project meeting definitely succeeded in getting cycling campaigners and school pupils from four quite different countries swapping ideas with each other over the course of the week. It was educational, sociable and a breathe of fresh air for us all. Take a bow Toño, Cristina, Quique, Chivvy and team!

The next ‘mobility’ or trip for the project participants will be to Dublin in June and – as per the funding application submitted over a year ago – the plan is for the group to be here during the same week as the Velo-city Cycling Planning Conference at the end of June. As far as is possible, we will aim to knit into some of the Velo-city events such as the Cycle Parade and other side events, and Toño Peña himself will be presenting at the conference. Further trips will be to Copenhagen in October and Lithuania in mid 2020 – and then there will be a additional trip back to Ireland in 2021 and we are exploring the idea of heading to Clonakilty for the bicycle festival!

To hear more about the project, pop along to the public meeting of Dublin Cycling Campaign taking place on Monday 8th of April – details here – and/or get in contact with Cyclist.ie’s National Cycling Coordinator.

Liffey cycle route selected after seven years of plans

The route for a 5km cycle path along the river Liffey in Dublin has finally been selected by the National Transport Authority (NTA) seven years since planning for the project began.

The segregated cycle route from the Phoenix Park in the west to the Tom Clarke Bridge in the east is expected to cost more than €20 million and will run on both sides of the river.

More than 100 car parking spaces and 33 trees will be removed to facilitate the track, but unlike previous plans, cars or buses will not be diverted from the quays.

Read article (Irish Times)