Vicar St, Kilkenny – cyclist.ie submission

Cyclist.ie sent the submission below to Kilkenny County Council on 2nd October 2020 in respect to the “Part 8” planning application by the Council for its Vicar Street Improvement Development – details here: https://consult.kilkenny.ie/en/consultation/vicar-street-improvement-development.

We broadly welcome the scheme concept, but there are several aspects of the proposals – particularly the details of the junctions – which need revisiting in order to enhance the cycling offer.

Delivering submissions to national and local authorities is one important strand of Cyclist.ie’s work aimed at re-normalising everyday cycling in Ireland.

Dear Sir / Madam, 

On behalf of An Taisce and Cyclist.ie, I welcome the opportunity to respond to the above Part 8 consultation in regard to the Vicar Street Improvement Development. 

An Taisce is the National Trust for Ireland and Cyclist.ie is the umbrella body of cycle advocacy groups in Ireland and the member for Ireland of the European Cyclists’ Federation. This is a joint submission on behalf of both organisations. 

Below are our observations. 

  1. We strongly welcome the overall concept to make Vicar Street one-way for general traffic, but providing a contra-flow track for people on bikes moving northbound. This will result in an overall improvement in cycling conditions on this street. 
  2. In the context of the available space, we support the proposal for southbound cyclists to share the general traffic lane when heading towards St. Canice’s Place. However, we feel the proposal would be enhanced further if traffic calming measures were provided on this street so as to keep motor vehicle speeds low. Some mixture of speed cushions and raised tables would seem appropriate here – and perhaps also the addition of some trees to provide a visual narrowing of the road and hence create a more ‘room-like’ feeling to the street. This would suggest driving at a slower and safe speed where drivers are guests on the street. 
  3. The cycle track design would be enhanced further if there was physical segregation between the contra-flow cycle track and the general carriageway – ideally a low kerbing / having the cycle track as a ‘raised adjacent’ surface (see Section 4.3.5 of the National Transport Authority’s National Cycle Manual – https://www.cyclemanual.ie/manual/designing/flowchart/). 
  4. In regard to having cyclists and pedestrians at the same level as shown in the cross sections A-A and B-B on Drawing no XXX, we strongly recommend that there is a level difference between the cycling space and the pedestrian space here so to reduce conflicts. 
  5. Junction of Vicar Street and Troy’s Gate / Green Street. As currently proposed, the shape of the traffic-island at this junction will make it difficult for a cyclist to turn right from the contra-flow cycle track onto Green Street. The designers need to reshape this traffic island so as to provide an obvious space for cyclists to position themselves to stop and to turn right. 
  6. Junction of St. Canice’s Place and Vicar Street. As currently proposed, the shape of the traffic-island at this junction will make it very difficult for a cyclist to turn right from St. Canice’s Place onto the contra-flow cycle track on Vicar Street. The designers need to reshape this traffic island so as to make this manoeuvre easier. . 
  7. Junction of St. Canice’s Place and Vicar Street – signage. The proposed signage at this junction needs to make it very clear that cyclists are exempted from the prohibition for vehicles turning into Vicar Street. 
  8. The opportunity should be availed of to provide cycle stands at appropriate locations on or adjacent to the street so as to further encourage cycling. 

I would be very grateful if you could acknowledge receipt of this submission. 

Thank you. 

Yours faithfully,

Dr. Damien Ó Tuama
National Cycling Coordinator, 
Cyclist.ie http://cyclist.ie/ and An Taisce https://www.antaisce.org/

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