Report from Vélo-City Conference in Netherlands

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In June I attended the Vélo-city conference in Nijmegen. It featured both presentations on how to provide for people of all ages and abilities using bicycles in the Netherlands and worldwide, and site visits to successful cyclist- and pedestrian-oriented road and street design in Nijmegen and neighbouring areas. I have submitted this report on some of the lessons I have taken from the trip. I’m happy to give any more information as I can.

A copy of the Brief Dutch Design Manual for Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridges, referred to in the report is here.

Observation to An Bord Pleanála on Grange Road Junction

Following my observation to Fingal County Council in relation to the Grange Road junction, the Council granted permission including a condition that the details of the junction be revised to prioritise cyclists. This means that the basic junction won’t change and that the revised design would be agreed with no public participation. I have made an observation to An Bord Pleanála  asking them to require the submission of a revised design and suggested a possible approach based on Dutch practice on distributor road junctions. I am grateful in particular to the local residents who cycle through this junction and who gave me feedback on the issue.

Response to Parks and Open Spaces Bye-laws consultation

There was a public consultation earlier in the year in relation to bye-laws for Open Spaces and Parks. I opposed the provision in relation to dogs and cyclists before they went on display and made the following submission to the consultation. It also addresses the use of motor vehicles in parks.

Cycling in parks and open spaces, giving way to pedestrians

The proposed bye-law bans all cycling in parks and open spaces, including linear routes, except on
– designated routes and
– for children under 12 accompanied by adults.

To the best of my knowledge there are no such designated routes. Certainly there’s no information online as to any such routes.

The bye-law is a slight adjustment of the existing bye-law.

Routes through a number of Fingal parks and open spaces are included in the GDA Cycle Network Plan. The National Cycle Policy Framework promotes the use of parks to create traffic-free routes.
Objectives of the County Development Plan include providing cycle routes through a number of Fingal Parks and implementing the Cycle Network Plan . Renewing a bye-law banning cycling on these routes is not acceptable and is not in compliance with the County Development Plan.

Many Fingal parks are important routes to for local students accessing secondary schools by bicycle. For example Seagrange Park Baldoyle and Malahide Demesne.

Suggested bye-law: Cyclists must behave in a manner respectful of other parks users and the character of the area and must give way to pedestrians at all times. Cyclists must not use any route which has been designated as closed to cyclists and must obey any directions of Fingal County Council whether given by signs or by a parks warden.

Priority to pedestrians

All vehicles in parks and open spaces should be required to yield to pedestrians. Reports of authorised vehicles effectively telling pedestrians to move out of their way are not acceptable.

Suggested bye-law additional to that proposed:

All motor vehicles must be driven in a manner respectful of the character of the area and other parks users, give way to pedestrians at all times, and obey any directions of Fingal County Council whether given by signs or by a parks warden.

Observation on planning applications at Holywell for a new roundabout and for a petrol station, takeaway and shop

I have made observations on two linked planning applications in Holywell. The proposal for a petrol station and takeaway is not in keeping with the objective of maintaining residential amenity and providing quality sustainable neighbourhoods. The road design is confused and inadequate for pedestrians and cyclists like other road designs in the Holywell area.

The observation on the road proposal F17/A0392 also includes a copy of the observation on the petrol station/ takeaway F17A/0393.

Objection in relation to proposed redesign of Grange Road junction with industrial estate and design of roads in new development near Red Arches

I have made the following observation:

Observation in relation to Planning Application F16A/0412 at Stapolin, Baldoyle

A chairde,

Please find my observation below.

Availability of information

The majority of the graphics on the online planning file are poorly copied and only partly legible. The technology is easily available to produce good quality copies and it should be used.

Grange Road junction design

Grange Road is identified in the GDA Cycle Network (https://www.nationaltransport.ie/publications/transport-planning/gda-cycle-network-plan/) as a Secondary Route, with the importance of Baldoyle Industrial Estate as an employment centre emphasised.

The proposed redesign of the Grange Road junction will not provide a quality environment suited to cyclists of all ages and abilities. The opportunity should be taken to provide fully cyclist segregation and traffic light phasing at this junction, providing separate cycle facilities on all arms of the junction.

The Dutch Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic (CROW, 2016, ISBN 978 90 6628 659 7) contains this guidance:

 

 

The Irish National Cycle Manual (www.cyclemanual.ie) approaches the division differently but also leads to the same conclusion, given emphasis by its advice that right turning cyclists should not be required to cross multiple lanes of traffic.

The Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets (http://www.dttas.ie/corporate/publications/english/design-manual-urban-roads-and-streets ) contains similar advice.

The County Development Plan requires “the design of roads, including cycle infrastructure, in line with the Principles of Sustainable Safety in a manner consistent with the National Cycle Manual and the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets.”

Given that large numbers of HGVs use this junction, it is essential that segregated cycle facilities, with adequate visibility and dedicated cycle and pedestrian phases are provided at this junction.

Overall street design principles for the new development

In line with the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets, the design speed for all roads in the development should be 30km/h and the area should be brought forward for designation as a 30km/h zone straight away so that the designation will be in place before any new streets/roads are opened to use.

Contra flow cycle facilities

One-way routes in the new development should provide for contra flow cycle traffic, as advised in the National Cycle Manual.

Allocation of street space to planting rather than parking

Given the information in the Additional Information response in relation to the over-provision of parking spaces, the fact that the County Development Plan standards are maxima not minima and the proximity of the development to Clongriffin Station, it is important that available street space is used for planting to provide a high quality environment in line with the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets.

Best regards,

Cllr. David Healy

Bathing water identification

Six submissions were received from the public in relation to identifying bathing waters in Fingal. The Council evaluated all of them and decided none of the waters qualified. I had proposed Balscadden Beach and the Broadmeadow Estuary.

In it’s evaluation, Balscadden Beach scored 64 points with a score of 65 required to qualify. Friends of Balscadden Beach will be appealing this ruling.

In relation to Broadmeadow Estuary, there is apparently a legal flaw in the Directive. The evaluation advises:

“The Bathing Water Directive does not recognise inland or coastal waters used for recreational purposes other than contact bathing. Water sports such as surfing, kayaking, or other recreational uses do not in themselves provide reason for identification as ‘bathing water’ unless supported by evidence of bathing within its normal context such as paddling, swimming, or similar water contact.”

I checked with the European Commission who agree with this interpretation. Even if not technically a bathing water it is essential that water quality here is monitored to protect public health and I will follow up.

Design problems on Kilbarrack to Sutton coastal promenade

In May 2015 I proposed this motion:

“That the Chief Executive and Council remove all obstacles on the Coastal cycle route from Sutton to the Kilbarrack Road and bring forward a senstive design for providing lighting to the shadowed area of the cycle track and to remove the hazard posed by steps which cut into the track.”

Since then I have heard of collisions on the route due in particular to the lighting problem. Last month, April 2017, i raised the issue again:

Councillor D. Healy – Kilbarrack to Sutton Cycle Route. AI036623
“That the Chief Executive report on progress in relation to addressing the design flaws in the cycle route from Kilbarrack Road to Sutton including lighting, obstacles and steps as discussed at this Committee in May 2015 and October 2016.”

Report:
The cycletrack is due to be widened in the coming months by altering the lining. The bins will be moved out of the cycletrack and on to the footpath. The lining will be designed around the larger poles and the steps to guide bicycles around them.

Minute:
Following discussion Mr. Stephen Peppard, Senior Executive Officer agreed to have the potential issues around the lighting examined by the Public Lighting Section and that further discussions would take place with the Traffic Engineers regarding the steps.
If you have direct or indirect experience of the difficulties caused by the current design, please let me know.

Moyne River greenway; Hole in the Wall junction

The design for the Hole in the Wall junction proposal came before the Area Committee and full Council this month. See the details of the proposal and my submission for more information.

The significant change in the design is the provision for a wide underpass to facilitate a separate greenway along the Moyne River (linking eastwards to the route under the Red Arches which is being progressed with the Coastal cycleway and westwards to new neighbourhoods and schools in Belmayne as well as future developments in Belcamp.) The design is also being adjusted to ensure the streamflow is maintained and that wildlife can use the underpass to move along the river. These are very welcome changes.

In relation to the specific design of the junction, the indication was that the NTA were happy with the design as proposed. Nonetheless I think this would be a good location to trial a Dutch junction design and will continue to follow up.

Fingal County Council agrees to produce guidance on cyclists at roadworks

The issue of roadworks being carried out in a way that increases risks for cyclists is a recurring problem, often resulting from a failure of those carrying out the works to consider the needs and safety of cyclists. It’s not always done badly, and this article from Irishcycle.com gives examples of both good and bad practice.

I was aware of the draft guidance produced by Transport for London (but apparently not yet finally adopted) and I pointed to this in the preparation of the Plan. Unfortunately it wasn’t included in the draft plan.

At this evening’s meeting, the Council agreed to my motion to include the production of guidance for those planning and carrying out roadworks in the Road Safety Plan 2017-2020. (The text of the plan should be online soon at item 20 on this page.)

I hope that the fact that there’s already a draft by Transport for London might help Fingal to finalise guidance soon and that in turn other Irish local authorities might follow Fingal’s example.

Progress on link from Claremont Beach Promenade to Claremont Road

Subsequent to agreement at the Area Committee in 2015, the Council is now working on a design to link the promenade at Claremont Beach to Claremont Road, including renovating the public toilets at the beach.

This was the report to today’s meeting:

Howth Malahide Area Committee (Services A – Operational Matters)

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Councillor D. Healy – Fingal Coastal Way- Howth to Baldoyle. AI036624

“That the Chief Executive report on progress in relation to the following motion agreed at this Area Committee in April 2015:

“That the Chief Executive, as part of the Fingal Coastal Way, bring forward a plan for a pedestrian and cycle route from the West Pier along Claremont Beach promenade then by means of a boardwalk or other structure to join Claremont Road at the level crossing, continue along the right-of-way between the two sections of Claremont Road, follow Burrow Road to the level crossing and go down the right-of-way between Lauder’s Lane and also go behind Sutton railway station to link up with Baldoyle Promenade (thereby avoiding two level crossings), and that the possibilities for related improvements to the amenity of Claremont Beach including renovation/replacement of the public toilets provision of improved lifeguard facilities be included in this plan.”

Report:

Operations Department has employed a Consulting Engineering firm to carry out the following at Claremont Beach:

• A preliminary design and visualisation, with costs, for a boardwalk from the public toilet west, as far as Claremont Road.

• Outline design and costs for the foul water drainage of the public toilet. At present there is no foul drainage for the public toilet; tunnelling under the railway may be feasible.

• Advise on the rehabilitation of the public toilet (it is currently in a poor state of repair).

The Consulting Engineer’s Report is expected shortly and when to hand can be discussed with Committee members.

 

Arising from the report, the Committee agreed to my motion that the funding for this work be included in the Capital Programme.