Dodder Greenway Route
The plans for the Dodder Greenway from Bohernabreena to Rathfarnham are now out for public consultation by South Dublin County Council (SDCC). This route passes through parts of Kiltipper, Tallaght, Old Bawn, Firhouse, Templeogue and Terenure.
In general we broadly welcome the proposed upgrade of the facilities but we have reservations that a world-class Greenway will be achieved with the present proposed design. If the route is designed to a high standard it can provide a safe, quiet and scenic route for cyclists, walkers and joggers of all ages. And, since much of the route is close to residential areas, it will provide an alternative route to encourage commuters to switch from driving to cycling, and students to cycle to college. We have asked the Council to review the proposed design thoroughly, before proceeding with the work.
The deadline for submissions is the 18th August. If you care about the design of this iconic route please make a submission to South Dublin County Council. Feel free to use any points from the cycling campaign submission shown below.
SDCC state that ‘The proposed Dodder Greenway is being developed to be a Greenway of international reknown and to be on a par with the best greenways in the world’. And yet, even when compared to the Irish Standards set down by TII in Rural Cycleway Design it falls down on the standards in an area where commuter numbers are likely to grow in the coming years. TII recommends a ‘Desirable Minimum’ of 5m wide Cycleway, where cycling volumes are expected to be high. The proposed widths along the route are only between 3 and 4 metres.
The Dodder Route, particularly in built up areas has the potential, as outlined in the GDA Cycle Network Study, to be a major commuter cycling artery. The ‘shared use principle’ as applied throughout this proposed section from Bohernabreena to Orwell Park should not be applied where the route meets this criterion. We recommend that cycling and walking be separated where possible, at the very least from the Firhouse area towards the City.
There is no doubt that a fully developed cycle/pedestrian route along the Dodder corridor will be a great attraction, both for commuters and general cyclists seeking safe traffic free routes, and for pedestrians out walking and exercising. While the documentation states it is to be ‘a pedestrian priority environment’, the excessive use of shared areas will provide a sub-standard experience for both pedestrians and cyclists. There is ample room along most sections of the river to provide separate, safe, segregated tracks for pedestrians and cyclists which will allow both groups to enjoy the Greenway without conflicts.
We welcome the proposed new bridges linking communities on both sides of the Dodder, and encouraging easier and more direct active travel between these communities, but we urge the Council to ensure that work on the ‘Dodder Falls Bridge’ (Layout 22) and the north bank existing routes, which link the proposed Greenway with the cycle link between Tallaght and Templeogue, and further onward links to Crumlin/Kimmage be urgently included in the scope of the project. We would also urge the Council/NTA to ensure that high quality aesthetically pleasing designs are built in order to encourage buy-in to the project and greater usage.
We suggest that anywhere shared running of bikes and vehicles is proposed, such as on Kiltipper Road and Mount Carmel Park that a 30 km/h speed limit be imposed, to protect cyclists, and encourage safer driving. This applies in particular on Kiltipper Road, which at present is a fast traffic route and dangerous for cyclists.
We recommend that in all areas where cycle facilities run alongside vehicle lanes, that these vehicle lanes be reduced to the minimum acceptable width of 3 metres. This encourages lower vehicle speeds.
We are disappointed in the cycling and pedestrian unfriendly nature of a number of the junction designs and would point to the design of the Rathfarnham Road/R112 junction as an example of a good design. The vast majority of junction designs give greater priority to vehicle movement rather than cyclists and pedestrians, and are unsuitable for families with young children who typically use Greenways.
While the Part 8 report refers to a ‘comprehensive signage policy’ for the proposed route, there is no indication in the documentation exhibited of where any signs will be placed, and what form they will take. This information should have been included, as the orientation along this sometimes winding route will be critical for users, and even more so for tourists/visitors. Signage is needed along the full route and in particular where there are secondary cycle tracks, e.g. Layout 13.
The plans show extensive planting of trees along the Greenway. Unless a comprehensive track maintenance plan is put in place this will lead to leaves on the track which will make it slippery and dangerous. Some of the existing footpaths along the Dodder are not maintained so this needs to be considered.
Bike parking should be included at suitable locations along the Greenway, e.g. at the GAA clubs along the Firhouse Road, and at Bohernabreena where people may want to explore on foot.
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