A CYCLE-FRIENDLY SLIGO IN LIGHT OF COVID 19 SOCIAL DISTANCING REQUIREMENTS
SHORT TERM PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURES:
Traffic filtering/parking, space for queuing and the conduct of business:
Measures to provide more space for walking, cycling, and queuing are needed as a response to the Covid 19 restrictions. The immediate steps will involve filtering of traffic and removal of some on-street-car-parking so as to enable shared space for conduct of business while allowing social distancing. Outside of the cities, Clare Co Co has led the way in implementing temporary Covid 19 public health measures. The photographsbelow illustrate that some measures are more attractive than others.
Further Recommendations by Sligo Cycling Campaign:
All pedestrian light timings to be altered to favour pedestrians by default. This includes the N4 crossings where wait times for cyclists and pedestrians using the “green-man” crossings are inordinately long. The claim that this cannot be done because the road is a National Primary Route needs to be challenged by councillors and campaigners. The N4 bisects the town and TII must accept that in an urban setting the safety and convenience of people walking, and cycling takes precedence especially in a time of a public health emergency
Avoid bunching of pedestrians at crossings, avoid pedestrians having to touch the button. Encourage active travel by reducing delays. 4
Provide networked cycle routes: The 2012 Active Towns funding of €955,000 for cycling infrastructure in Sligo created routes as far as the outskirts of town but didn’t factor in access to the town centre and cross-town routes. This needs to be rectified immediately even on a temporary basis by providing advanced bike boxes and bike lights at busy junctions, bike signage, temporary routes and traffic calming as required for the key routes into and through town, e.g. A very simple example of the lack of signage is that the segregated N4 cycle route actually starts at Flynns Tce but you would never know that as there is no signage in place or road markings to indicate the right turn from Temple St to access it.
Sligo Co Co needs to ask, what are the safest and optimal routes from Strandhill Road, Pearse Road/Carraroe and N15/Cartron Area to 1. Town Centre 2. Sligo University hospital and the IT 3. Primary and Secondary Schools and 4. Finisklin Business Park?
We need routes that track the journeys actually undertaken by shoppers, students and commuters. The Behaviour Change element of the Active Towns funding was spent on the Urban Cycle Sligo video initiative. The videos are an attractive showcase for tourism but do not meet the needs of the everyday local cyclist who needs maps, signs, and defined routes.
Where cycle lanes end abruptly, there should be road markings allowing the cyclist to ease back into traffic, 2 examples come to mind in particular -Riverside and Strandhill Rd outside Scoil Ursula but it should apply to all.
It is dangerous to just leave the cyclist stuck on the left-hand side of the road and give no indication to driver that a person cycling needs to merge with traffic.
The “No Through Road” traffic sign at start of Kennedy Parade should be amended to read “No Through Road Except Bicycles” and road markings should be changed to show that bicycles are permitted to cross on to Rockwood Parade
Reason: This is the logical route to access the town centre from the Cranmore, Doorly Park area. It is already possible in reverse. Legally accessing the town centre via Abbey St involves a diversion up Old Market St and down High St whereas at Kennedy Parade it is just straight across and safer because there are fewer junctions to navigate.
The question of contra-flow cycle routes on certain streets needs to be examined. Stephen St and The Mall come to mind but there may be others.
Contra Flow is quite common in other countries and is in use in Dublin and other cities. Contra flow provides safer, less stressful and faster routes for cyclists away from large volumes of traffic.
Sligo has good cycle parking provision outside of the town centre, ie in recreational areas such as Doorly and Cleveragh Parks but in the town centre bike-parking is inadequate. There is none on busy Castle St and it is proposed to remove parking from O’Connell St as part of the enhancement works. We strongly recommend that this parking is replaced by the removal of one car parking place on Castle St and its replacement by bike parking. A space for one car can accommodate 10 bikes. Dublin City Council has installed bike parking like this on Suffolk St and Georges St.
Of Sligo supermarkets only Aldi and Lidl have bike parking immediately adjacent to the store. Dunnes Stores has none. Tesco’s is inadequate and far away. Tesco has room for bike parking under the eaves to the right of the store entrance as you approach from Wine St. If Chambers Ireland’s recent call for sustainable travel as part of revitalising town centres is to be realised, supermarkets and shopping centres should see bike parking as part of their offering.
A CYCLE-FRIENDLY SLIGO FOR PUBLIC HEALTH, PUBLIC REALM, TOURISM, A SMART TOWN
LONGER TERM PROPOSALS:
We highly recommend Park & Ride stations at Finisklin and at Carraroe Retail Park to reduce motor traffic and thus noise and pollution in the town centre.
Coming/going from the Strandhill side of town, the big problem is crossing the N4. Bicycle traffic lights at Church Hill/Upper John St are needed and at the other N4 junctions also to allow cyclists to safely cross this busy thoroughfare.
Please see separate heading re safe routes to school. We use photographs taken in January to illustrate that the segregated route to Summerhill College that only starts at the Upper John St junction is unlikely to enable 12-year-old boys from Cartron, Maugheraboy or the Strandhill Road area to cycle to school .
A default 30 km/h speed limit throughout all residential and urban areas would support both walking and cycling trips and lead to liveable streets and communities. The 30 km/h limit in areas where people walking and cycling mix with traffic is mandated by the Stockholm Convention, signed by Ireland in February this year. Dublin City Council’s Transport Committee has just voted to put its plan for area wide 30 km/h speed limits to the full council for a vote. Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council is proposing to follow suit.
This image demonstrates how the likelihood of being killed by a vehicle increases with the speed of the vehicle. A graph used by Dublin City Council makes the same point.
Strandhill - Rosses Point Cycle Route
Once the Rosses Point/N4/N15 junction works are complete, a recreational cycle route between Strandhill and Rosses Point should be created, That would involve diversion from the narrow part of the cycle path on the Strandhill Road and also the development of the section on Ballast Quay and especially around Jennings O Donovan’s- which is currently extensively used for car-parking.
Such a route would need segregation in order to be safe for families. Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Council are currently trialling a new type of light kerbing (on behalf of NTA) on 2 roads. It can be installed quickly and if the trial proves successful it would be an ideal material for this route. Sections of the cycle lane would need to be widened and accommodation re reduced speed limit/one-way system introduced at the Causeway Bridge. https://www.dlrcoco.ie/en/travel-transport/roads/covid-19-public-realm-works
“Protected Cycle Schemes A new form of quick-build ‘protected cycle scheme’ is being developed by the NTA using a kerb upstand for segregation. Two routes have been identified in the County to pilot this new form of segregation. Should these pilot schemes be successful then it is likely that there would be further roll out of such measures on other routes around the County. The benefit of the new form of segregation is that the kerb upstand can be installed relatively quickly. It is expected that these works would commence in June and that Councillors will be provided further information on the initiative in the Dundrum Area Committee Meeting on 3rd June. The two initial pilot locations are: • Goatstown Road • Benildus Avenue”
Safe Routes to School:
The protected cycle path to Summerhill College begins at the junction with Upper John St/Church HillSafe Routes to School:
Safe Routes to School:
The next photo shows the right turn students coming from the Ballydoogan direction need to take
Safe Routes to School:
Photo to left shows the junction coming from Hughes Bridge. There are 3 traffic lanes, 2 straight ahead and 1 for turning right.
The alternative to cycling through the junction is to cross as a pedestrian at the green man. The wait to cross half-way across the junction is up to 2 minutes so if this is the preferred solution the light sequence needs to change as referenced earlier. Otherwise a pedestrian or cyclist will take up to 8 minutes to cross 2 arms of this junction.
Approaching the college on foot or by bike from the Crozon/Caltragh area is not as problematic but neither is it safe. The roundabouts are not cyclist friendly. The cycle track starts at the roundabout itself and not in the adjacent housing estates.
Safe Routes to School:
After cycling around the roundabout the cycle track comes to an end, but there is no dished kerb to take you back onto the road taking you to the college or the Social Welfare Office.
We are concerned that similar roundabout designs where people cycling lose priority are part of the new Western Distributor Road and therefore a school route to the Gaelscoil and the Ursuline College will face similar issues.