In Pictures: Canal cycle route (under construction)

Cycling tracks in Dublin are usually blamed for putting people off cycling. This cycle route along the canal is expected to be different.

The route — due to open in July if not sooner — goes from Portobello to the north Docklands. It passes areas and roads such as Rathmines, Ranelagh, Leeson Street (N11), Baggot Street, Grand Canal Street / Shelburne Road, Pearse Street / Ringsend Road, and the north and south Docklands (see map below).

It’s likely to be used as part of a route by those who are travelling even further. And it should be attractive to families with children and make commuter cycling more attractive to those who prefer not to share roads with cars.

That’s notwithstanding its problems which will see it opening shorter, less connected and less effective than planned. As we reported, the city may also lose out on €4 million in funding because councillors went along with objections. The route still seems firmly part of a wider plan — it will just take longer now for the jigsaw to take shape.

This first image is the start of the route at Richmond Row, just off Richmond Street / the Lower Rathmines Road. Here it is on Google Street View before the changes.

Below is the crossing from Richmond Row to Charlemont Mail — the bridge links Richmond Street and the Lower Rathmines Road. This part of Richmond Row was two-way, but is now reduced to one-way for all but cyclists.

The traffic lights showed are some of the first installed. The sequencing for bicycles (ie how slow or fast the lights change) is likely to be a key factor in how successful the route is.

This photo is of Charlemont Mail looking back towards Richmond Row. It shows one of the thinnest sections of the route, lucky it’s only for a short stretch before widening again. Charlemont Mail was previously one-way and will remain this way for all but cyclists who can use the cycle route. Car parking along the canal was removed to make way for the project, see the Street View of what it previously looked like.

Just after the location in the last photograph, the route goes from Charlemont Mail to Charlemont Place, crossing Charlemont Street / Ranelagh Road. It then goes past the Dublin Bikes stand and under the Luas Red Line to get to the location shown in the below image. It’s the main pinch point along the route which requires a boardwalk. Notice here, there is extensive work being done on dredging the canal. After this the route crosses Leeson Street (the N11) and on to Wilton Terrace.

Along the route there is also footpath and pedestrian improvement works. We previously mentioned some of the non-cycling spending on the project here.

Unlike many off-road cycle tracks, lower kerbs are provided along the route to enter or exit (as shown below). It may sound like a strange thing to be pointing out but these kind of basic elements have been left out of older routes, even on reasonable routes such as the track along Dublin Bay at Clontarf.

Here’s the route at one of its widest sections at Wilton Terrace, it narrows somewhat in the background beside the construction barriers.

On Wilton Terrace people walking seem to think the new tarmac is for them, cyclists will be hoping its not a sign of things to come:

There may also be some conflict spots at crossings, as here at the junction crossing Baggot Street to Herbert Place:

The contractors’ cars show how wide the route is at Herbert Place. As pictured in Street View, parking has been removed along this road and the roadway narrowed slightly.

Warrington Place is similar to Herbert Place. Given that a footpath and tow-path are left for walkers and joggers, there’s more room for everbody compared to Wilton Terrace.

At the northern end of Warrington Place it reaches Grand Canal Street, leaves the canal side, and crosses over to Grand Canal Quay. From between here and the north Docklands work has yet to start. On Grand Canal Quay it will include non-segregated on street cycle lanes, then it will cross Pearse Street to Grand Canal Plaza. On the plaza it will be based on shared use. After the square it will also have non-segregated on street cycle lanes on short distances of Forbes Street.

It will cross onto the quay side of Sir John Rogerson’s Quay where it will return to being a segregated two-way cycle track. This method will continue over Beckett Bridge, and up to the north end of Guild Street where the route will end for now. It had been due to link up with the current route along the bay at Fairview Park.

Here’s a map of the route. Zoom out to see the wider network, both planned and built:

View Dublin’s canals and bay cycle routes in a larger map

Yellow: Under construction (as above)
Purple: Plans not confirmed
Red: Planned
Orange: Problematic / sometimes passable. No plans to upgrade to date.
Green: Passable (some with gates)

MORE: Millions for strategic cycle route suspended due to objections
MORE: How does a 5km cycle route cost €10m?
MORE: Petition against cycle route goes missing

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