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National Cycle Manual - Is this workable???

  • 14-02-2012 10:53pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 1,735 ✭✭✭Irish and Proud


    I have been looking at the National Cycle Manual (National Transport Authority) and IMO, it is pretty draconian to say the least - it seems very anti-car to me, rather than being balanced and fair. Here's the Link!

    There is a heavy emphasis on the removal to left turn slips and even left lanes wherever possible. Also, the document recommends wherever left lanes are provided, they should be only 30m long including a 10m long taper. The radius of left hand corners are recommended to be 3m to 6m which would seem very tight off a busy road. Accordingly, roundabouts should have perpendicular entry and exits - even relatively high capacity ones - sure this defeats the whole purpose of roundabouts - in fact, the very reason why the Swedish are building roundabouts is to avoid perpendicularity thereby minimizing head on collisions. The document also recommends traffic lane widths of 3m. Now, if these requirements are not met, then full segregation and grade separation of cycle tracks are recommended.

    Now today, I navigated a tight corner into a tight lane (on a new road that is!) and it is dangerous - simple as! As for turning left, the driving test regime is very stringent upon observation and awareness of other traffic, pedestrians and cyclists. Also, when turning, I was told to always look into the road I was going in order to view any hazards there. I was also told to make reasonable progress through the junctions or this would come against me in the test (14/1/2011). Now, a tight corner with a menacing kerb on the left (with a tight lane thereafter), makes it very difficult to look into the road I'm entering while maintaining reasonable progress - especially important with cars behind. It also reduces the ability to observe pedestrians etc on the corner as I have to totally concentrate on making the turn - it's just plain dangerous! Also, if left lanes are eliminated, there will be a lot more congestion, and if the flow of traffic at whatever speed is not smooth, then that's more fumes with the increase in engine revs caused by vehicles stopping/starting etc. Also, being forced to suddenly cross a cycle lane on your left would surely increase the danger of hitting a cyclist (blind spot etc) as opposed to merging into the cycle lane when on the move with benefit of having seen what was on the cycle track immediately before the manoeuvre - when one is stopped, things can change very quickly as I once found out with another vehicle.

    Now, I think these design standards apply mainly to urban areas. However, I was looking (via Google Maps) at Utrecht, Holland and although there is a lot of single lane-ing of dual carriageways, there are plenty of multiple lane arrangements at junctions and roundabouts seem smooth flowing - no perpendicularity as far as I see. There are extensive cycle facilities with separate channels at the junctions for the pedestrian/cyclists. Furthermore, I have recently devised a new type of junction that caters for all modes at grade with just 2 signal phases required (for all modes that is) - this would be done by the use of displaced right and left turns, displaced left turn boxes for cyclists and a central interchange box for pedestrians allowing easy interchange between bus services (as well as the surrounding streets). I have also avoided excessive horizontal deflection for pedestrians (people do like to walk along in a straight line), and virtually no deflection for cyclists. Such would be a dream for motorists, public transport users, cyclists and pedestrians alike. Each of the 2 signal phases would be long, so vulnerable pedestrians, wheelchair users etc would get more time to cross. More land would be needed, but maybe a brave new world of Rationalism will emerge from the current global economic debacle. Maybe the property system as we know it will no longer be king and that a new rational approach to town planning and remodeling will take hold (the character of the old town centres should be retained of course). Basically, the car is a fact of life and is here to stay!

    Regards!

    PS. Rationalism (as I see it) = Balanced Long Term, Inclusive and Universal Thinking!


Comments

  • Posts: 16,720 ✭✭✭✭ Evan Lemon Pebble


    Regarding the design you've done, I'd be interested in seeing it.

    Regarding the National Cycle Manual being unworkable, I really have one question - have you cycled the existing infrastructure?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,735 ✭✭✭Irish and Proud


    Dónal wrote: »
    Regarding the design you've done, I'd be interested in seeing it.

    Regarding the National Cycle Manual being unworkable, I really have one question - have you cycled the existing infrastructure?

    Not in Dublin - I have cycled around Meath/Fingal before and my biggest problems were wind, loose dogs and cars speeding on narrow roads - the wide roads (with hard shoulders) were not too bad (except where the hard shoulders disappeared). The best road for cycling was in fact the M1 Motorway - before it opened that is! :D I don't remember broad junctions being such a big problem for me - in fact, the most intimidating road for me was the traffic calmed stretch of the old N1 through Julianstown - the road was just too narrow for cyclists IMO.

    I will try and draw up a scheme map of my junction design - it'll take some time though.

    Regards!


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 2,913 ✭✭✭galwaycyclist


    Long story short its workable in some aspects but not in others. (I dont want to get into defending the NTA) However, road geometry based on motorists "maintaining progress" tends as a rule to be hostile and dangerous for pedestrians, cyclists and also motor cyclists. Therefore the use of such road layouts in urban areas is a direct cause of traffic congestion.

    Yes the use of a perpendicular entry/exit layout is a particular feature of Dutch roundabouts on roads with mixed traffic - sometimes termed "continental geometry".

    Could it be also that the problem is with the driving "standards" being taught to Irish motorists?

    I think corner radii in the UK manual for streets may go down to 2m so the NTA document may still be excessively relaxed in this aspect.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,735 ✭✭✭Irish and Proud


    Long story short its workable in some aspects but not in others. (I dont want to get into defending the NTA) However, road geometry based on motorists "maintaining progress" tends as a rule to be hostile and dangerous for pedestrians, cyclists and also motor cyclists. Therefore the use of such road layouts in urban areas is a direct cause of traffic congestion.

    Yes the use of a perpendicular entry/exit layout is a particular feature of Dutch roundabouts on roads with mixed traffic - sometimes termed "continental geometry".

    Could it be also that the problem is with the driving "standards" being taught to Irish motorists?

    I think corner radii in the UK manual for streets may go down to 2m so the NTA document may still be excessively relaxed in this aspect.

    My main standpoint would be that all modes should be properly catered for. In my new junction design, what I've done is used a displaced left slip where left turning traffic would queue on the right (in the median) and would cross back over into a perpendicular slip with the lights (for the intersecting road) when all traffic on the main road is stopped - this would totally eliminate the danger of left traffic crossing in an uncontrolled manner over either the bus or cycle lane - I would really have to get the drawing up to show what I mean.

    On the subject of progress, traffic has to be kept moving so that a town can operate efficiently - it's not about speed - it's about keeping things moving at a reasonable constant rate depending on the situation. The following max speeds are reasonable IMO: Car Parks 10kph - Town Centres: 20/30kph - General Built-up Areas: 40/50kph - Main Urban Roads: 50/60kph. With the cycle manual, those speeds would be very difficult to achieve.

    I also think that excessive traffic calming can create hazards - ramps usually do the job if speed is a problem - maybe average speed cameras could also be considered - I think they have one or two of those in the North.

    Regards!


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 2,913 ✭✭✭galwaycyclist


    I also think that excessive traffic calming can create hazards - ramps usually do the job if speed is a problem - maybe average speed cameras could also be considered - I think they have one or two of those in the North.

    Agreed. For instance the use of "traffic calming" features based on road narrowings and pinch points is established to result in a much more hostile cycling environment.

    http://www.oocities.org/galwaycyclist/info/narrowings.html

    Cyclists can find themselves forced into close proximity with fast moving motor vehicles or have motorists trying to "race" them to get to narrow gaps. There would be a view that in some cases it appears that roads engineers are using unprotected human beings on bicycles as a form of mobile "traffic calming".

    The issue is specifically raised in the Governments National Cycle Policy Framework as requiring remediation. I would be curious to know if you have come across any formal discussion of the issue in the NTA's "cycle manual"?


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,735 ✭✭✭Irish and Proud


    Dónal wrote: »
    Regarding the design you've done, I'd be interested in seeing it.
    <snip>

    Here's a couple of rough examples for QBC intersections that I have in mind:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/65161583@N06/6882746965/in/photostream

    &

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/65161583@N06/6882733125/in/photostream/

    The solid red lines represent carriageways and slips - these include both bus and general traffic lanes - black arrows and stop lines (hope I got them all) are included.

    The solid blue lines represent cycle tracks while the dotted red lines are pedestrian routes. The solid red rectangles represent possible bus stop locations while the small outline blue rectangles (not accurately placed on the diagram I must say) are 'Stay Left to Turn Right' boxes for cyclists.

    These diagrams are quite rough, but will probably give you an idea of where I'm coming from - I will upload the concepts in more detail later. I also hope to have the signal phasing diagrams at some stage.

    Regards!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,735 ✭✭✭Irish and Proud


    I'm thinking on making a submission to the National Transport Authority regarding the removal of left lanes - the following points would be among those I'd be submitting.

    Removal of Left Lanes / Slips at signalized junctions - why it's not a good idea:

    1) Dangerous conflict between left turning motorists and cyclists - when a motorist is stopped at the lights, it would be much more difficult IMO to predict the movement of cyclists on the blind side as opposed to moving in (at a reasonable speed) across the cycle track (once there's a clear space to do so) into a dedicated left lane - you also have to remember that motorists would also have to concentrate on pedestrians and the tight left curve itself.

    2) Increases severance for pedestrians - as a pedestrian, I find junctions with no left slip-roads a pain in the backside - a left sliproad allows me to take care of left turning traffic first before crossing the mainline - BTW, you have to consider that if pedestrians were to obey every light, there'd be no point in commuter walking (too much lost time) - you should consider what comes natural to pedestrians and I don't think you have properly consulted pedestrians. For me as a pedestrian, left slips are not the problem in crossing large roads. However, I do think to left slips should be angled @ approx' 60deg to the intersecting road in order to control speed.

    3) For pedestrians, the lack of a left declaration lane would make it difficult to predict the movement of traffic IMO - again, you can't seriously expect pedestrians to wait for every red light before crossing - pedestrians tend to take matters into their own hands and IMO, there's no changing that unless you want to cage people in. IMO, 'jaywalking' is a stupid term in the context of an urban environment because 'jaywalking' is natural (unless you're that guy in Rainman!). Of course, walking onto a motorway is trespassing.

    4) The lack of left turn facilites at lights would lead to more stalled traffic in the carriageway which in turn would lead to more congestion and increased engine revving which is not good regarding Co2 emissions. There would also be an increased risk of cycle lane blockage by left turning vehicles. Did you also consider the risk of agressive drivers taking wide left turns (some of these guys don't know what lanes are for!) at speed - that IMO is far less likely to happen with a well constructed 60deg slip road.

    5) Stalled traffic waiting to turn left would cause psychological discomfort by way of uncertainty for cyclists and pedstrians.

    More to come...


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 2,913 ✭✭✭galwaycyclist


    Yes I agree with many of your observations however it may be that an "engineering" approach is not the only, or most applicable, solution.
    Q: What is the fundamental problem here?

    A: It is the bizarre Irish practice of requiring pedestrians to stop and yield for turning traffic instead of requiring turning traffic to stop and yield to crossing pedestrians.

    In other European countries when the traffic signals go green they will go green for everybody, with possibly a pre-green for cyclists and pedestrians. Pedestrians travelling straight may proceed at the same time and turning traffic must yield to them.

    So what is needed here is to bring Irish practice up to standard.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,735 ✭✭✭Irish and Proud


    Yes I agree with many of your observations however it may be that an "engineering" approach is not the only, or most applicable, solution.
    Q: What is the fundamental problem here?

    A: It is the bizarre Irish practice of requiring pedestrians to stop and yield for turning traffic instead of requiring turning traffic to stop and yield to crossing pedestrians.

    In other European countries when the traffic signals go green they will go green for everybody, with possibly a pre-green for cyclists and pedestrians. Pedestrians travelling straight may proceed at the same time and turning traffic must yield to them.

    So what is needed here is to bring Irish practice up to standard.

    Yes, I've been devising a design based on what you were saying and have come up with a revised suggestion of the 30/60deg left slip road. Instead of signals on this slip, a Zebra crossing would be used along with paving materials similar to that of adjoined pedestrian areas (the paving would hopefully give the motorist an added sense of who has priority there. The slip itself would rise gradually by about 100mm before crossing the Zebra strip (in paving) and dropping back thereafter. Though a guardrail could be used along the mainlines next to the main pedestrian crossings, no guardrail would be used on any part of the slip itself - this I'd hope would give motorists a sense of being in a pedestrian area as opposed to the sense of segregation normally experienced by them.

    Still working on it! ;)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,735 ✭✭✭Irish and Proud


    Two very interesting threads relating to a roundabout in Glenageary:

    1) Killiney Towers roundabout acquires on-road semi-kerbed peripheral cycle lane thingy - includes some very good photos on Post #1;

    2) Killiney Towers Roundabout is being made narrower! - includes an excellent article in the Indo about the Killiney Towers Roundabout (thanks to galwaycyclist and patrickbrophy18 for finding it!):
    Bruce Arnold: How household charge is likely to go down drain
    Monday April 02 2012

    The following story concerns a roundabout at Albert Road in Glenageary. In the past six months more than €250,000 has been wastefully spent on a foolish local authority project to 'improve' safety by restricting the movement of traffic, contrary to the essential theory and practice of roundabout use.<snip>

    Irish Independent

    Link to article...



    IMO, the NTA is indeed a pen pushing quango that I don't really think there's any need for (and can we really afford it - especially with money wasted on infrastructural downgrades) - sure the NRA and RPA are due to be merged - surely an all rounded transport authority could be formed from these to cover all aspects of transport - a bit like CalTrans in California.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,303 ✭✭✭patrickbrophy18


    Yes, I've been devising a design based on what you were saying and have come up with a revised suggestion of the 30/60deg left slip road. Instead of signals on this slip, a Zebra crossing would be used along with paving materials similar to that of adjoined pedestrian areas (the paving would hopefully give the motorist an added sense of who has priority there. The slip itself would rise gradually by about 100mm before crossing the Zebra strip (in paving) and dropping back thereafter. Though a guardrail could be used along the mainlines next to the main pedestrian crossings, no guardrail would be used on any part of the slip itself - this I'd hope would give motorists a sense of being in a pedestrian area as opposed to the sense of segregation normally experienced by them.

    Still working on it! ;)

    Funny that you mention that as the slip lane onto Merrion Road from The Rock Road more or less fits this description. For clarification purposes, here is a picture:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/76858253@N08/6893780016/in/photostream

    Oh, galwaycyclist was the poster who brought that article to my attention!:D


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,735 ✭✭✭Irish and Proud


    One of the posters in the comments section beneath the Indo article has for some reason taken my user name - whether it's a coincidence or not I don't know, but for the record, I'm not that poster.

    Edit:

    The poster in the Indo comments section has apologized for using my alias - much appreciated! Apparently, he intended to quote me but after deciding not to, he left the name 'Irish and Proud' at the bottom on his post by mistake.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,106 ✭✭✭antoobrien


    Agreed. For instance the use of "traffic calming" features based on road narrowings and pinch points is established to result in a much more hostile cycling environment.

    Maybe these on Grittith Ave in Dublin, should be added to the cycle manual. Haven't cycled on the road much but it does seem to work.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,735 ✭✭✭Irish and Proud


    antoobrien wrote: »
    Maybe these on Grittith Ave in Dublin, should be added to the cycle manual. Haven't cycled on the road much but it does seem to work.

    ...but would mild ramps not do the job in slowing traffic down a bit - I don't remember (when I did cycle), but I'd imagine that ramps would not affect cyclists as severely as they would affect motorists given the slower speed of cyclists and the bigger diameters of bicycle wheels as opposed to car wheels.

    Little dividing islands for cycle lanes still act as buildouts for motorists - this can be a particular problem for buses.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,106 ✭✭✭antoobrien


    ...but would mild ramps not do the job in slowing traffic down a bit - I don't remember (when I did cycle), but I'd imagine that ramps would not affect cyclists as severely as they would affect motorists given the slower speed of cyclists and the bigger diameters of bicycle wheels as opposed to car wheels.

    The ones they have in Dublin don't work that well, some of them encourage motorists to swerve toward the kerb in order to maintain speed (the missing ramp was eventually replaced).

    This type don't slow you don't a whole lot (especially if you maintain your suspension) and can be very hard to see because the paint fades back into the tar.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,735 ✭✭✭Irish and Proud


    A new development in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown:

    Braemor Road Enhancement Scheme - this road is part of the R112 ring.

    Included is a provsion for new 2.0m cycle tracks in accordance with the National Cycle Manual - again it's seemingly sponsored by the NTA but this time, there is public consultation. Mind you, I understand that most trees along the road are to be felled and replaced - the reasons are enclosed in the report. As a motorist, I wouldn't have a real objection to the overall scheme, but I do have reservations regarding certain aspects such as the non-inclusion of a left pocket at one of the signalized junctions. Some right turn lanes are also too narrow.

    In any case, I intend to make a detailed submission regarding the scheme.

    Regards!


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 14,069 Mod ✭✭✭✭monument


    ...but I do have reservations regarding certain aspects such as the non-inclusion of a left pocket at one of the signalized junctions. Some right turn lanes are also too narrow.

    In any case, I intend to make a detailed submission regarding the scheme.

    Regards!

    You're writing a detailed submission just on those two things? :confused:


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,735 ✭✭✭Irish and Proud


    monument wrote: »
    ...but I do have reservations regarding certain aspects such as the non-inclusion of a left pocket at one of the signalized junctions. Some right turn lanes are also too narrow.

    In any case, I intend to make a detailed submission regarding the scheme.

    Regards!

    You're writing a detailed submission just on those two things? :confused:

    Of course not, I've just given two loose examples of a number of points I intend to raise.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,303 ✭✭✭patrickbrophy18


    This just in, I saw news of the Cycle Network Review for Dun Laoghaire Rathdown at the following link:

    http://www.dlrcoco.ie/aboutus/councildepartments/transportation/findit/cycling/cyclenetworkreview/

    As such, I will be making this post to the relevant threads.


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