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Opinons on this gradient

  • 01-02-2022 2:17pm
    Registered Users Posts: 19,426 ✭✭✭✭ Muahahaha

    Just looking at a planned greenway and seeking opinions on this gradient and if it is too steep for too long. It is 820 metres in length during which time it rises 33 metres. If my calculation isnt wrong it represents a gradient of just over 4%.

    I know everyone here could get up a hill like that no problems. But what are opinions as to whether the main users of this section could get up it. i.e could a 12 year old child do it, could an adult in their 40s who may not have cycled in 20+ years do it? Users would be of average fitness but some not of that level.

    I was looking at TII guidance on greenway construction and they state the preferred maximum gradient is 3% and if it has to go over that it should only be for sections of 100m or less. However this section is 820m long so multiples of that. I think a lot of people who dont normally cycle will struggle to cycle up such a hill and would end up walking but want to hear others opinions on it.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,322 ✭✭✭ jamesd

    Should be no real issue - I have a 7 year old that could do it , complains but she can do it.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 45,267 CMod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder

    yeah, that's a steep enough climb up that gradient - put it this way, when i tried the 'climb as much as you can in one hour effort' a year or two ago, it was on a climb with a similar gradient (68m in 1.55km)

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 45,267 CMod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder

    another comparison - it's obviously shorter than the howth hill TT on strava - but that howth segment rises at just under 30m per km. the section described above rises at just under 40m per km. could be difficult if you've any health issues or are unfit.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,436 ✭✭✭ TheBlaaMan

    Greenways build on decommissioned railway lines are really at the mercy of the engineers of the 1850s. In most cases, steam trains didnt/couldnt get up a gradient greater than 3% as I understand it. Not too sure if this is the scenario here, but I can well understand the safety issues associated with a -4% descent for the non-cyclist......

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  • Registered Users Posts: 19,426 ✭✭✭✭ Muahahaha

    This greenway isnt along an old railway alignment but is a mountainous area in parts.

    yeah thats actually the other problem and what is worse is the end of this 820m hill is a dog leg bend approx 25 metres before it ends in a T junction that meets a busy road. It is steep enough in that section and I can already see a child hurtling down there and not knowing what is ahead around the bend regardless of signage. If they are not heavily on their brakes at that point there is a real danger they go right out into traffic.

    Reason Im asking all this is that there is an alternative route close by that goes down the same hill but it is a much gentler gradient over a longer distance. Im not sure why the council have choosen a route that goes up and down the hill in the steepest way possible but thats what their plans are at the moment.

  • That 4% is average gradient though right?

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,426 ✭✭✭✭ Muahahaha

    Yeah the 4% is over the entire 820 metres. It is probably 5% in some parts and 3% in others. While experienced cyclists could get up it I doubt everyone can and most of the use will be by non experienced cyclists.

  • Registered Users Posts: 706 ✭✭✭ mad turnip

    Can you post the proposed route?

    I would imagine the gradient may have just been an oversight but a very valid point depending on the route particularly for 1km. But wouldn't a greenway be separated from traffic? I do think a 4% consistent climb for 1km is better than 20% for a shorter period if that is the alternative. They can always use an alternate surface to slow riders coming down, on a downhill 4% isn't that much considering casual cyclists don't pedal and just coast along.

  • There is a segment near me advertised at 3.2% for about 1km but I could easily hit 50 on (downhill) with little effort. I think at it's steepest it's 11% certainly feels it riding or even walking up it.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,749 ✭✭✭ Macy0161

    I think that pedestrians and cyclist should be separated when speeds above 30kph can be reasonably predicted, but I don't know whether that's best practice or rules or guidance. Just going on submissions I've seen elsewhere.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,426 ✭✭✭✭ Muahahaha

    yeah greenways normally separated from traffic but not this section, it is shared with cars and tractors coming in and out of a couple of farm gates. There are several houses along the hill too with driveways going out onto the road. Im not sure how they intend separating it from traffic, maybe a kerb between the two or maybe it will just be paint and a different surface. Kerbing isnt an option for all of it due to the driveways from houses so its likely just going to be paint and a different surface for the cycle lane.

    The alternative route to this 33m over 820m distance (4%) is approx 2km to achieve the same hill climb so about half the gradient. Both routes end up in the same place but the currently planned one is a lot steeper to get up and getting down it would increase speed a lot unless they are heavily on the brakes for a good bit of it. A lot of users would be families with children, many of whom wont be experienced cyclists.

    Anyway thanks all for the opinions, I'll be making a submission suggesting they use the alternative route. Its just too dodgy to be sending children and inexperienced cyclists down such a steep hill with a bend at the end and then a T junction going straight out onto a major road, it sounds like a recipe for disaster especially when there is a viable alternative that is a lot safer.

  • Registered Users Posts: 435 ✭✭ ARX

    I may be wrong (I've never used a greenway), but I would guess that many of the bikes on a greenway would have somewhat less than scrupulously maintained brakes.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,383 ✭✭✭ Large bottle small glass

    I'd imagine without Irish Rail wayleave and a license to Local Authorities, getting a Greenway route is really problematic.

    You only need one awkward landowner to break your heart.

    That could be influencing their decision.

    Along with risks mentioned I'd include wheelchair users and users with general ambulatory issues in your observation.

    Maybe include an observation that insuring a Greenway with such design flaws, contrary to TII guidance, might make project unviable in the long term

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,426 ✭✭✭✭ Muahahaha

    In this instance 95% of the greenway runs across public land, not owned by Irish Rail but by the ESB. Its the Blessington greenway which is just starting to go through planning with ABP at the moment. Thankfully most of the 33km route runs along the shore of the lake so is pretty flat and will be wheelchair accessible for many kilometres. Though Im not sure what they are surfacing it with, the technical specification is beyond my understanding of how it will look. I'll be submitting a suggestion to use tarmac for my own selfish reasons (I cycle a road bike with skinny tyres) but AFAIK previous plans spoke about hardcore and some sort of loose gravel on top meaning you would likely need a hybrid bike to cycle it without discomfort.

    Youre right to say they are really difficult to do across private land though. The Mayo greenway took 12 years start to finish with the last few years being held up by a handful of landowners. The same went on in Kerry, iirc it was 256 landowners there and less than 10 held it up. I think the courts ruled against them last year so its going ahead but the battle added years on to delivering it

  • Registered Users Posts: 696 ✭✭✭ Roadtoad

    Can anyone pull up the climb/drop on the Achill greenway quite near the Westport end? Her indoors walked up, we both sat on the brakes coming down as there was a big party of pedestrians about.

    Its probably a good comparison, but without a chicane and a public road.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 45,267 CMod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder

  • Registered Users Posts: 696 ✭✭✭ Roadtoad

    Magic, I'm more inclined to think its the bit from your chequered flag toward the roundabout.

  • I've family who did the Westport one and I remember them telling me they rounded a bit of a bend and got caught out in terms of gearing and got off and walked up, wouldn't be experienced cyclists but if what they said was accurate I'd have maybe been caught out a bit too.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 45,267 CMod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder

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  • Registered Users Posts: 696 ✭✭✭ Roadtoad

    OP, take it that the suggested slope is fine, based on the Achill info that Magic posted. Unless there's uisce faoi talamh. Cyclists of all abilities don't mind the odd walk, it adds to the bragging rights. Gates at the end will force people to dismount before the road.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,911 ✭✭✭✭ loyatemu

    there's a bit of the Great Western Greenway at Mulranny that's like a wall, but it's only 50m or so. I'm a regular cyclist around Wicklow, I still struggled to get up it and was hauling on the brakes on the way back going down it.

    There's a fairly long hill on the way into Dungarvan on the Waterford Greenway, though as that's a former railway alignment I guess it's not anything like 4%.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 45,267 CMod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder

    i don't think that the idea that because it was used elsewhere, it's fine for a new greenway, is very portable though.

    what if it's preventing people with limited mobility from using it?

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,426 ✭✭✭✭ Muahahaha

    I think I vaguely remember that section on the Westport greenway, iirc it went around a left bend followed quickly by a right one and up a steep section to go behind someones house. I got up out of the saddle quick when I saw it and got over the hill but my partner had to walk it. It was somewhere near enough to that hotel with the great views of Clew Bay. If its the same section Id say a lot of people would have to walk it but it wasnt that long, maybe 50m or so. The hill on this section in the OP is 820m long so a fairly different proposition.

    Just learned that it costs 50 euro to make a submission to An Bord Pleanla so I doubt I'll bother now. Its a bit of a joke that they expect you to pay that kind of money to point out potential flaws in the design backed up by real world experience of actually cycling the section, something Ive no doubt the planning consultants didnt do themselves. Its no skin off my own nose if they route it on this steep gradient instead of the gentler alternative route as I can cycle to the top of it even though it is a tough slog and you are out of the saddle for a fair bit of it. And I know there is a T junction meeting a major road around a bend at the bottom of it. I was more pointing it out to them for others like children and inexperienced cyclists who have never been there before. A lot of them are going have to walk up it but the real problem is the potential speed they could pick up heading towards a T junction.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,022 ✭✭✭✭ Murph_D

    How are you calculating the elevation change? Not strava or Garmin, I assume, as it's not always very accurate?

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,426 ✭✭✭✭ Muahahaha

    I used this site here, you can click anywhere in the country and it will tell you how many feet above sea level that point is

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,240 ✭✭✭ Mercian Pro

    Do you have the Bord Pleanala reference number? I have tried searching their website but it doesn't show up and the Blessington Greenway site says work on the Greenway will start in Q3/20 and be completed in Q4/21 or Q1/22!

    Just found it in the weekly lists - it's JP27.312479 in case anyone is interested. However, I can't find any way of viewing the drawings etc and the only reference on the Wicklow Co Co site seems to be to an earlier scheme in 2017 that was withdrawn.

  • Registered Users Posts: 36,136 ✭✭✭✭ ED E

    but is a mountainous area in parts.

    Alarm bells were ringing for blessington once I read this. Not many of its ilk.

    Manager Order:Part 8

    Its a part 8 activity, the council doesnt need permission, it can just do it. They put it up for consultation but mostly can do what they want. So we don't always get detailed plans like you would where PP is sought.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 36,136 ✭✭✭✭ ED E

    Old thread here:

    but AFAIK previous plans spoke about hardcore and some sort of loose gravel on top meaning you would likely need a hybrid bike to cycle it without discomfort.

    Take a spin out here, not necessarily

     is the end of this 820m hill is a dog leg bend approx 25 metres before it ends in a T junction that meets a busy road.

    Where are you seeing this? Are you perhaps mapping based on it being roadside?