Work on the new Alfred Street cycleway continues apace.
Bollards have now appeared, but it is now clear only half of them have been installed. With rather predictable results:
DRD are monitoring the situation. Even if the remaining wands are placed drivers can simply drive into the Cycleway at any of the conveniently placed access points for alleys, loading bays, car parks and side streets.
As much as I hate the bollards for their potential hazard to cyclists, DRD need to install them, as they did at Ormeau Avenue:
Another consequence of using fewer wands than planned is the lack of protection at junctions.
The Cyclesaurus is dead. It is replaced with a broad green track across the junction. However, at present, only paint separates cars and cyclists.
I urged DRD to install more protection for cyclists at junctions, but there appears to have been a change in the plans meaning there is now less protection:
The red dots mark where wands should have been placed. The separating white line extends up to the raised junction with two wands on the raised section of the road.
Here’s what’s been installed:
The line now stops at the incline with the final wand some way before the junction. According to the plans the final wand should have been roughly where this pedestrian is crossing.
What the picture also shows are the tyre tracks of cars turning into Franklin Street.
The lack of wands gives the corner a wide radius, so drivers need not slow down as they turn across the cycleway. This is not safe.
At the Ormeau Road end the junction is simply terrible. Southbound cyclists are positioned to the right of Alfred Street. Car drivers coming off eastbound Ormeau Avenue turn in and pass to the left of the cyclist.
I called it a “fudge” at the consultation event in May 2015. It is worse than a fudge. It is dangerous.
Practically, it is impossible for cyclists to turn right on to Ormeau Avenue. The design of the cycleway should have included some means of crossing safely.
Again, the wide radius of the corner gives the driver no incentive to slow down. The driver will be disconcerted to see cyclists emerging onto the shared space section of the junction.
I understood that the Ormeau Avenue entry was meant to be a continuous footway.
The above is a continuous footway. What we have here:
This Alfred Street track is still being built. I hope enough time remains to fix the errors and increase the track’s safety.
This plan is meant to set a new standard for cycleways across Northern Ireland. It does already, despite serious shortcomings. It needs to be better.