With all eyes on Bus Rapid Transit as the holy grail of Belfast’s transport future, simple measures to encourage cycling as a means of commuting are being ignored, for the sake of a few parked cars.
Belfast residents are currently grumbling about road works in the city centre. This is part of the Sustainable Transport Enabling Measures (STEM) redesign of the streets to accommodate the future bus rapid transit system. Bad enough are the delays associated with traffic cones and reduced road space, but motorists can see the writing on the wall – new bus lanes are taking priority away from the car.
Continue reading “What’s missing from Belfast's sustainable transport plan?”
Here’s a suggestion for a powerful message to send to Belfast commuters. We’ve already seen the problems Belfast commuter cyclists face with illegal parking on cycle lanes at rush hour. Roads Service traffic wardens are not resourced to cover 100% of the city during urban clearway times, so day-to-day priorities are set, leaving many routes clogged with parked cars.
Continue reading “Getting Belfast traffic wardens on their bikes”
Returning from holiday I noticed a new marking on my usual commuting route into Belfast City Centre. The bottleneck at the end of the Albertbridge Junction approaching the Lagan is notorious among commuter cyclists. The popular citybound bus lane provides safe space for cycling, but it terminates on the approach to the bridge itself, converging with the adjacent ‘inside’ traffic lane. This is already a scene of great conflict for cyclists, usually the slowest road user at this point.
Continue reading “Danger being designed into Belfast roads”
Belfast’s commuter cyclists must fight for the right to use our cycle lanes! Join a unique volunteer effort in July 2012 to document and record illegal cycle lane blocking in Belfast, and let’s reclaim our cycle lanes!
Northern Ireland Greenways has teamed up with Centre of Excellence for Public Health, Queen’s University Belfast to help conduct this action research audit.
Continue reading “Reclaim Belfast's cycle lanes!”
In May I posted a video on YouTube of the Castlereagh Road ‘Cycle Lane’. Cycling daily on this route home, I can count on one hand the number of evenings where I’ve had a clear run at the full length of the new cycle lane, which has been in operation since last year.
A lively response to the video included an invitation from the Ulster Unionist Party to put the concerns directly in writing to the Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy. Below you can read my letter, and the response received from the Roads Service Chief Executive Geoff Allister.
Continue reading “Belfast's redundant cycle lanes”
During the recent hot spell in May, I launched a mighty Twitter rant about the dearth of cycle commuters in Belfast. I was fairly challenged on a number of assertions about Belfast’s population and commuter flows. Having subsequently had a little time to look over available data, there are some clear conclusions to be drawn about the possibilities of modal shift in Belfast – getting punters to give up car travel in favour of the humble bike.
Continue reading “Belfast: a city with untapped cycle potential”
Leisure and tourism in County Tyrone could be boosted by reopening a former railway line as a cycling and walking route. The Great Northern Railway branch line ran from Cookstown, through Coalisland and into Dungannon. Built in 1879, fully enclosing the Lough Neagh basin with railway lines, this branch was closed in 1959. Creating a new Greenway for walkers and cyclists, local ramblers and active tourists, can create new economic possibilities and health benefits in the region.
Continue reading “Cookstown to Dungannon Greenway”
The towns of Cookstown, Moneymore and Magherafelt were once linked by a railway that now lies derelict. The old line, which winds through the Mid Ulster countryside, could be regenerated to provide a high quality 11 mile walking path and cycle route. This could be an important part of an orbital pathway around Lough Neagh, and a key tourist route west of the Bann.
Continue reading “Cookstown to Magherafelt Greenway”
Nestled between the River Bann and the Sperrins, a disused railway line snakes between the towns of Magherafelt, Maghera, Kilrea and Garvagh. The line was built and operated as the Derry Central line, which fully closed in 1959. The route is still visible today, and presents an opportunity for regeneration. A new cycling and walking path, or Greenway, could be opened on the former trackbed, providing a healthy infrastructure for the Mid Ulster area and a boost to tourism.
Magherafelt, Draperstown and Desertmartin are linked by the former Draperstown Railway, which shut in 1950. Local communities could benefit from regenerating this route and creating a new Greenway to allow walking and cycling into the County Tyrone countryside. This Greenway proposal is part of a wider network over 600 miles across Northern Ireland which, if realised, could bring activity tourism spend to the Draperstown area.