Neighbourhood Calming

Last year, councillors came up with 21 spots that they thought were in need of special neighbourhood traffic schemes. But where would go first?

At this week’s South East Area meeting, Traffic Engineer Andrew Duff said told councillors they’d drawn up a way to deal with neighbourhood transport schemes, which would make residential areas more “walkable” and safe.

They’ll tackle residential areas affected by transport issues like rat-running, speeding, heavy traffic, HGVs driving through areas and cars mounting footpaths, he said. “What we want to do is give these residential areas back to the people.”

For the south-east, they’re considering measures in Marlborough Road; Belmont; Terenure; Harold’s Cross; Pigeon House; Island Villas; the Liberties; Bulfin Road; Oliver Bond Street; Mountshannon Road and Ballyfermot.

Duff said he selected the areas by looking at requests for traffic calming, liaising with councillors and council area managers, and reviewing Road Safety Authority data.

“It’s important to note that this list is by no means finalised,” said Duff, who said he would take input from councillors.

Engineers will rank areas based on need, he said, looking at: traffic issues; environmental issues; “trip generators and attractors”; community support; and the complexity of the solutions to transport issues.

Once settled, the council will meet with councillors and stakeholder to develop and implement the traffic plans. Then plans will be evaluated afterwards, he said.

Fine Gael Councillor Anne Feeney said every area “merited being looked at” and that she hoped none would be removed from the list.

Duff said no area would be “knocked off the list” once assessed. The plan is to roll out schemes in “early 2020”, he said.

Prepping for Euro 2020

“We’re very much pushing Dublin as a walking city,” said Don Daley, the Euro 2020 project manager for Dublin City Council, at Monday’s meeting of councillors in the South East Area.

Parts of the city will be pedestrianised when the UEFA Euro 2020 football matches come to town next summer, he said.

The city is set to host four matches in mid-to-late June at the Aviva Stadium or “Dublin Arena” – plus two more if Ireland qualifies.

It’s billed as the “biggest sporting event ever to be held in Ireland”, said Daley. The event will “turn Dublin into a festival next year”.

The city’s stadiums are a “walkable” distance from the centre, said Daley, showing councillors a map of the walking routes. The plan is for 470 volunteers to help usher spectators around, Daley said.

Each city has to provide free transport for match ticket holders too, said Daley. That’s to encourage people not to jump in cars.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to show off what a spectacular city we have,” said independent Councillor Mannix Flynn. Areas impacted should be given details, he said.

Labour Councillor Kevin Donoghue was more critical. He “wouldn’t be encouraging large numbers of people to walk down” some footpaths in the city, and asked if there were plans to improve them.

The walking routes are “suggested” and the council is still working with the Gardaí and other stakeholders, Daley said in response to Donoghue’s query.

The plan at the moment is also for two “fan zones” for ticketless fans, a “football village” in Merrion Square for up to 10,000 people and a public viewing area at Dublin Castle, with room for between 5,000 to 7,000 people.

More Meetings?

There should be separate meetings for councillors for each of the three local electoral areas in the south-east of the city so issues can be discussed in-depth, councillors agreed at Monday’s meeting.

Independents 4 Change Councillor Pat Dunne proposed the motion. “We represent 25 percent of all of the councillors,” he said. “The area itself is quite diverse both geographically and in terms of social makeup.”

“I think there are unique issues in each of the three local electoral areas,” Dunne said. He said he wants an area manager for each, who would meet with councillors regularly.

The three local electoral areas within the council’s South-East Area are Kimmage-Rathmines, Pembroke and the South East Inner-City.

“I’m not talking about a duplication of this meeting,” Dunne said. The smaller meetings would let councillors look at issues in more detail. There wouldn’t have to be voting, he said.

“We could save time at an area committee meeting by having less motions because we could deal with these issues at a more localised venue,” he said.

These more localised committees could meet every two months, he said. The South East Area Committee meets monthly.

Fine Gael Councillor Anne Feeney supported the motion. “It’s an opportunity for us to discuss and have an interactive thing in relation to the issues,” she said.

Labour Councillor Mary Freehill also said the idea was worth trialling.

Councillor Dermot Lacey, Freehill’s party colleague, who is chair of the South-East Area Committee, was not as unequivocal in his support.

“I think we have to be responsible that there is an area committee and there is a responsibility in the area committee and we have to retain the integrity,” Lacey said.

“But there is also a better way of working together,” he added.

Lacey said that Area Manager Mary Taylor had said that she was “prepared to work through a system that reflects what people want”.

Aura McMenamin is a city reporter.

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