Council Briefs: Calming Traffic on Belmont Avenue, Reopening the Herzog Park Pitch, and More

Calming Traffic

Locals will be asked to choose between a one-way portion or a cul-de-sac at the end of Belmont Avenue, a council official said on Monday.

Councillors and residents have raised issues of congestion, speeding, rat running and other dangerous driving behaviour on the road in Donnybrook, said Andrew Duff, a Dublin City Council transport engineer.

In a council meeting in March, Duff gave six options for how to tackle that. After feedback from councillors, that’s been winnowed down to two.

Both options would keep vehicles from turning off Sandford Road, the main road going south-east from Ranelagh, onto the side street Belmont Avenue, Duff said, at a meeting of the council’s South-East Area Committee

In option 1, vehicles wouldn’t be blocked from turning from Sandford Road onto Belmont Avenue. That western segment of Belmont Avenue – from Sandford Road to Belmont Gardens – would be one-way, allowing vehicles to leave Belmont Avenue onto Sandford Road only.

In option 2, rather than making the western end of Belmont Avenue one-way, flexible bollards would fully close off that western connection between Sandford Road and Belmont Avenue for vehicles coming or going (except emergency vehicles). And there would be a cul-de-sac and turn-around area there for vehicles on Belmont Avenue.

In either case, pedestrians and cyclists would still be able to come and go from Sandford Road to Belmont Avenue or vice versa.

Also, in either case, 30km/h speed signs would be put up. Car parking would stay as is and the Belmont Avenue zebra crossing would be upgraded, said Duff.

A six-week public consultation period would run from mid-July until the end of August, he says, with – if feedback was supportive – a six-week trial starting sometime in September.

Part of the outreach would be a letter drop, he said. Those would reach houses on parallel roads such as Belmont Avenue, Beaver Row, back up to Appian Way and those living on perpendicular roads such as Sanford Road and Donnybrook Road, he said.

Councillors disagreed over which roads should be asked. “I’m wondering about the necessity to go as far as Beaver Row, because you’re bringing in extraneous comments there,” said Paddy McCartan, a Fine Gael councillor.

“If you have too many people coming in with views from all over, you get an imbalanced overall view,” he said.

Dermot Lacey, a Labour councillor, said that Beaver Row could be particularly poorly impacted by changes to Belmont Avenue, so its residents should be asked.

“Because it is so narrow already, I reckon there will be proposals to have that made a one-way street at some stage,” he said.

James Geoghegan, another Fine Gael councillor, asked how the engineers would compare the identified dangers and risks on Belmont Avenue with problems that could arise on nearby roads if changes were made.

Duff said the design consultants would likely create a weighted questionnaire that would take into account each respondent’s proximity to the road.

The council wants to give everyone that could be directly affected by the changes a chance to voice their opinion, he said.

“We just don’t want to be criticised at a later stage saying that we didn’t give everyone an opportunity to speak up, who may be affected by any measures that are put on Belmont Avenue,” he said.

At the end of the six-week trial, the council would look for more feedback from residents and councillors, said Duff.

“And obviously then an engineer will be sent down to evaluate the effectiveness of the trial over that period,” he said.

The Herzog Park Pitch

The council has shut the astroturf pitch in Herzog Park in Rathgar to individuals due to noise complaints, said responses from officials to councillor queries.

There was “un-supervised play” on the pitch before 8am, said a council response, “which was deemed to be a nuisance for local residents”.

The council said it won’t open the pitch again for individual groups until it has assessed noise levels “to confirm if they are excessive”. The assessment has started, a response said.

For now, schools and clubs that are rostered to use the pitch can do so, it said, and organised groups can request to join that roster.

Both Tara Deacy, a Social Democrats councillor, and Carolyn Moore, a Green Party councillor, said they had been contacted by people to ask the council why the pitch was closed.

“Nobody has approached me in terms of noise level,” said Deacy, on the phone on Tuesday.

“As a public facility there was great disappointment in its closure,” she said. “A lot of people who use it were very disappointed.”

“During the summer moments, particularly because of Covid, and where we find ourselves that our public places aren’t allowed to be open to let children play in I think is a worry,” she said.

Play for All

Dublin City Council hopes to put “communication boards” in five playgrounds across the city, to help children who are non-verbal to express themselves, said a response in June to a query from Danny Byrne, a Fine Gael councillor.

In March, Byrne had submitted a motion, calling for these boards to be put in playgrounds across the city.

The council is now planning a pilot, it said in a written response to another query this month, this one by Social Democrats Councillor Tara Deacy.

Debby Clarke, the Dublin City Council play officer, said at the time that they would be a useful addition to playgrounds.

But more research was needed as to the “feasibility and practicality” of installing them in 67 playgrounds across the city, she said. The council would consult with disability groups to determine costs, she said.

Byrne says the boards would not be very expensive. “Once they’re designed, and then large-scale printing, so you know, they’re gonna cost maybe a couple grand each.”

Deacy, the Social Democrats councillor, asked at July’s area committee meeting that Crumlin/Kimmage area be prioritised in the pilot, as local groups have sought such boards for some time.

That may be possible in the pilot, said the council reply.

South Dublin County Council has put up communication boards, said Deacy. “As far as I know, they’re all over the county.” (South Dublin County Council didn’t respond to a query about this.)

“I’ve been approached by a number of community groups seeking this, and wondering why this hasn’t happened,” said Deacy.

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Claudia Dalby: Claudia Dalby is a city reporter for Dublin Inquirer. She's especially interested in stories about the southside, transport, and kids in the city. Get in touch at [email protected]

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