Northside Council Briefs: Making Ratoath Road Walkable, and Finishing the Council “Super Depot” in Ballymun

Making Ratoath Road Walkable

“The edge of the road is crumbling on both sides,” says Sinn Féin Councillor Anthony Connaghan. He is talking about Ratoath Road in Finglas.

Connaghan tabled a motion at Dublin City Council’s North West Area Committee on 19 April, asking the council’s area manager to drive or walk along the Ratoath Road to ascertain if it is safe – and to set out a plan to upgrade it.

The motion was agreed.

By far the biggest problem with the road is that there’s no footpath, said Social Democrats Councillor Mary Callaghan.

Children living in St Mary’s Park on Dunsink Lane, a Traveller housing scheme, cannot safely leave their homes on foot, said Callaghan. “It is an absolute disgrace that this has been allowed to happen.”

Said Callaghan: “Can we find out if there is any other place in Dublin where children cannot leave their homes without putting their lives at risk?”

Connaghan said councillors have raised concerns for years, but that Dublin City Council has failed to address the problem. “I think we need to escalate it up to the minister.”

On the phone on 22 April, Callaghan said that a local soccer club had flagged the concern about the road, as they were worried about the safety of children who attend the club.

Callaghan raised the problem at the area committee meeting in September 2021 and again in January 2022. She was not satisfied with the response the council issued, she says.

“Unfortunately there are no available project managers/engineers to assist currently but I will keep this matter on my list to progress if resources and funding become available in the future,” said Joseph Kelly, senior engineer with Dublin City Council, in January.

Callaghan says that she is surprised that council planners don’t think it’s a priority. “What’s more important than the safety of children?”

She brought it up at the last two meetings of the council’s housing committee as well.

At the North West Area Committee meeting on 19 April, a written report from Grainne O’Brien, a senior engineer, said the council is doing a study of the Cabra to Blanchardstown Walking and Cycling Scheme – part of which runs via Ratoath Road – to see where interim cycling infrastructure can go in the next 18 to 24 months.

“The planning and design of an overall permanent cycle scheme will be challenging, particularly along the Ratoath Road with retaining walls and topography level differences,” she said.

The council might need to buy land to put in a cycle lane, she said.

Callaghan says that, in the meantime, the council should build a small section of footpath to allow pedestrians safe access to Finglas West.

Dunsink Lane comes out onto the Ratoath Road on a “treacherous bend”, she says.

If the council built a short stretch of footpath from the bend at Dunsink Lane to Westwood Road, then pedestrians could at least cross the road from a spot where they could see oncoming traffic, says Callaghan.

On the Big Ballymun Depot

The massive new base for Dublin City Council workers on the north side of the city is scheduled for completion early next year, councillors learned at the recent meeting of their North West Area Committee.

The “super depot” currently under construction on St Margaret’s Road in Ballymun, opposite Ikea, will be a centre of operations for 625 council workers and include a recycling centre, workshops, training rooms and parking space for council vehicles.

By consolidating its operations on the northside to this big new depot, Dublin City Council will free up other depot sites, which, the council website says, would mean space for around 750 homes.

One of the northside depot sites at Coleraine Street in the north inner-city is set to become a hub to help kickstart businesses and social enterprises run by Inner City Enterprises, but officials have said that most of the land will be used for new homes.

In a presentation to councillors in the North West Area on 19 April, council project engineer Sharon McMahon said the new depot should be up and running early next year.

The project will improve facilities for staff, reduce costs by creating efficiencies and release land for “more appropriate uses”, she said. “It is a major reorganisation of the council’s depot network.”

Said independent councillor Noeleen Reilly: “I personally think this is probably one of our better construction projects in the area at the moment.”

Said Mary Callaghan, the Social Democrats councillor: “Progress is going very well and it’s great to see it going up so quickly.”

A pedestrian crossing at Carton Way – which is to the south of the site – is due to be built as part of the development, said McMahon, and should also be completed in the coming months.

Dublin City Council has plans to build another super depot for the southside of the city at Marrowbone Lane, together with housing and training pitches, but construction of that has not yet commenced.

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