Proposed Trial of Traffic Calming - Killester
Updated: Aug 14, 2021
A Walkability and Traffic survey carried out by a group of local residents from March to May 2021 examining ways to make Killester safer and more enjoyable for all residents. Below is the full report, including recommendation for a 6 month trial Low Traffic Community. We would like as much feedback from within the community as possible before submission to Dublin City Council.
Supporting information from appendices A, B, C is available in the below PDF.
Complete the survey to have your say (also available below this article).
Killester is one of the older and most historic residential areas in Dublin with a thriving community. During and post lock down, a wide range of community building activities kicked off, including a Halloween parade, a Tidy Towns Committee, an SEAI Sustainable Communities initiative, a Green Schools project with our local schools, and a memorial project for WWI veterans. Following the experience of low traffic levels during lockdown, a group of Killester residents have undertaken a traffic and walkability review of the area to document the significant safety concerns of local residents and to examine ways to improve the community.
The primary route examined was the 2 way residential road shown in orange below that runs from Artane Roundabout, along St. Brigid’s Road, Abbeyfield Front Road, and disperses through Middle Third, Killester Avenue and The Demesne. The entrances to two schools are located along the road, and a new development of 96 apartments is under construction beside the school entrances. The route is a primary pedestrian route, connecting surrounding residential roads with shops at Artane Roundabout, Killester Dart Station and Killester Village. The route is also extensively used for rat run car traffic between the Malahide and Howth Road.
2. Summary of findings
Of the roads in the Killester residential area, two black spots were identified:
Along Abbeyfield on the approach to, at, and directly north of the entrances to the two schools; and
In the area around the DART station, including the junction from Middle Third to the Demesne, the DART bridge, and The Demesne approach to the DART, and along footpaths along the Killester Ave approach to Collins Ave opposite Killester College.
The roads and footpaths through the Demesne, Killester Ave, Middle Third and Abbeyfield are neither designed for, nor suitable as either a “cut through”, link or arterial road, yet they are being used for such purpose by large volumes of rat run, non-resident traffic (up to 560 cars per hour at peak).
The carriageway, at 5.2-5.5m is 1m narrower than the minimum official standard of 6.5m for “link” streets, and the footpaths of 50cm and 120cm are significantly less than the minimum official standards of 180cm (with design manual recommending up to 3m on each side for medium volume pedestrian routes).
Despite the area being zoned Z2 (“to protect and improve the amenities of conservation residential areas' '), the current road design by Dublin City Council prioritises cars over pedestrians and other forms of active travel, and through traffic over residents. It is therefore not compatible with the Design Manual for Urban Roads and Streets - 2019. (‘to encourage more sustainable travel patterns and safer streets, designers must place pedestrians at the top of the user hierarchy”).
The physical dimensions in Abbeyfield, Middle Third and the Demesne limit the range of options available to redesign the road to improve it for vulnerable road users. Possible solutions are outlined at the end of this report.
Our recommendation would be that we apply to Dublin City Council for a 6 month trial of Option C (Low Traffic Community / Filtered Permeability), as described in Section 10 below, but this is open for discussion with the community. A full FAQ of what this would entail is provided at the end of this document.
The review was undertaken between March and May 2021 and included:
Physical surveying of the road, footpaths and traffic calming measures.
Traffic assessment, including a desktop review of traffic assessments submitted as part of local planning permission applications. and discussion with neighbours along the affected road and surrounding roads
Questionnaires circulated to the pupils of St. Brigid’s Girls National School and St Mary’s Holy Faith Secondary School.
In addition, the group reviewed a wide range of publications, including:
Department of Transport Design Manual for Urban Streets 2019
National Transport Authority National Manual for Urban Areas
DCC consultation report on Filtered Permeability in Grangegorman
EPA, WHO and UNICEF documents on air quality
Dublin City Development Plan 2016-2022
NTA Guide to Permeability
National Cycle Manual
National Transport Authority Universal Design Walkability Audit Tool
London Low Traffic Neighbourhoods Guide for Policy Makers and Toolkit
4. Out of scope
While this initial study was focused on possible solutions for resident concerns for safety along the above mentioned black spots and for the health and safety of children at the Killester Schools, several other road and traffic design problems were raised, which will require further future consideration:
A high level of unnecessary rat run traffic between Collins Ave and Malahide Road was also noted along the two sides of the square from Clanhugh Road, along Killester Ave past Maypark, generally to avoid the Donneycarney junction. While some of the traffic along the middle part of Killester Ave should be reduced by the proposed intervention on Abbeyfield/St. Brigid’s Road, further thought should be given to mitigating this rat run traffic, especially in context of the Bus Connects layout for this junction.
The exit junctions of the Demesne for both pedestrians and cyclists are dangerous. From The Demesne to Furry Park Road is a main pedestrian route to St. Anne’s Park, and is currently a 5 lane high speed road which is hazardous for families walking or cycling to the park. A full pedestrian crossing would be appropriate at this point. From the Demesne to Killester Village, the northside footpath is very narrow and puts any cyclists wishing to cross the road into conflict with fast moving motor traffic on the Howth Road.
Killester Village has provided most of its space to car parking, and traders have recently repainted the areas outside their premises to double the parking allocation, squeezing pedestrians into narrow walkways, in contrast to moves in other parts of Dublin, where villages such as Blackrock have pedestrianised their village, and have seen increased footfall for their shops as a result.
Pedestrian and Cycling access to Killester residential area at Killester Ave/Collins Ave is also seen as dangerous, and this area was the scene of a fatality some years ago.
The houses in Abbeyfield, Middle Third and the Demesne were designed and built in the early 1920s for Irish ex-servicemen who had fought in WWI and are one of the few areas in North Dublin outside of the Georgian Core to be zoned Z2 (“to protect and improve the amenities of conservation residential areas”) in recognition of the historic fabric of the area.
The size of houses, gardens and road widths were explicitly designed by the British Army engineers “to encourage a continuing camaraderie between the WWI servicemen”. As such, for all of the area’s early history there would have been no cars, with older residents recalling only 2 households owning cars in the 150 houses in Abbeyfield, as recently as the 1960s. The now DART bridge was originally a pedestrian bridge over the new railway connecting Dublin to Belfast, with a wooden stepway down to “Killester Train Station”. The current enclosed concrete pathways at either side of the DART bridge was only latterly added.
6. Physical assessment
The carriageway on the 600m stretch of road from Abbeyfield itself is very narrow at only 5.2-5.5m wide, reflecting the construction of the surrounding houses in the early 1920s in an era before cars. This compares to 12m width on the alternative Malahide Road, 9m on each of Collins Ave, Howth Road, Brookwood Ave. The minimum official standard where houses are situated on both sides of the road is 6.5m.
The carriageway is bordered by pathways on either side of the road, both of which fall short of minimum legal standards pavement widths of 2 meters (or 1.5 meters if passable areas are provided).
The narrower path measures approximately 50-80cm in width, just wide enough to accommodate one person as illustrated in Appendix A. The narrow width of both these pavements makes social distancing difficult if not impossible and frequently forces pedestrians onto the busy road as illustrated in Appendix A.
The wider path, carrying the majority of pedestrian traffic, measures approximately 160cm in width, just enough width to facilitate two people walking abreast as illustrated in the photos below. This pavement is in a poor state of repair making it dangerous and a trip hazard, particularly for younger children and people with mobility issues as illustrated below and in Appendix A.
Tripping incidents involving older people have been reported by residents due to the poor state of the pavements and road as illustrated in Appendix A.
This wider pavement is frequently occupied by parked cars and bins, further reducing available pavement space for pedestrians, in particular buggies and wheelchair users as illustrated in Appendix A.
Both paths carry a significant volume of pedestrian traffic, servicing 2 schools; St. Brigid’s G.N.S. Primary School (422 pupils) and St. Mary’s Holy Faith Secondary School (319 students). They also serve the busy Killester DART Station, and the high frequency bus corridor on the Malahide Road, which post Bus Connects implementation is to become even more important for the sustainable transport of the community. The entrance points to the schools are key pedestrian crossing points.
The road is soon to be subject to increased residential traffic with the completion of the Brookwood Court apartment complex, opposite St. Brigid’s GNS, with 40 one bed apartments, 43 two bedroom apartments and seven 4 bed residences. On the basis that these are apartments, and apartment dwellers typically tend to cycle and use public transport more than house owners, the traffic engineering report submitted as part of the planning application concluded that the addition of the apartments would create low levels of increased car trips along the road. The concern is that this is true only where the local cycling and pedestrian infrastructure to link to public transport is fit for purpose.
Further north, along St. Brigid’s Road, the modern build does make provision for wider footpaths (2.5-3m) on both sides of the road and the carriageway broadens marginally. However the volume of rough traffic is still not appropriate for residential roads and the stated aim of Dublin City Council’s Development Plan to enable the creation of sustainable communities. Notably, the Traffic Engineering report submitted as part of the planning application for the Brookwood Court apartment development only referenced the modern St. Brigid’s Road stretch, and not the older,
Further south, no footpath exists on the Middle Third green side of the road, keeping all pedestrian traffic across the carriageway from the DART. The road bends and splits at the junction between Middle Third and the Demesne creating a blind corner at a point of typical driver acceleration– this bend in the road in the absence of a road crossing was widely reported as a highly dangerous crossing.
From here through the Demesne, and along the remainder of the Middle Third/Killester Ave stretch to the footpaths at times narrow further, with as little as 50cm on either side of the road at a pinch point on Middle Third, and again, 50cm on either side at the walkway to the Killester Dart Station from the Demesne as illustrated in Appendix B. Particularly in the context of high levels of fast moving traffic, this can make walking to the DART or Killester Village at best unpleasant, at worst, hazardous.
There are 5 speed ramps along Middle Third, 4 along Abbeyfield, and a further 2 along St. Brigid’s Road. There are no traffic lights or pedestrian crossings at the schools or at the walkway to the Dart Station. No bus routes travel through the neighbourhood.
7. Traffic and speed assessment
Today, the road is used extensively as a rat run, particularly during peak hours from 7am to 9.30, with approximately 2/3 of traffic travelling south bound, building throughout the afternoon with equally heavy volumes of traffic in both directions in the evening peak from 4-8pm. Traffic counts during lockdown indicated peak 2-way traffic flow of approx 250 per hour. Per the Traffic engineering assessment submitted as part of the planning permission application for Brookwood Court development, normal 2-way traffic flow is approx. 560 AM peak hour (or a car passing every 6.5 seconds) and 470 PM peak hour car units (or a car passing every 7.5 seconds). Source; Traffic survey conducted as part of the St. Mary’s Holy Faith planning application (3826/19)
In the absence of any dense development in the area, this level of traffic volume indicates that the vast majority of traffic is through traffic, rather than residents of the Killester area.
The speed limit was lowered in 2018 from 50km/hr to 30km/hr, however this has had little effect. Speeding has been reported to Raheny Garda Station on numerous occasions. Most recent contact with Community Garda Gerard Guinan who has placed a request to the Chief Superintendent in Phoenix Park for a speed survey to be conducted. Speed levels, due to traffic volume, are closer to the speed limit at peak hours, but outside of peak hours can be extremely high.
Example video showing excessive speeding https://youtu.be/27dve86LORY. This video is illustrative of the excessive speeding on this road and is not limited to motorbikes. In fact, excessive speeding is witnessed across all vehicle types, most commonly cars, and across all age groups and genders.
Abbeyfield front road is still incorrectly sign posted on Google Maps as having a 50km speed limit as illustrated in the photos below. This is particularly relevant given the increase in online retail and delivery services during the recent lockdown measures.
8. Cycling assessment
Because of both the width of the road and the volume and occasional high speed of cars travelling along the road, the Abbeyfield carriageway is dangerous for cyclists. Consequently, despite being categorised as a feeder route for the Greater Dublin Area Cycling Plan, and having high potential as a “quiet street” between the surrounding areas and planned high quality cycle routes to Clontarf Seafront and the City Centre, Abbeyfield front road is currently rarely used by cyclists. This does not meet Dublin City Council’s target of providing safe routes to school or facilitating modal shift to sustainable forms of transport.
Residents reported high levels of satisfaction with the quieter roads enabling more families to move around safely and enjoyably by bicycle during lockdown. Once post-traffic lockdown died down, this has reduced significantly.
At Killester Dart station, the railings enclosing the bridge, which can create a hazard for cyclists crossing the bridge, as cars occasionally overtake dangerously, forcing the cyclist against the railings. Because of the width of the road, there is no space for cycle or scooter parking at the DART station, which is not consistent with government policy to enable joined up sustainable transport.
9. School surveys
St. Brigid’s G.N.S. and St. Mary’s Holy Faith were both surveyed regarding travel modes to school. Appendix C.
Of the primary school, 40% travel by car, even though the vast majority live within walking or cycling distance. This ratio does not change significantly for older classes, indicating that age or strength of the child is not the determining factor in commuting to school.
Of the secondary school students surveyed, only 17% travel by car, and over half indicated that the key factors influencing their decision to walk or cycle to school were “less traffic” and “better pedestrian crossings”.
One particularly striking response came from a pupil of St. Mary’s:
“I dont really feel safe when I walk up from Artane roundabout because there are some many fast cars going up and I have almost gotten run over many times even though I am always careful”
10. Possible solutions
While speed is a problem, the biggest problem is the volume of rat run traffic that runs through the neighbourhood. The status quo unfortunately makes the road dangerous, unhealthy and unpleasant, especially for our school children, for families, older people, and any pedestrians or cyclists who travel through our community. Because of the scale of the traffic, cars visiting residents tend to park on the footpath instead of the road, further aggravating the problem. Fortunately, there is scope to improve traffic, unfortunately, the physical width of the road narrows the list of options, and means some inconvenience will be necessary if we want to try and change things for the better.
1. Option A: Increased physical infrastructure: ramps, signalised pedestrian crossings, wider footpaths, chicanes, etc:
There are already 11 multiple speed bumps along the affected road, so there is little scope for more. While they have some level of effectiveness at reducing speed, this effectiveness is lower for the larger SUV style vehicles now common in Dublin. More importantly, they do not restrict the volume of traffic, and have other negative side effects, including increasing noise pollution from the hard braking and acceleration cycles of traffic, increased air pollution from tyre particulates, and creating an uneven surface for cyclists.
Dublin City Council tends to be slow in installing signalised pedestrian crossings as they are highly expensive and are a significant engineering work. It therefore can’t be done as an experiment, and legally requires planning permission. Zebra crossings tend to be just paint on the road and don’t actually protect children or vulnerable older people from a car that wants to drive through, and can create a false sense of security.
The narrow total width of the road (footpaths + carriageway) means that footpaths can’t be made wider without losing some road space, and the carriageway width is also already below the minimum legal standard for a two lane road.
Chicanes (where drivers have to weave around planters or other barriers at each side of the road) should slow traffic, but (i) the road is not wide enough for such a measure, (ii) chicanes have the effect of steering cars in the direction of the footpath, which increases collision risk to pedestrians where the car is speeding, and also make the carriageway significantly more dangerous for cyclists as they have to compete in the chicane with cars.
More signage showing the 30km/hr speed limit may reduce speed limits, however research shows that rat run drivers tend to have far lower regard for speed limits than residents. The bigger problem is the volume of cars on an unsuitable road, rather than just the speed.
2. Option B: One way, with wider footpath and a fully segregated cycle lane
This would significantly improve the walkability of the area on paper and would be much preferable to the status quo. Very successful one way systems with wider footpaths and segregated cycle paths were installed between Dun Laoghaire and Blackrock during 2020, see below.
The road (at 7.5 including footpaths, before narrowing due to street furniture / signage, etc) is too narrow for even for a minimum set of of 2 footpaths (3.6m), bidirectional cycle lane (2.5m) and one lane for cars (3m), so any combination of such measures would need to be substandard.
It won’t help the problems caused by cars parking on footpaths.
It still creates multiple points of potential conflict between pedestrians and cars, as they cross the road to schools, side roads, houses, or the DART.
Research shows that cars drive significantly faster on straight one way roads than 2 way.
It doesn’t reduce rat run traffic in the direction of the one way traffic (in fact it is likely to increase traffic in that direction).
There is no clear consensus from the community as to which direction the one way should be.
It would require engineering works so may be expensive for Dublin City Council, so would not be as easy to trial.
3. Option C: Filtered Permeability / Low Traffic Community
This mouthful of a name is a type of road restriction which has been proven to be highly successful where other traffic calming measures are not appropriate. Grangegorman installed filtered permeability for a trial period in early 2020 to block rat run traffic from North Circular Road to the Quays – the Dublin City Council consultation report shows the trial was a large success, with high levels of community satisfaction, and with some small tweaks was adopted as a permanent basis in January 2021. Copy of the report available here: https://consultation.dublincity.ie/traffic-and-transport/grangegorman-filtered-permeability-trial/ . Likewise, Pigeon House Road in Ringsend installed a filtered permeability and saw a 90% reduction in car traffic outside resident’s houses.
The advantage from a council perspective is that it is very cheap to install (or remove), and does not require planning permission, so can be done on a trial basis.
From a community's perspective, if designed correctly, it can reduce traffic volumes, noise and pollution by as much as 90%, making it a safer, healthier place to live. People, especially vulnerable younger and older members of the community tend to begin to walk or cycle far more. The only clear disadvantage is it means car drivers may have a slightly longer journey to access / exit their house.
The idea is that all roads in the community are fully open for pedestrians, cyclists, etc and that all residents can drive freely to and from their houses, but rat run traffic, which makes up the majority of the traffic can’t drive through the neighbourhood.
Having considered multiple locations and variations, the following design is proposed:
Step 1: One or more flexible bollards would be installed in the middle of the road at the point Abbeyfield becomes St. Brigid’s Road (just before St Brigid’s GNS). This effectively stops cars from driving through this point, but keeps it open for pedestrians, cyclists and emergency vehicles (who are trained in driving over these bollards). See attached video for how it works for emergency services: https://youtu.be/_pGUoYUm77s
See below examples in Ringsend and Grangegorman.
Step 2: Floral Planters installed just to narrow the road slightly (ie not restrict any local car traffic), and with directional signage showing only local car traffic past this point at:
the start of Abbeyfield outside Legion Hall and
on St. Brigid’s Road, at the school side of the junction with St. Brigid’s Grove and Brookwood Road
This should effectively allow traffic used to rat running here to divert back out to the main 7-9m arterial roads surrounding the area, before any bottlenecking occurs at the traffic bollard. See below example from London:
Step 3: A separate possible measure, but one which would be very compatible as an additional measure would be pedestrianisation of the DART bridge, ultimately creating a community plaza, including seating, better lighting, bike /scooter parking for easier access to the DART and a community mural, for which funding may be available through an urban arts scheme. Irish Rail have been approached for their views, and are very supportive of the idea.
Cars could still drop passengers to the DART as they currently do at the junction with Middle Third, or by driving through The Demesne, but as 95% of traffic moving through the Demesne is ultimately just passing through, rather than there for the Dart. In this case, The Demesne would remain open at both ends to traffic so would not be a cul de sac, but because of an almost complete drop in car traffic, would see a better improvement than any other part of the community.
Map of Proposed Design - subject to discussion within community and review by Dublin City Council
11. FAQs re Filtered Permeability / Low Traffic Community option:
Q: Is this highly experimental? Has this been tried anywhere else?
Without a trial, it’s not possible to know exactly how this will work in Killester. However, road restrictions like this have been proven to be highly successful elsewhere. In early 2020, a group of residents in Grangegorman requested installation of filtered permeability because of high levels of rat run traffic from North Circular Road through to the Quays. While many Grangegorman residents were nervous of the change at the start of the scheme, after a 6 month trial, very high levels of satisfaction were reported, and in January 2021 councilors voted overwhelmingly to make the scheme permanent (https://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/cyclist-and-pedestrian-route-to-be-permanent-at-grangegorman-in-dublin-1.4456459) . Similarly, residents at Pigeon House Road in Ringsend installed this type of filtered permeability, and report high levels of satisfaction.
Likewise, in other cities in Europe, there have been huge changes over the past year to increase pedestrian and cyclist prioritisation: cities like London, Manchester and Birmingham have converted hundreds of neighbourhoods to “Low Traffic Neighbourhoods” using measures like filtered permeability.
Grangegorman, rush hour, before change:
Grangegorman, rush hour, after change:
Q: Will this restrict pedestrians or cyclists in any way?
No. Filtered permeability is a recognized highly successful way of changing road design to prioritize pedestrians and cyclists where no easy alternative exists. Pedestrians and cyclists and children will be able to move freely around the neighborhood, including walking on the road, as residents of the quieter roads in the area do.
Q: How will cars get in and out
No resident is restricted from accessing their house with a car. Rather, any residents and visitors can drive to their home, but non-residents can’t drive through the neighborhood. Under the proposed trial measure:
Residents in Abbeyfield could access Collins Ave down Killester Ave at Killester College, and the Malahide Road, by exiting at May Park, instead of at Artane Roundabout. Because of the reduction in rat run traffic, residents near May Park should not see the movement of eg Abbeyfield residents increasing traffic in their part of the neighbourhood.
Residents of St. Brigid’s Road could continue to enter and exit via Artane Roundabout, Brookwood Road / Danieli Road.
Q: Won’t this result in serious congestion on Malahide Road / Collins Avenue / Brookwood Ave?
Per Dublin City Council: Research shows that when through traffic is completely removed from a residential street, the experience in general is that main arterial roads have far more capacity to cope than the residential side streets – so increases in motor vehicle volumes seen on main arterial roads are low in percentage terms, and after an initial period of bedding in, traffic settles to broadly where it was before. 15% or so of traffic over the area is likely to “evaporate” in such schemes – moving out of the area entirely or switching mode e.g. to walking, cycling or public transport. In other words, congestion levels do not go up with these types of schemes. (https://consultation.dublincity.ie/traffic-and-transport/grangegorman-filtered-permeability-trial/)
Each of Malahide Road, Collins Ave and Brookwood Ave have 3-5m wide footpaths on either side, with a 9-12m wide carriageway. That enables those roads to carry more cars without noticeable increase in traffic. In contrast, the Abbeyfield footpaths are only 0.5 – 1.2m wide with a 5.5m wide carriageway.
Q: What benefits could it bring?
The combination of narrow broken footpaths, narrow carriageway and high volumes of traffic means it is unpleasant to walk and dangerous to walk or cycle along the road anywhere from Artane Roundabout to Killester. It is important to recognise that, judging by other schemes, up to 90% of traffic comes from rat run through traffic, rather than local residents moving around.
Judging by experiences of other communities, we could expect more people walking and cycling around the neighbourhood, children playing on the road, older people feeling comfortable to walk to shops, hairdressers or neighbours than drive.
Lower traffic also brings benefits to cars: if a visitor parks outside a resident’s house, they will tend to park on the road rather than the footpath as traffic is so light, and even if they didn’t, it would pose less of a risk to pedestrians to step on to an almost car free road.
Just as important as the safety risks are the invisible benefits: per HSE and WHO, air pollution from car fumes and tyre dust is linked to early onset dementia, and risk of stroke in older people, and slower lung and brain development in children. Noise pollution is linked to high blood pressure and mental health issues. Removing these invisible, but real pollutants from our neighbourhood will make it a healthier place to grow up or grow old. Finally, there’s significant research that roads with lower traffic have far better community relationships, more active children, less isolated older people. As one resident said about the road during lock down: “I never knew you could hear so much bird song”.
Q: What about Emergency Services?
No traffic restrictions can be implemented in Dublin with sign off from Emergency Services: they are required to be consulted statutorily. What was installed in Grangegorman and elsewhere was a flexible bollard which bends and which Emergency Services can actually drive over – meaning that in an emergency, no delay to emergency services arises.
Q: Would this cause major delays when driving?
Because of the narrow roads, it’s not going to be possible to find a solution with zero inconvenience for when we drive. Equally important to put into context, is how little additional inconvenience is caused in return for a safe and quiet neighbourhood, eg; a car travelling from Middle Road in Abbeyfield to Tesco Clarehall would only take approximately 90 seconds longer with the proposed road restrictions than the current route via Artane Roundabout.
Q: Won’t this be just for the schools and isn’t it going to make things worse for other roads in Killester?
Abbeyfield is only the pinch point along the rat run, but removing rat run traffic, which makes up the majority of traffic, from moving past the school should have positive knock on effects for nearly all roads across Killester. In particular, traffic along St. Brigid’s Road, Danieli Road, Brookwood Road, Killester Ave, Abbeyfield Front Road, Middle Third, the Demense, and some of the smaller roads leading from Killester Ave down to Collins Ave should see significantly lower traffic volumes. Research shows that rat run traffic drives faster than residents, so overall speeds should also decrease. The proposed change won’t fix the rat run problem around May Park - but it could be a building block to addressing that problem in future. The Killester residents are not a huge source of traffic volumes - rat run traffic is, so this scheme should not result in any significant increase in traffic passing May Park.
Q: Will it solve the problem overnight?
Experience from other schemes says that there is typically some disruption for 2-3 weeks until normal rat running gets used to the new road layout, changes route, and from that point, traffic evaporates. If the scheme goes ahead, we can ensure Google Maps is notified, such that within 24 hours of the change, no driver satnav is routing traffic through the neighbourhood.
Q: What about local businesses?
Experience from other schemes is that when traffic is removed from a community, that community uses local business more, and footfall and spend increases by 20-30%. In high traffic communities, people going for coffee, groceries, or to get their hair done are more likely to get in their car and travel outside the area. The opposite applies in low traffic communities, especially for older people.
Q: We applied for similar road restrictions 15 years ago and Dublin City Council rejected it – won’t they reject it now?
A lot has changed in 15 years in Government and local authority policy: Dublin City’s Development Plan 2016-2021 and draft 2022-2028 Plan emphasises the requirement to built or redesign sustainable communities with a sense of place. Ireland’s Design Manual for Urban Streets has been updated so that pedestrians are to be reprioritised as the most important road users.
Furthermore, climate change legislation will oblige local authorities to seek to shift as many journeys as possible out of cars and on to sustainable forms of transport such as public transport, walking, cycling, e-biking, scooting, etc. It is not guaranteed that Dublin City Council will accept this proposal, but it is largely in the hands of the community.
Q: How will parents drive their kids to school?
Evidence from the school survey shows that already 60% of St. Brigid’s GNS primary school pupils and 80% of St. Mary’s secondary school students do not come to school by car, but rather walk, cycle, etc. A new road layout which prioritises pedestrians works for the majority rather than the minority of parents and children. Of those that are driven to school, over half said that less traffic would increase the probability that they would come to school by active travel. In addition, the majority of parents who drop or collect children by car from St Brigid’s GNS drop at the rear of the school rather than on St. Brigid’s Road.
Supporting information from appendices A, B, C is available in the below PDF.
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