Submission to BusConnects Bus Corridor 3: Ballymun to city centre

Overview

I am a cyclist, pedestrian, motorist and bus user and local representative in the Phibsborough, Glasnevin  and Drumcondra area.

I appreciate that the overall concept driving Bus Connects is to ensure greater space is allocated to buses and cyclists on the streets and roads within and around the city of Dublin.

In that regard I am very disheartened by the proposals for the Ballymun bus corridor which directly affect the Phibsborough area. The proposals do not go far enough. In stark contrast, the proposals go too far for the Mobhi road area. It is not clear how the impacts to one community will impact the next. While the radical proposals for the Mobhi Road area are intended to deliver faster through- access, these changes will lead to very little gain if the congestion in Phibsborough is not adequately dealt with. In that context, I believe both option A and option B for the Mobhi Road will instigate unnecessary upheaval and distress for very little gain.

Furthermore, it remains unclear how the building works and final access points to the Metro-link stations will interact with the Bus Connects proposals- both need to be looked at in conjunction with each other.

In the absence of any other innovative proposals for the Mobhi Road area, I believe there is a strong case for delaying action in this area until the necessary information is put together and the bottleneck referred to above is addressed.

In Phibsborough, there is little to suggest from the proposals of adjoining areas that the overall impact on the village has been considered. Phibsborough takes in traffic from three main arteries into the city and radical developments are proposed in two out of the three, Blanchardstown Bus Corridor and the Ballymun Bus Corridor and is discussed below, there will  be a significant inflow of car traffic arising from changes to the Old Cabra road.

For cyclists, certain developments such as the Royal Canal Bank cycleway are very much to be welcomed. However, the plan fails to adhere to the principal of a consistent, continuous cycle path that is segregated from the main vehicular traffic along Botanic Road, Cross Guns Bridge and Phibsborough Road.

Specific concerns for the Phibsborough area

For pedestrians:                           

On the positive side, the following is to be welcomed

  • Pedestrian crossing close to the PTSB on the Phibsborough Road and the Woodstock.
  • pedestrian crossing is planned for outside of McGowans.

However, the maps do not suggest that four way synchronised traffic light junctions are to be provided for at either Cross Guns Bridge, Doyles Corner or at the Connaught Street and Phibsborough Road junction.

Currently the traffic light sequencing at these junctions is staggered to favour the passing of vehicular traffic. BusConnects proposes to give traffic light priority to buses at Doyles Corner. There is no reference to pedestrians. In places of high traffic volumes, it can very time consuming trying to undertake two crossings. A four way synchronised junction would represent a significant improvement in the safety of those crossing, as pedestrians would be able to cross in one of three ways-diagonally across the junction or to either immediate side. Commitments to seriously consider this by NTA management at the Community Forum meeting on April 10th must be followed through.

For cyclists:

  • The new cycle route on Royal Canal Bank is very much to be welcomed as is the new toucan crossing opposite Tescos.
  • However, it is not true to say that cyclists are now adequately catered for in Phibsborough as was expressed at the Community Forum. Those who access Phibsborough Road from Leinster Street, Munster Street, Connaught Street, Royse Road, Enniskerry Road, the Boro’ or Monck Place will continue to have no access to a cycle lane on Phibsborough Road and no easy way of accessing the royal canal cycle way.
  • Commitments made at the Community Forum to seriously consider routing the cycleway under Blacquiere Bridge must be followed through. Any alternative will make the crossing unworkable and unsafe.

For the village itself:

  • It is simply not sustainable to route more city bound cars from the Navan road area through the Cabra Road and into Phibsborough, as is proposed under the Blanchardstown Bus Corridor proposals. Phibsborough already suffers from excessive congestion and will not have capacity to take this additional flow plus any rise in traffic arising from population and commuter increases in the greater Dublin area.

Concerns for the Glasnevin area

For cyclists

  • For those travelling southbound, the principal of a consistent, continuous cycle path is not adhered to. While there is obvious space difficulties along Botanic Road (although with imagination these are not insurmountable), the break in the path between Fairfield road and the area beyond Marguerite  road and the ending of the cycle path outside the Whitworth Pub and so ensuring no link to the Royal Canal Bank is both dangerous and unnecessary.

For drivers  

  • It remains far from clear that either option A or option B are workable proposals for the Glasnevin area.
  • Under option A, it does not in any way seem workable that the narrow stretch of Botanic road passing by the Botanic gardens can take additional vehicular traffic.
  • Furthermore the conversion of Ballymun road between Church Avenue and Griffith Avenue to a northbound one way system is excessive and wholly impractical for those living there, as it creates a much has the potential to create a ran run along Mobhi Drive.

Under option B, the environmental cost of removing so many mature trees appears excessive when weighed against the combined and limited benefits to bus users and cyclists of such an action. While the introduction of a separate cycle path on the eastern side of the road is to be welcomed, it is not clear that two separate bus lanes (northbound and southbound) are necessary, given the upheaval that this will create.

Ultimately, these proposals have been made in the absence of full information on the impact of the MetroLink plans and there is a very strong argument to be made here, that consideration of one simply cannot take place until more is know about the other. Ultimately, decisions will have to be made on the totality of the changes and the disruption from Metro construction works will shape some of the proposed Bus Connects changes. There is strong case to not proceed with such drastic action along Mobhi Road until a clearer sense of traffic patterns and volumes can be established.

Marie Sherlock

Local Area Representative

Labour Party

Phibsborough- Drumcondra- Glasnevin area, April 22nd, 2019