My BusConnects Submission to Core Bus Corridor 3: Ballymun to City Centre.

Overview 

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

There are important improvements for cyclists and pedestrians in the plan for Glasnevin and Phibsborough that must be acknowledged.  

However, there is disappointing lack of vision for the future development of Phibsborough village.  

This is reflected in the lack of a cycle way on Phibsborough road, failure to adequately consider access to the Royal canal cycleway given that a large share of Phibsborough residents live on the western side of the village with the cycleway located east of the Phibsborough road and there are minimal change to traffic flows through an already heavily congested village.  

In the NTA draft modelling documents, the NTA highlight that in November 2019, 49,008 cars went through Doyle’s corner in a 24hour period. The traffic modelling suggests this will decrease by  100-300 cars in morning peak traffic by 2028.  

The modesty of the proposals for Phibsborough stands in stark contrast to the Glasnevin area where arguably, the proposals involve excessive upheaval and disruption. Overall, it seems that a timed bus gate on Mobhi Road could be initially trialled, as the impact of a 24 hour bus gate on traffic flows on the area are enormous. 

For cyclists 

Positive:  

  • For the most part, there will be a continuous cycle route from Hart’s corner to Ballymun Road and beyond and this will represent a significant improvement for cyclists in the area. In particular, the two-way cycle path on Botanic Road/Prospect road is most welcome as is new cycle path parallel to Mobhi Drive and the cycle paths on the northbound side of Ballymun road and on both sides of Glasnevin Hill. 
  • Similarly, the new cycle way between Cross Guns bridge and Western Way will represent a significant improvement for those cyclists that will use this path. 

Of Serious Concern: 

  • The failure to have any cycle path through the main thoroughfare in Phibsborough Village is a serious disappointment as is the removal of the existing cycle lane segregation on Phibsborough road south of Doyle’s Corner to make way for a bus lane.  
  • It reflects a poor vision of the village as one dominated by cars commuting through from one location to another as opposed to the thriving people-friendly village that it could be.  
  • While the Royal Canal greenway is most welcome, cyclists will inevitably continue to cycle on Phibsborough road because of difficulties in accessing the cycle path. A large share of the cycling population in Phibsborough live west of the Phibsborough road while the cycle path is located to the east of the road.  

There has been some suggestion by the NTA at community forum meetings that Devery’s Lane (located opposite the Connaught street junction) and Kings Inn Court- Kelly’s Row (located close to the Monck Place junction) could be used as access points from west of Phibsborough road to the cycleway.  

The width of Devery’s Lane is 1.5m at its narrowest and is bound by the gable end of two houses on either side. While it would be wonderful to see it as an access point, major works would need to be undertaken. Use of the vacant site located just off the lane and currently valued at €400,000 on the DCC vacant site register might be a starting point for how to bring the lane into greater use. 

If Kings Inn Court- Kelly’s Row is to become an access point to the cycle way, then a toucan crossing will need to be introduced close to the entrance of the Fire station on Phibsborough Road to facilitate safe crossing for cyclists and pedestrians. 

For Pedestrians 

Positive:  

  • The widening of the footpath on Cross Guns bridge to overcome that pinchpoint for pedestrians on the northbound side is most welcome.  
  • The introduction of three new pedestrian crossings on Phibsborough road and the improvement of the public realm outside the church in Glasnevin are positive proposals. 
  • Finally, that most of the existing trees on Prospect Way and Mobhi Road will be retained represents an important improvement on previous proposals. However, the safety and confidence of pedestrians is hugely important and there are serious concerns about the footpath width on Mobhi Road. 

Of serious concern 

  • The diversion of northbound traffic via the Botanic gardens creates serious concerns for congestion and pedestrian safety along that narrow stretch.
  • Both Connaught street and Monck Place/ Avondale Road face similar challenges with diverted traffic flows from the old Cabra road ensuring greater traffic volumes on both roads. These changes create serious challenges for pedestrian and cycle safety in what are residential areas. 
  • The case to lift the no- right turn and no-left turn at St Peter’s church is not well made in the proposal document and there is considerable concern about pedestrian safety and increased congestion in front of St Peter’s church if these changes were to go ahead. In particular, lifting the no-right turn from the Cabra Road will involve considerable traffic sequencing changes at that junction.

Finally, there are very real concerns about the proportionality and impact of the road traffic diversions in the Glasnevin area. While local access onto Mobhi road is provided for at the junction with Botanic Avenue, it is not acceptable that these same local access rights would be afforded to traffic coming from Fairfield Road on Mobhi Road.