Monday 20 February 2017

Scheme may appear overly ambitious - but it's better than having no plan at all

Published 15/10/2015 | 02:30

Traffic at a standstill in Dublin's Fairview area (Photo: Rachel Last)
Traffic at a standstill in Dublin's Fairview area (Photo: Rachel Last)

The prospects of this long, €10bn wish list ever being fully implemented are practically nil. But that's not to say that most, if not all of these projects, aren't worthwhile.

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Dublin has a serious congestion problem looming, and no politician appears willing to take hard decisions to force people out of their cars. The mantra over the last decade has been that a lack of public transport means there is no alternative, but even when more buses enter service and additional trains are provided, commuters refuse to make the switch.

Are more Luas lines going to encourage that change in attitude? Not unless other measures are implemented in tandem. On this issue, the National Transport Authority (NTA) suggests reducing the number of car parking spaces available in our cities, to force motorists to carefully consider if the bus or train isn't a better option.

It also suggests introducing demand management - such as tolls - on the M50 and approach roads to the capital, which would encourage people to use proposed park and ride sites and travel into the city by public transport.

Our inability to plan over the longer-term has already had a severe impact. Irish Water has highlighted parts of the country where a lack of services will impact on development. Strategic sites in Dublin cannot be developed for housing because there is no road access. Our electricity infrastructure requires upgrading to meet future needs.

Failure to properly plan has a cost. Strategic and expensive measures like the one proposed by the NTA may appear pie in the sky, but if we are serious about creating better, more liveable cities, we should at least begin identifying high-priority projects now to avoid repeating the mistakes of the not-too-distant past.

Irish Independent

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