Friday 23 March 2018

Out patients and staff at new Children's Hospital to be encouraged to use public transport

Donal McDaid Director of ARUP Photo: Steve Humphreys
Donal McDaid Director of ARUP Photo: Steve Humphreys

Clodagh Sheehy

Out patients attending the new Children’s Hospital will be encouraged to use public transport instead of their private cars.

Hospital staff will be forced to leave their cars at home and use alternative travel to work by a 224 cut in staff parking spaces, according to the designers of the new hospital.

Staff parking is currently free but an annual charge of €500 will also be introduced.

Transport engineer Donal McDaid said the cut in staff spaces would encourage the 3,200 staff at the Children's hospital and the 4,000 staff at St James's to use “public transport, cycling and walking”.

The 675 public Parking spaces would be prioritised for patients and families of in-patients who needed to travel by car and spaces could be pre-booked.

Those making out-patient appointments would be encouraged “to arrive by alternative modes where possible”.

The designers also assured local residents that vibration damage to their homes during the excavation phase was “unlikely” and would be repaired.

Structural engineer Paul Healy for the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) also rejected calls from residents to curtail construction hours saying that to cut the working time by a single hour a day would add 2-3 months to the building phase.

The designers made it clear to the Bord Pleanala Oral Hearing into the development that they would not be encouraging staff to park on the campus or even on streets close by as these spaces might be required by people using the hospital services.

Mr McDaid, engineer responsible for the transport strategy for the new hospital, said

staff who cycled would be able to use new dedicated showers, lockers and changing facilities.

The new Hospital, he added would have 675 parking spaces for visitors and patients compared to just 230 spaces currently between the three existing children’s hospitals.

Staff spaces, however, on the entire campus would drop by 224 to 880.

A “Car Park Management System” would “ensure that staff are not provided access to visitor/patient parking during the weekday period” he added.

The hearing is examining proposals for the new hospital on St James’s Hospital campus which would replace the existing hospitals at Temple Street, Crumlin and Tallaght.

Mr Healy stressed the development team would ensure surveys of all homes in the vibration risk zone prior to construction, which was expected to take about 46 months.

“A final condition survey will be undertaken on the completion of the works for comparison with the initial survey to ensure that there has been no deterioration of the condition of the residences due to the works” he added.

A specialist consultant was being appointed for detailed monitoring of all vibration during excavation works, he told the hearing.

Vibration monitors would be used in sensitive areas with a green light system where these were below the threshold limit, an amber warning light to stop and check and a red light where the thresholds had been broken and the work should stop.

Hand held tools would be used for excavation in particularly sensitive areas.

The structural engineer  also said that vermin control would be put in place for the construction phase to “ensure that any existing on-site vermin will be eradicated”.

Wheel washes would be set up at every exit point from the site with lorries required to drive through these so they did not bring muck out onto the adjoining roads.

Local residents have sought a curtailment of the working hours during the construction phase.

Mr Healy, a director of O’Connor Sutton Cronin, stressed that although some residents wanted these hours shortened every hour of reduction per day would increase the building phase by two to three months and the suggestion of no work on Saturdays would be “totally detrimental”.

He explained it was proposed to carry out works from 7am-7pm Monday to Friday, 8am-2pm on Saturdays with no work on Sundays.

The structural engineer said the two satellite clinics at Tallaght and Blanchardstown, feeding into the new hospital, would take 18 months to build and construction was expected to begin in the second quarter of next year, subject to permission.

Mr McDaid said the selection of the St James’s campus “took into consideration the site’s excellent accessibility by public transport, not only in terms of patient access, but also critically in terms of the large number of staff that will need to commute to and from the new children’s hospital on a daily basis.  

Most patients and visitors - 75pc - would be coming to the hospital from the Greater Dublin Area

For patients and families who needed to access by car from outside the M50 area there was “relatively little difference in terms of journey time  between peak and off peak periods - up to 12 minutes at peak and six at off peak.

Dealing with Emergency admissions, Mr McDaid said the most difficult access times would be during peak traffic and they estimated that typically less than two patients would come in by car during peak times.

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