Sunday 21 July 2019

Comment: Vehicles are now being railroaded out of the capital - without any thought for car users

Map shows a number of road traffic plans
Map shows a number of road traffic plans
'Buses will be facilitated and a new bus lane built. Cyclists will be facilitated and arrangements made. Cars will not.' Photo:

Conor Faughnan

The railroad is coming through. Dublin City Council is determinedly forcing other modes aside to make sure that the capital's Luas extension gets every priority.

It is blind when it comes to the consequences for motorists.

No effort is being made to facilitate private transport and no respect is being given to the importance of its role.

This is at its most obvious at the pinch-point of Bachelors Walk at O'Connell Bridge.

Eastbound traffic on the quays will be blocked at that point and will not be allowed to continue on to Eden Quay and places such as the Italian quarter and financial services district.

Buses will be facilitated and a new bus lane built. Cyclists will be facilitated and arrangements made.

Cars will not.

No alternative is being provided nor even given any real thought. Drivers are simply being told to go somewhere else.

Car drivers are thought of as the problem and the enemy and that is wrong.

In the city centre there are 200,000 commuters coming in every day to work. All public transport assets, stuffed to the gills, fall short of taking half of that number. Of the rest a little over 60,000 drive.

Then there are people who need to move around during the day. Tradespeople, small deliveries, café owners, shoppers, business people.

They are the essential life of the city and the council has told them to get lost.

To be clear, the AA completely supports Luas. Always has. I have said before that we have to invest in public transport and not just in Dublin.

We should be building a dozen tram lines along with half-a-dozen more in each of the regional cities. Luas works.

And I also get that there is a problem on Bachelors Walk. Average speeds are only 5kmh at the moment and I agree that the junction will fail altogether if nothing is done.

What I don't get, though, is why Dublin City Council has made no preparation for what to do with the 600 cars per peak hour that they are displacing.

The document for discussion at the council's transport committee tomorrow has two lazy sentences on the subject. Alternatives are "being considered".

This is inadequate.

The tram hasn't taken them by surprise.

They have known its been coming for years.

The choice to be deliberately dismissive of car users in this way is unhelpful and unfair.

Conor Faughnan is director of consumer affairs at the AA

Irish Independent

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