Stoneybatter and Smithfield residents: Please don’t buy into scaremongering

IMAGE: The Liffey Cycle Route will be a backbone of an emerging network of cycle paths across the city.

COMMENT & ANALYSIS: An open letter to residents of Stoneybatter, Smithfield, Grangegorman and the surrounding area:

I would ask that people please think before listening to the hype about Stoneybatter and Smithfield getting flooded with traffic because of the Liffey Cycle Route. There was scaremongering before the extra bus lanes were put on the quays and, as it turns out, the sky didn’t fall in after the bus lanes went in.

If you’re worried about where the traffic will go, please have a read of this: this great article from DIT’s David O’Connor (and you can also read my more rambling article, covering similar points and some extra ones).

The claim by some that there will be “6,000 additional cards, vans and lorries” going via Stoneybatter or Smithfield is bewildering — the inner orbital route and all the rest of the roads in the area combined won’t handle that increase in traffic. The truth is that the level of commuters crossing the canals is down over the last 20 years, and number of cars using Ellis Quay at rush hour decreased 32% in just two years between 2014 and 2016.

There will be less and less space in the city with all that is planned — new bus lanes are already in place on the quays and Luas Cross City will have a tram crossing the Liffey every 90 seconds at peak times, and trams will also be crossing at Constitution Hill and Bolton Street. This will mean less cars in the area, not more. When it opens in December, the extended Luas green line will offer an alternative to car commuters in Cabra, Phibsborough, the North Circular Road and added connectivity in both directions between the existing green line and the northside.

After Luas is up and running, the Liffey Cycle Route and other cycling and bus routes will take space from cars while offering people an alternative way to get around the city. This isn’t even anti-car. The city is growing and there’s no more space — the number of cars entering the city has to decrease and space needs to be given over to more space-effective modes of transport.

The Liffey Cycle Route will be a fully segregated two-way cycle path from the Phoenix Park to the Point Village and will link to existing and planned segregated cycle routes. It is the start of a network of segregated cycle routes in Dublin and it will be a far better way of cycling from Stoneybatter and Smithfield to get to a good chunk of the city than any of the current routes available.

Focus should be on making the streets in the area safer, not fighting against a cycle route which will cut traffic across the city city centre. Some people campaigning against the Liffey Cycle Route are nearly implying that the streets and roads around Stoneybatter and Smithfield are tranquil, when nothing could be further from the truth. Local improves area needed, including improved pedestrian and cycling crossings, traffic calming and safer cycling connections.

Anybody who is interested in a more livable city, safer roads, better health, and more transport capacity, including safe and attractive cycling access for Stoneybatter and Smithfield, should support the Liffey Cycle Route and other measures (such as the Blanch to UCD bus rapid transport route) which will get commuters and shoppers out of their cars.

8 Comments

  1. to use a common Americanism : The rubber meets the road for this and the clontarf scheme, wednesday this week!

  2. To be fair, I have noticed an increase in traffic in Stoneybatter since the extra bus lanes have been introduced on the quays. It’s probably just the initial adjustment period before people find other routes to drive home (I get a 37 bus to and from work from D15 every day). And maybe taking more space away from cars on the quays will increase this somewhat again.

    However, I don’t see “extra traffic” as a reason not to do it. If people complain about a “war on cars”, let them – cars are something to be reduced, from a pollution, space and waste standpoint. If that means extra traffic until people say “You know what? I’ll cycle/take a bus/train/tram” or some other combination, then mission accomplished.

  3. The entire city has “extra traffic” at the moment because that is what happens every year when the schools re-open and when the weather starts to get colder and wetter.

  4. Who made the 6000 extra cars claim anyway? probably some local councilor or one of these “business leader” types. Even if it is true why is it ok for residents along the north quays to have to put up with these traffic levels but not ok in Smithfield? As Rob says if this is the price of progress so be it.

  5. It’s terrible we live on queen street and the traffic is heavy most of the day we have schools and Creche’s in the aera which have lots of children some in bikes coming and going these extra cars and whatnot will only add to the danger for them on a already busy street this must not be aloud go ahead

  6. Hi Tracy… as I say above — please don’t buy into the scaremongering.

    As for the children going to the schools and creaches — the streets around Smithfield are not safe for them now and residents should be looking for measures to make those streets save, not join up with motorists from Stoneybatter and further out to keep the status quo.

  7. Anyone that has lived any length of time in that area, has lived the nightmare of traffic that has increased over the years. The fact Ellis Quay traffic is down, is most likely largely due to rat runs through various residential streets. Arbour Hill/Montpellier hill etc, are main thoroughfares now at rush hr, the area is extremely dangerous as it is for pedestrians. Im all for progress, but the area is beyond congested as it is, and for residents it’s a step too far.

  8. @TW — I have and am all too well aware of the traffic. The solution to that traffic isn’t doing nothing. It isn’t the status quo. It’s offering solutions such as the Luas and Liffey Cycle Route which will reduce motorised traffic space and also offer attractive alternatives to driving.

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