Street in Drumcondra to remain closed to rat running following shift in public opinion

Councillors in the North West Area Committee of Dublin City Council agreed to make anti-rat running bollards in Drumcondra permanent last week.

As we reported last week, council officials and local residents wanted to retain the Walsh Road traffic calming scheme, while a resident’s group from a neighbouring area wanted the street open to allow cars to use the street as a through road again.

Councillors and local campaigners reported that there was a shift in local opinion towards supporting the bollards as the trial went on. The positives of the scheme include that there is a perception that more school children are now walking and cycling, there is less motor traffic on narrow roads and less parking on footpaths.

According to dublininquirer.com, Councillor Paul McAuliffe (Fianna Fáil) noted the concerns about access to the health centre, but also asked that the council summarise the process of putting the bollards in place as several residents on other streets have requested bollards to stop rat-running on their streets.

Cllr Andrew Montaguem on Twitter, said: “Today the council voted to make the traffic restrictions at Walsh/Ferguson Road permanent. While I understand the concerns of increased journey times for some, for me, the benefits are too important to be ignored.”

He added: “The traffic restrictions allow more children to walk to school. Fewer cars park along the footpath, giving more room to parents with buggies or people in wheelchairs. Pedestrian safety in both Walsh and Ferguson Road has improved greatly. I was pleased to support making these restrictions permanent, along with the other councillors from Dublin North West providing safer conditions and a stronger community.”

Cllr Andrew Keegan (People Before Profit), on Twitter, pointed evidence that the mini-Holland schemes in the outer London boroughs have proven to increase cycling and walking rates. The schemes included traffic reduction measures similar to those used on Walsh Road, as well as some segregated cycle paths on main roads. Cllr Keegan said: “Hopefully the closure of Walsh Road in Drumcondra will lead to greater things. Even business can benefit.”

A survey of 204 households in the Walsh Road area, conducted for the council, found that the majority of people are now very satisfied with the level of traffic on their streets, and only a minority were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied (5% and 21%). It was conducted by Delve Research using random face to face interviews.

Overall 56% respondents viewed streets as being safer compared to last year and residents with children under 15 were more likely to think streets were safer with 76% of them saying that the streets are safer.

A report by the council, senior engineer, Andy G. Walsh said: “It is Dublin City Council’s professional recommendation that despite some negatives, the scheme has proved worthwhile. We would recommend that the changes should be made permanent with a view to providing enhanced public realm improvements in this area.”

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MAIN IMAGE: From the cover of the Dublin City Council report.

I am editor of IrishCycle.com and have reported on and commented on cycling in Ireland for over a decade. My background is in journalism -- I have a BA in Journalism from DCU and HDip in Print Journalism from BCFE. I wrote about cycling for national newspapers, and then started CyclingInDublin.com for overflow stories. Later the website was re-branded to reflect a more national focus.

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