— Opposition mainly from areas north of the local streets.
— Parents of younger children more supportive of measure.
Dublin City Council officials and local residents want to keep bollards aimed at cutting rat-running on a number of streets in Drumcondra — although, a resident’s group from a neighbouring area wants the street open to through cars again.
The Walsh Road traffic calming scheme trial was at first controversial among many local residents, but a survey for the council shows that a clear majority of local residents now support the scheme. Local supporters of the scheme also told IrishCycle.com that there a has been a change in mind among many residents after they saw the positive effects.
The survey of 204 households in the area, carried out on April 25 and April 28, 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 25% said said safety stayed much the same, while just 13% said the streets had become more dangerous. 6% did not know.
Residents with children under 15 were more likely to think streets were safer with 76% of them viewing that the streets are safer compared to a year ago and the same number viewed the measures as effective.
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.”
The council’s report said that the bollards were put in place after safety concerns over rat-running and inline with national policy and the city’s Development Plan.
The council said that the elimination of through traffic has significantly reduced the risk to pedestrians and cyclists using the roads, and has lessened the use of footpaths for parking — there is now a perception of more children walking and cycling to school, and an electric wheelchair user told the council that they were feeling much safer going to the shops or doctor.
“With the implementation of the traffic calming scheme, some of the private motorcar trips which previously used Walsh Road have dispersed onto a number of other streets in the vicinity of the scheme. The volume of traffic on these surrounding streets is more proportionate to their size and nature and the footpaths are generally less impeded than the footpaths of Walsh Road and Ferguson Road. Therefore the increased traffic on these roads has not impacted on pedestrian safety on these streets where conflicts among the various road users less are likely to occur,” Walsh said in the council report.
The Dublin City Council report also took issue with claims made by objectors — it said that there was no evidence of any fall off in use of Drumcondra library, there was no evidence provided to in relation to impacts on businesses, and claims of increased anti-social behaviour “was refuted by Gardai who stated that this behaviour was down to a particular group of young people and had been going on prior to the closure and that the Gardai were coming to grips with it.”
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The council said that maximum average increase of approx 39 seconds to bus route is “regrettable” however it does not override the health and safety benefits, and the city-wide bus priority team continue to monitor bus times, the team is responsible for enacting bus priority measures.
The council said that there were issues with the option of turning streets into one-way streets instead of bollards, including the likelihood of increasing the speed people drive at.
The issue is due to be discussed at the North West Area Committee this Monday.
The Walsh Road Traffic Action Group and Drumcondra Triangle Residents Association both support the bollards, while the Griffith Avenue and District Residents Association are objecting to anti-rat-running measure, outlining that the bollards are too extreme. Both groupings are lobbying local councillors.
A group of Drumcondra Triangle residents said: “We can assure you that we are no longer suffering the nightmare of being a rat run. The success of the trial has been life enhancing and has brought many benefits. The trial has made the area safer for children and adults of all ages, less polluted, quieter and a better community for humans not for their cars. The transformation has been extraordinary and life changing in a positive way.”
“There has been a lot of fake news from outside the area, from self interested pressure groups, wishing to have their ‘rat running rights’ restored. Please recognise this for the selfish desire that it is. This is people claiming an entitlement to destroy the quality of life of a community, to suit their motoring/commuting convenience. It is a shameless belief in an imagined ‘privilege’ to disrupt the lives of another community,” they said.
Griffith Avenue and District Residents Association (Gadra) claimed that the bollards are in breach of planning laws because it was a “10 month trial with barriers in situ, instead of the originally stated 6 months”.
Gadra used Freedom of Information (FOI) to obtain letters from the HSE Millmount Health Centre complaining about how the bollards mean that visitors to the health centre have to walk 200 metres or use the busy Drumcondra Road to drive around them, and complaining that nursing staff on home visits have further to drive. Because personal details are blanked out on the FOI, it is unclear who wrote these letters of complaint, what position they are in or if the complains about needing to give directions around the bollards were just a short-term issue.
In an email to councillors, the group said the bollards “reduces access to the Health Centre, reduces the number of visits that nurses can do in a day, and makes it harder for those who require the service to access it unless they are on a bike. None of the clients attending the primary care teams arrive on bikes!!! We find it extremely difficult to believe that you as our representative can stand over the impact on the health centre and people in need of care.”
The Gadra group also took exception to survey mentioned above asked why it was conducted, how much it cost, who approved it, why residents from a wider area were not included and was the project value for money.
Gadra also took issue with the lack of focus on their petition with 1,780 people against the bollards — however, while Dublin City Council did not comment directly on this petition, the council policy is not to holsuch because they are viewed to be often signed by people who do not want to upset neighbours.
IrishCycle.com previous reported how the Gadra said it was “not anti-cycling” but its AGM report noted that it objected to a plan for a walking and cycling route.
- Review report (PDF)
- Group said it’s “not anti-cycling” after opposing anti-rat-running bollards and cycle route
- Tackling rat running is key for liveable, healthier and safer cities
MAIN IMAGE: From the cover of the Dublin City Council report.