— Campaign group critical of assessment of options for traffic reduction.
Today (Friday) is the last day to respond to the public consultation on a plan for the Phoenix Park which includes a bus route in the park, new cycle routes and plans aimed to reduce traffic in the park, 70% of which is commuter motorists.
The OPW is promising 14km of new cycle routes and the upgrade of the 17km of existing cycle routes.
The OPW also said it is planning to reduce the dominance of cars in the park but not everybody is convinced that the OPW is looking at the right option.
Ger O’Halloran, vice-chairperson of the Fingal Cycling Campaign, said in a submission: “The OPW preferred strategy, Option 3, will still facilitate through traffic in the Phoenix Park via Chapelizod, Ashtown, Castleknock, Infirmary Rd and Parkgate St Gates. Implementing a cul de sac on Glen Rd without preventing through traffic in the Park will not sufficiently discommode drivers to nudge them to stop using the Park as their primary commuting route.”
He said: “Only a moderate adjustment is required for cross Park commuters using Chapelizod Gate. They will journey on Acres Rd rather than Glen Rd before continuing their journey on Chesterfield Avenue. This will result in far greater
numbers of vehicles travelling on Acres Rd drastically disrupting the biodiversity and tranquillity of the 15 Acres.”
“The observations for option 10, specifically highlight the pod system as uniquely positioned to facilitate public transport options by eliminating all though traffic in the park. It is axiomatic that eliminating through traffic in the park will inevitably make active modes of transport safer and attractive,” he said.
O’Halloran point out that Option 10 is ruled out because impacts on surrounding neighbourhoods would need to be looked at but is outside the scope of the study. Yet when it comes to the OPW’s Preferred Strategy, there is assigned that it will improve the traffic in surrounding area.
He said: “It appears contradictory that unquantified considerations outside the scope of the study are allowed to negatively impact on certain Options in the criteria –namely Option 10- whilst the OPW preferred strategy criteria states that it will result in an improvement in traffic in the surrounding areas.”
In the submission from the Fingal Cycling Campaign, O’Halloran points to other issues.
“It is not clear why Option 10 receives a worse score than the OPW preferred strategy for the assessment criteria to ‘Enhance access to the Phoenix Park institutions, key attractions and amenities providing for pedestrians, cyclists and other sustainable modes of transport'”, said O’Halloran.
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He said: “The Pod system, Option 10, utterly removes through traffic in the park reducing traffic volumes by 60-70% during peak times. The OPW preferred strategy by facilitating through commuter traffic, concentrates through traffic on Chesterfield Avenue as stated in the summary of the Road Options section of the Report.”
O’Halloran added: “Facilitating through traffic, as Option 3 does, still prioritises vehicles over people. The OPW should demonstrate leadership. The novel Pod System, Option 10, approach should be implemented as the preferred strategy. This will yield the best results for active travel, safety, biodiversity and tranquillity of the Park.”