A water down mobility plan for the Phoenix Park has been welcomed by Green Party leader Minister Eamon Ryan, when the plan has been derided by local Green Party representatives and campaigners said yesterday that the weakness of the plan raises doubts on Government’s ability to act on climate change.
Minister Ryan, who is the environment and transport minister, said: “The Phoenix Park is set to become more accessible and enjoyable for all visitors. Highlights include a 30kph speed limit, walking upgrades with Chesterfield Ave pedestrian crossings, 14km of new cycling routes, and a bus service linking Heuston and Broombridge stations.”
Ryan added: “Over 2,200 people responded to the public consultation informing the report published this morning. The level of engagement shows how much we all value the park, and I am delighted to support improvements to visitor experience.”
However, Green Party MEP for Dublin who lives in and has previously represented the inner city, said: “Disappointing that Minister O’Donovan is going for bronze on the OPW traffic management plan for the Phoenix Park. Here’s hoping he might reconsider.”
A local Green Party TD, Deputy Neasa Hourigan said: “The long and short of it is that this is an entirely lost opportunity to protect and enhance our Phoenix Park. The influence of the minister in protecting its status as primarily a motorway is very obvious. It’s a shame.”
She added: “The results of the public consultation have been almost completely disregarded in this. Considering proposed changes to the planning process coming up in the next Dail term that’s a deeply worrying precedent.”
Cllr Janet Horner, a local Green Party Councillor for the North Inner City, said: “There are some really good, but moderate, common sense measures for the Phoenix Park. But the opportunity to meaningfully protect and treasure our city’s green lung has been butchered by Fine Gael’s desire to put roads ahead of people and parks.”
Cllr Michael Pidgeon, another local Green Party — who started a petition now signed by 7,564 people calling for a restriction commuter traffic in the park — tweeted a list of his views on the mesures. He said: “Lots of good stuff, but the Minister [O’Donovan] bottled it when it came to two of the gates.”
He added: “These improvements are welcome. They’ll make it a better park. But – * long sigh* – they still don’t deal with the core question: is the Phoenix Park a national park or a national road?”
MAIN IMAGE: The cycle lane on the main avenue is to be retained, where there used to be car parking until last year, but no details on designs at roundabouts are known at this stage — the OPW is seen to have a poor record at providing cycling and pedestrian priority.