Traffic counts show increases, decreases and balancing of traffic in Sandymount area

With Dublin’s Strand Road closed in the northbound direction, the number of motorists on the Merrion Road has not increased anything close to the 113% level which was predicted before the planned Sandymount cycle route trial, and even decreased on one of the two traffic count dates.

The number of motorists using Sandymount Road, closer to the village centre, is down around 44%. The traffic count data shows the volume of vehicles on Tritonville Ave is around 50% higher in one direction but around 34% lower in the other direction, and, while Strand Road is closed northbound, it has seen an increase in motorists in the southbound direction.

As we reported last month, while the 6-month trial of the Strand Road cycle route still hasn’t been implemented, the traffic restrictions relating to the Irish Water’s water main replacement on Strand Road are currently closely mirroring the council’s traffic arrangements for the cycle route.

The traffic counts were provided by Dublin City Council to and have also been shared with councillors and at least one local resident group which had requested it.

Serpentine Avenue, Tritonville Road, and Claremont are the three roads which make up the STC group, which took a court case against the council on behalf of residents. Serpentine Avenue and Tritonville Road join each other.

The release of the data comes after the final day of the three-judge Court of Appeal hearing in the council’s appeal against the High Court judgement.

At the hearing, now Supreme Court Justice Maurice Collins said that it would be wrong to let a judgment stand that implies virtually any form of traffic calming requires planning permission, while both Justice Collins and the President of the High Court, David Barniville, took issue with the High Court dismissing the council’s evidence that the trial would be temporary.

The Council told the court that its intent is to proceed with the project once it is legally allowed to do so. The Court of Appeal reserved judgement and a written judgment of this sort could take months to be released.

The traffic counts were undertaken over 24 hours on October 11, 2022, before the Irish Water works started and then on January 11 and February 7 of this year while the work was ongoing. The first two counts were on Wednesdays and the latter was on a Tuesday.

In the text provided with the data, Dublin City Council said: “These are verified counts undertaken by an independent Traffic Count company.”

The traffic counts show that the number of vehicles on Sandymount Road — which would be seen as an internal road closer to the village centre — is down 40-47% on the pre-works levels. From 943 vehicles to around 577 and 502, with the respective traffic counts.

A traffic counter on Tritonville Ave has shown a traffic increase of around 50% northbound, but the southbound levels of traffic have decreased by around 34% — the combined change amounts to just a 5% increase from 414 to 434 vehicles counted in the morning rush hour.

While there’s only a 5% increase in vehicles on the road at the peak morning rush hour, the people travelling in the busier direction will still feel the brunt of the 50% increase.

On Merrion Road — which was always expected to see the largest increase in traffic from the northbound Strand Road closure — traffic compared to pre-closure levels were 17% higher on January 11 but the counter showed a 31% decrease on February 7.

But there was also a decrease in (south)eastbound traffic on Merrion Road — this means the overall traffic levels on the road was 1,608 pre-works with a 5% increase on the January count date and a decrease of 22% with the February date, both compared to the pre-works data. What is marked as eastbound on Merrion Road meets the end of Strand Road southbound.

This article continues below the table. The following is a copy of the data as provided by Dublin City Council:

AM Peak hour (8-9am) Vehicle count comparison

Oct 23 (pre closure)Jan-23%DiffFeb-23%Diff
Merrion Rd
Sandymount Rd
Strand Rd
Traffic counts were undertaken over 24 hours on 11th October 2022,  11th January 2023 and the 7th of February
These are verified counts undertaken by an independent Traffic Count company

Dart usage

Figures provided by Irish Rail to shows that the passenger numbers on the Dart for the first four weeks of the year is up significantly on the same four weeks in 2022 — from 0.73m to 1.28m journeys.

Irish Rail said that these are overall passenger trips figures as area-specific data is not available. The company noted that at the start of 2022, there were still face-mask-wearing restrictions and work-from-home advisories at that time. There is also significant traffic disruption on the northside with the Clontarf to City Centre bus and cycling project.

Pre-Covid in 2019 the same first four weeks of Dart use was at 1.39m trips — this means the level of train usage was nearly at pre-Covid levels in the first four weeks of 2023. This contrasts with the Irish Examiner recently reporting that, only last summer, National Transport Authority staff feared that “shorter-distance rail patronage has gone and may not ever fully return.”


  1. You describe traffic going east-bound on Merrion road. I think you mean south-bound, or at most southeast-bound. It’s definitely not east-bound.

    Just from my own subjective observations, there has been an increase on traffic on Merrion road going north-bound in the mornings, compared to the last few years. However, I’d say that this current morning north-bound traffic is about the same as it was to morning traffic in 2019.

    I can’t comment on Serpentine/Trintonville. I used to cycle on these roads as part of my commute but changed a few years ago because of aggressive driving and all the cars parked at the sides of the road, which just makes it unpleasant to cycle along there.

    I’m not at all surprised that car traffic through Sandymount village hasn’t increased due to the diversions, as this would just be a dumb way to try to go. I sometimes have to drive to work. On the way to work, I drove south along Strand Road and on the way back I went north along Merrion Road. Due to the way the roads worked and interacted I never even bothered going back north along Strand Road unless it was after 8pm. And going back through Sandymount Village was always a dumb option unless you wanted to actually go to Sandymount village itself.

    • Southeast would be a better description but I followed the traffic count data table to avoid confusion but will add (South) to my text and leave the table as given.

      • Ah, I see, that’s how it’s described in the table. I missed that. I was reading what you were describing in the text. Fair enough. But the people who drew up the table, they need a telling off. They probably don’t know their lefts from their rights.

    • My local experience is of Merrion Road (R118), Serpentine Avenue and Sandymount village by bicycle and all times of the day.
      The Merrion Rd. going out-bound is certainly more congested from where I join it at Nutley Lane junction, but then road works for the CMR along by Merrion House (Jacobs) don’t help over the past few months.
      Serpentine Ave. certainly has more traffic on it when I use it.
      Sandymount village is the same as before.

  2. So the overall combined count was: Oct ’22 3868; Jan ’23 3237; Feb ’23 2722. This is a 30% reduction in through-traffic. This is a great example of how people adapt; finding other routes and taking other options. Imagine if there was a decent cycling option too!


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