Submission by Councillor Anne Feeeny for Bus Corridors 9, 10, 11 & 12 – April 2019
I am a councillor on Dublin City Council representing Kimmage-Rathmines, which includes parts of Crumlin, parts of Drimnagh, Harold’s Cross, Kimmage, Rathgar, Rathmines and Terenure. My area is affected by your corridors, 9, 10, 11 and 12.
As you are aware, local elections are due shortly and I have therefore been knocking on doors consistently since January. The number one concern that is being raised with me on the doors is BusConnects. I have held two public meetings in Terenure and Rathmines villages to discuss the corridors with over 300 people in attendance. I have participated in marches in Harold’s Cross. People feel your public consultations are wholly inadequate, given the scale of the changes. There is a lot of unhappiness about features of your plan and I am requesting serious modifications to address them. The below summarises the chief concerns.
It is disappointing that you have not dealt with the bus routes before publishing any of these plans. Some of the corridors are difficult to assess properly without knowing what the bus routes using them will be.
Your plans envisage road widening on a number of local roads including Lower Kimmage Road, Rathfarnham Road, Rathgar Road and Terenure Road East. There is huge opposition to all of these plans. I seriously question whether this degree of road widening is necessary to get the buses moving. Much of the widening of these roads seems to be required to facilitate discontinuous cycle lanes (they are discontinuous in that they cannot be accommodated in other parts of the corridors) and I think the whole approach to cycle lanes needs to be re-considered. Your plans also seem to have neglected the fact that many of these areas are more than 100 years old and have period features and many mature trees. Destroying period features and mature trees has to be a last resort.
Roads made one way
Your plans envisage that Lower Kimmage Road, Lower Rathmines Road and Templeogue Road will become one way away from town. This creates severe access problems for cul de sacs off those roads. It has also given rise to fears that local roads will become clogged with diverted traffic 24/7. Roads which are obviously badly affected by diverted traffic include Castlewood Avenue, Clareville Road, Greenlea Road, Kenilworth Park, Larkfield Park and Rathdown estate.Some of these roads are proposed by you as key orbital routes.
In Terenure, there is a strong view from those who have studied it, that the existing bus gate on Templeogue Road gets the buses the necessary priority to Terenure Place and that the inconvenient one way system is simply unnecessary. The proposed right turn on corridor 10 at Springfield is widely seen as problematic.
A key issue with this is whether the one way systems will be morning peak Monday to Friday only or 24/7. If the former approach were adopted, I think there could be general if reluctant acceptance of the plan, perhaps with some other traffic management measures.
Your plans fail to identify a suitable way of access to important local amenities such as Leinster Cricket Club (who see their viability under threat); Mount Argus Church and Mount Jerome Cemetery.
It is really disappointing that these plans did not identify how these places are to be accessed. This has to be addressed at phase 2
Viability of villages
There is serious concern about the viability of all of Kimmage, Rathgar, Rathmines and Terenure villages. All of these villages will lose most of their parking and loading bays. It is disappointing that your plans do not identify where the loading bays will be located and where alternative parking will be provided. We are not prepared to sacrifice our local villages in the interests of saving a few minutes off bus journeys for people coming from further away. There is a fear that villages will become a construction site for periods of two years driving the shoppers away.
I should say that your previous proposals to abolish bus routes such as the 15A and 83 causes serious concerns for our traders. These routes are used to access Terenure, Rathgar and Rathmines villages and it is simply not acceptable that long standing routes from points to the west of the villages are abolished in this way. This issue also is very negative for schools. Also abolishing the 15B and 140 will undoubtedly cause major inconvenience and long walks for an ageing population in a city that we strive to promote as Age Friendly.
Your plans cause difficulty for most of our local schools. Some such as Scoil Molóige (Larkfield) Presentation Terenure and High School fear vastly increased traffic diverted off main roads close by their schools. St Louis NS and St Mary’s Rathmines potentially have a busy cycle lane right in front of their front doors. All of this is completely unacceptable. It is disappointing that plans causing these concerns should ever have been produced.
I think there is great disappointment at how cyclists fare under these plans. At best the routes feature discontinuous cycle lanes, with cyclists forced to share narrow roads with other traffic. There is unhappiness that cycle lanes are impeded at bus stops with cyclists forced into the general traffic lane to pass a bus. This whole aspect of the plan needs to go back to the drawing board.
Generally I think these plans are most disappointing and need a radical re-think. I would hope that phase 2 will reflect these concerns and be revised with proposals which will focus more on changing behaviours and more cost efficient quick to implement proposals to make buses move faster and cycling safer (e.g. standard bus fares; canal congestion charge; priority lights for buses and cycling, enforcement of traffic regulations like cars in bus lanes, etc.).
Longer term solutions have to include environmentally friendly Light Rail and/or Metro for a growing capital city with ambition and vision for future generations of commuters.
Cllr. Anne Feeney