You may recall in November, I highlighted a number of concerns about the City Council’s plan to direct vehicular traffic through Stoneybatter as a result of the proposed Liffey Cycle Route along the Quays. This project would see a two-way cycle path put in place between Bachelor’s Walk and Conyngham Road and would see the private vehicle lanes being reduced to one lane alongside a bus lane. Between Mellowes Bridge and Fr. Mathew Bridge, the City Council Executive proposes that no private vehicles would be permitted, thereby, sending that traffic along Blackhall Place and into Stoneybatter.
I am concerned about the impact of this proposal on the communities across Stoneybatter, especially, in terms of the additional volume of traffic on Stoneybatter streets, how that will be managed and how safe it will be for local residents. In an effort to get some answers for Stoneybatter residents, I have been pursuing this situation with Council officials. This involved, requesting that the Engineers come before the Dublin Central Area Committee in City Hall and detail the consideration that has been given by the Transportation Department to how the proposed realignment of the Liffey Cycle Route will impact the residential communities in Arbour Hill, Stoneybatter and Smithfield. In particular, I highlighted concerns about access to North Brunswick Street given that it is already difficult due to volumes of traffic at certain times of the day, the amount of traffic coming from the Navan Road area in morning rush hour, the possibility of drivers using Montpelier Hill and Arbour Hill as a rat-run in the future among others. Ultimately, I wanted to know whether the Council’s Transportation engineers have considered what the effects of rerouting of thousands of vehicles through Stoneybatter everyday will have on our communities?
Sadly, the response from officials was beyond disappointing! Dublin City Council is only now engaging in a process of detailed analysis of the traffic impacts of the current proposal for the Liffey Cycle Route. This will include a detailed analysis of access to North Brunswick Street. Assessments of the likely air quality and noise impacts on the local environment are also being completed. A screening process will also be conducted to establish the appropriate public consultation process to follow. Council officials then intend to present the outcome of the screening process and the time line for the public consultation process to the Transportation Strategic Policy Committee in the first quarter of 2017.
This is not acceptable to me and what I cannot understand is how experienced Council engineers and officials believe it is acceptable to only undertake a traffic impact assessment after publishing their preferred route for the Liffey Cycle project. This work should have been completed before any decision was taken on a preferred route. Indeed, I believe the traffic impact assessment should have determined how the Liffey Cycle Route should be located, particularly between, Conyngham Road and the junction of the Quays with Church Street.
The Liffey Cycle Route is more than just a piece of Cycle infrastructure. It is a major transport project for the city and should be treated as such. The City Council needs to do and more importantly, do things right with a project such as this. As a Stoneybatter resident and a Councillor from the north-west inner city, I cannot stand by and allow our communities to be negatively affected because the City Council failed to do its homework properly! Full transport, economic, noise impact assessments must now happen before this project is advanced by Owen Keegan and the Council Executive.
Over the coming days, I will update all Stoneybatter and north west Inner City residents, businesses, school principals and community groups have contacted me with my assessment of the proposal and what the next steps are in ensuring that these concerns are not only listened to but actioned upon as well.