Throughout the last number of years, I have been working with East Wall residents, City Council officials and my colleagues on Dublin City Council to address illegal parking, traffic speeding as well as the overall management of traffic volumes across East Wall. In April 2019, several short-term measures were agreed, subsequently implemented and many would argue have had a positive impact. While these measures, are indeed welcome, a permanent solution to the problems being experienced by East Wallers need to be developed and implemented.
During the Local Elections campaign last year, I committed to working with East Wall residents on ensuring that permanent plan is developed in partnership with them and the Council’s Engineers. A top down approach will not work and that is why I secured commitments from the City Council to undertake a Neighbourhood Traffic Scheme analysis in East Wall. I and my colleagues were recently provided with a copy of this analysis. I will summarise the main findings and possible action steps here but if you would like a copy of that report, please email me at RayMcAdam@gmail.com.
The East Wall neighbourhood is bounded by North Strand Road to the west, by East Wall Road to the North and by Sheriff Street Upper to the south. The neighbourhood use is primarily residential, with mixed-use (i.e. residential and commercial) along East Road and Church Road. The area is serviced by shops, St. Joseph’s Church, a community centre, a primary school and recreational facilities.
East Road is considered the main thoroughfare route through the neighbourhood linking the East Wall Road to Sheriff Street Upper. The street comprises a number of residential and commercial premises including the An Post Delivery Service Unit and Facebook (located in The Beckett Building).
The surrounding high density employment areas includes the International Financial Services Centre to the south, East Point Business Park to the north and Dublin Port to the east. These areas attract a high volume of traffic into the area for work purposes and has resulted in transport-related issues in the East Wall neighbourhood.
Map showing East Wall Estate bounded by Arterial Streets and Boundary Line of NTS Scheme
Two workshops on transport issues in the East Wall Area were held in April and Oct 2019. At the meetings, councillors were given the opportunity to express their concerns and suggest possible solutions. The following pages summarise the concerns and suggested solutions identified during these workshops with the elected members.
One item raised by councillors for the development of a Neighbourhood Transport Scheme was the issue of all day commuter parking resulting in a lack of parking for residents of East Wall. This issue has led to a high demand for parking in the area resulting in vehicles parked illegally on footpaths making it difficult for pedestrians to pass by safely.
Another item raised was the issue of traffic cutting-through the East Wall Area in order to avoid the nearby arterial streets. This issue has resulted in increased traffic, adding to the potential for accidents involving both motorists and pedestrians, and increased noise and emissions impacting on the quality of life for people living in the area.
The two transport issues which have been identified and discussed in this report are as follows:
- Parking-related issues
a) Commuter parking i.e. non-residential parking near the workplace which an employee commutes to work.
b) Illegal parking i.e. vehicles parked in a manner that is in breach of the Road Traffic Act Regulations and/or Dublin City Council Parking Control Bye-Laws 2019.
2. Cut-Through Traffic i.e. non-local traffic passing through the neighbourhood.
The purpose of this Preliminary Phase 3 Report is to outline the potential solutions available to alleviate the above issues. Councillors can then advise which avenues they wish to pursue in terms of providing a solution to the local residents and businesses.
This area has been assessed by the Transport Advisory Group in order to establish potential solutions which could address the issues identified in this area.
The three potential solutions which will be discussed in this report are as follows:
• Solution 1: Parking Demand Management
- Pay & Display Parking
- Sustainable Parking Provision e.g. introduction of Cycle Parking facilities
- Parking Restrictions e.g. installation of Double Yellow Lines
- Physical Obstructions e.g. installation of Planter Boxes
- Parking Enforcement
Parking Demand Management is designed to reduce parking demand and associated traffic flows, preserve parking for residents, and promote a shift away from motorised vehicles and into sustainable travel modes such as walking, cycling and public transport.
- Pay & Display Parking can reduce parking demand by discouraging all-day commuter parking and ensuring vehicles are parked in a more orderly fashion.
- Cycle Parking Provision can reduce parking demand by reducing the availability of existing parking spaces by reallocating parking spaces to Cycle Parking facilities.
- Parking Restrictions (e.g. Double Yellow Lines, Clearways) can reduce parking demand by reducing the availability of existing parking spaces.
The design of Residential Pay & Display Parking Scheme would consist of a combination all three interventions with Cycle Parking facilities (i.e. bike racks) being implemented at strategic locations in the area.
According to the Dublin City Council Development Plan 2016-2022, the East Wall is designated as an Area 2 Parking Zone where a maximum of 1 parking space is required per house. A parking provision below the maximum may be permitted provided it does not impact negatively on the amenities of surrounding properties or areas and there is no potential negative impact on traffic safety.
The Parking Capacity Surveys have indicated that there is potential to provide approximately 0.84 parking spaces per household in the overall area.
Due to the existing dimensions of the streets and footpaths in the area, there is very little if any scope to introduce additional capacity in terms of parking spaces for residents. However, the purpose of a Pay and Display and Residents’ Permit Parking Scheme (P&D) is to eliminate long-term commuter/business parking in residential areas thereby freeing up spaces for local residents.
In terms of commuter parking, it is estimated that the introduction of a Residential Pay & Display Parking Scheme would be highly effective at preserving residential parking and discouraging all-day commuter parking. Vehicles without a valid parking permit would be subjected to a maximum stay time limit of 3 hours which reduces the availability of all-day commuter parking. Residents may also have an increased opportunity to park close to their homes (residents parking permit schemes do not however offer any guarantees of a parking space and certainly not a parking space in front of the resident’s own home).
In terms of illegal parking, a Residential Pay & Display Parking Scheme would likely reduce commuter parking, and therefore, likely reduce the necessity for drivers to illegally park on footpaths due to a lack of parking capacity. Additionally, the amenity of the area would be improved with vehicles being parked in a more orderly fashion. This is likely to improve the effectiveness of parking enforcement in the area as illegally parked vehicles would become less widespread.
In terms of cut-through traffic, it is estimated that Parking Demand Management measures would be moderately effective at reducing the volume of vehicles entering the East Wall Area due to a reduction in the availability of all-day commuter parking.
Below is a summary table highlighting the estimating effectiveness of implementing Parking Demand Management measures to alleviate the identified transport-related issues in the area.
• Solution 2: Traffic Calming Measures
- Lane narrowing e.g. footpath widening
- Vertical deflections e.g. raised junction speed tables
- Horizontal deflection e.g. buildouts, chicanes
TRAFFIC CALMING MEASURES are physical infrastructure measures aimed to improve safety for road users and pedestrians by combating speeding and other unsafe behaviours of drivers in neighbourhoods. It encourages safer, more responsible driving which can reduce traffic flow by slowing down traffic and making the road safer and less desirable to be used by cut-through traffic.
- Lane narrowing (e.g. buildouts, footpath widening) can reduce driver speeds by reducing the useable road space.
- Vertical deflections (e.g. ramps, raised junction speed tables) can reduce driver speeds by raising a section of a road surface to create discomfort for drivers travelling at high speeds.
- Horizontal deflection (e.g. buildouts, chicanes) can reduce driver speeds by creating a horizontal deflection that causes vehicles to slow as they would for a curve.
In terms of commuter parking, it is estimated that slowing down traffic through the introduction of Traffic Calming Measures would unlikely be effective at preserving residential parking and discouraging all-day commuter parking.
In terms of illegal parking, it is estimated that Traffic Calming Measures would unlikely be effective at preventing illegal parking. For example, although implementing lane narrowing measures such as buildouts with trees may physically prevent drivers from parking on the extended section of footpath, the reduced road space would also reduce the on-street parking capacity of the road and possibly shift more vehicles to park illegally onto the footpath.
In terms of cut-through traffic, it is estimated that Traffic Calming Measures can be moderately effective at reducing the volume of vehicles cutting-through the East Wall Area. Traffic Calming Measures serve to slow down traffic resulting in longer journey times which discourages drivers looking for a faster route through the neighbourhood in an attempt to avoid congestion on the main arterial routes.
Below is a summary table highlighting the estimating effectiveness of implementing traffic calming measures to alleviate the identified transport-related issues in the area.
• Solution 3: Traffic Rerouting Measures
- Access Restriction Signage e.g. Left Turn Bans
- Filtered Permeability i.e. physically limiting access to walking and cycling and preventing access to motorised vehicles
- One-Way Systems
TRAFFIC REROUTUNG MEASURES are aimed to identify alternative routes for through traffic if travel is to be restricted on any road within the study area.
- Access Restriction Signage (e.g. Right Turn Bans, No Straight Ahead) can reduce cut-through traffic by passively limiting access to walking, cycling and Public Transport, and preventing access to motorised vehicles.
- Filtered Permeability can reduce cut-through traffic by physically limiting access to walking and cycling and preventing access to motorised vehicles e.g. through the implementation of features such as ‘Cycle Gates’. One drawback to this intervention is that it can lead to an uneven spread of motorised traffic throughout the area.
- One-Way Systems can reduce cut-through traffic by requiring drivers to take a more circuitous route to get to a specific destination. This measure is only appropriate on short length streets due to increased speeding issues associated with one-way systems.
In terms of commuter parking, it is estimated that traffic re-routing measures would unlikely be effective at preserving residential parking and discouraging all-day commuter parking. For instance, although creating an enclave of the East Wall Estate (i.e. by closing six of the seven junctions to motorised vehicles where motorised vehicles can enter/exit the estate) would result in longer vehicular journeys, it is unlikely to be effective at discouraging commuters from choosing the area as a destination for free parking.
In terms of illegal parking, it is estimated that traffic re-routing measures would unlikely be effective at preventing illegal parking. As described above, it is unlikely that traffic re-routing measures would discourage commuter parking, and thus, the demand for parking and associated illegal parking issues in the area would likely go unchanged.
In terms of cut-through traffic, it is estimated that traffic re-routing measures can be very effective at reducing cut-through traffic. However, the effectiveness of any proposed measures can vary considerably. For example, retaining two or more vehicular entrances/exits into an estate is likely to leave a potential route for cut-through traffic. Furthermore, the re-routed traffic is likely to shift onto the adjacent residential streets. In limited circumstances, one-way systems can also be implemented to discourage cut-through traffic due to longer vehicular journeys. However, this measure can also result in longer cycling journeys in addition to faster driver speeds.
In the case of East Wall, assessing the feasibility of rerouting traffic measures such as closing any entrances/exits into the estate would be complex and would require consultants to carry out detailed traffic surveys, analysis and consultation.
SO, WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS?
The City Council can take steps in respect of implementing any of the solutions above. However, before that happens, I believe it is absolutely necessary for East Wall residents to have the opportunity to know what would be involved in the possible implementation of each solution, the consequences and for residents to tease these various options out further.
Given the current national emergency, it is not possible to host a public meeting in East Wall to allow residents better understand the possible initiatives that could be taken to rectify the parking and traffic management challenges that exist. However, I would welcome your feedback by email or I would be happy to speak with you over the telephone or through zoom or skype so that I can ensure your views, opinions and concerns are properly aired and teased out in advance of any implementation plan being developed.
So, you can contact me via:
- Email: RayMcAdam@gmail.com
- Phone / Text: 086 847 1720
Fine Gael Councillor - North Inner City
Leader, Fine Gael, Dublin City Council
Chair, Urban Form & Planning Strategic Policy Committee