Since the beginning of the pandemic, Dublin City Council in conjunction with the National Transport Authority and various agencies and stakeholders have put in place measures to enhance mobility and accessibility across the city. Indeed, every week, I receive queries about the progress of these works and what further measures are to be introduced. In response to these enquires, I share a copy of the weekly report prepared by Chief Executive, Owen Keegan.
Given the volume of queries I have been receiving in respect of the Covid Mobility initiative, I will posting a copy of the Chief Executive’s weekly report here. If you have particular questions or queries, please get in touch with me by email at RayMcAdam@gmail.com.
11 September 2020
To the Lord Mayor and
Elected Members of the City Council
COVID-19 Mobility Measures Update
Implementation of the COVID Mobility Programme for the City Council area continues with an emphasis now on school reopening. 1.1 Pedestrian Volumes
There are two data sources that the City Council monitors. Firstly, there are the footfall counters which count continuously and provide 24 hour data. These counters are located between Stephen’sGreen and Henry St. These show that the footfall in this core area is back to almost 60% of pre-COVID levels.
Secondly, pedestrian counts at 9 key cordon locations were carried out in May, June and July. These showed that the number commuting by foot in the morning peak was only at 20% of pre-COVID levels at the start of July. Further counts to assess how many pedestrians are commuting into the city centre commenced mid-August. The results show that pedestrian commuters had not increased at the end of August. Counts are currently underway to ascertain what effect the return to school is having.
1.2 Cycling Volumes
Cycling volumes, which are continuously monitored by City Council’s counters located at Grove Road, North Strand Road, Charleville Mall and Guild Street, show overall cycling numbers at approximately 70% of pre-COVID numbers with this level holding steady since the start of June.
However, at the peak morning time, 7am to 10am, cycling numbers are at approx. 30% of pre-COVID levels. Comparing February to September of this year, to last year, we can see that the morning commuter cycling numbers remain significantly reduced.
In contrast, the off peak cycling figures have recovered to the same levels as in 2019, occasionally surpassing 2019 levels, most notably in the last few weeks. Similarly to the pedestrian counts, cycling counts started last week to monitor the numbers commuting by bike. These show that at the end of August cyclist commuter numbers had not yet recovered.
1.3 Bus Passenger Numbers
The trend in bus passenger numbers (BAC and GAI) shows continuing gradual recovery. Weekday passenger numbers are at just over 40% of pre-COVID levels with a stronger recovery in weekend numbers.
1.4 General Traffic Volumes
Traffic volumes are still flat and have not shown any growth over recent weeks with some locations still well below pre-COVID levels.
2. Implementation of Measures
2.1. Grafton Street Area – Weekend Pedestrian Friendly Trials
The Grafton Street area weekend pedestrian trials concluded on the weekend of the 29-30 August. A report on the trials and lessons learned, as well as proposals for the future is being prepared. Footfall in both Henry Street and Grafton Street remains below pre-COVID levels but was recovering steadily, at least until recent weeks.
Improvements have continued in transforming the South Anne Street:
2.2. Protected Cycle Facilities, Contra-Flow Facilities, Cycle Parking and ‘Filtered Permeability’
The Grangegorman filtered permeability trial will continue until at least the 31 Jan 2021 following approval by Elected Members at the September 2020 Central Area Committee Meeting. A further report on the trial will be presented to the January Area meeting. We will continue to receive feedback on this trial at email@example.com with ‘Grangegorman’ in the subject bar. Thanks for all your feedback so far.
The Pigeon House Road filtered permeability measures continues to be monitored by City Council staff. All feedback on this trial should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Pigeon House Road’ in the subject bar.
Design work is progressing and almost complete on a contra flow cycle track on Parnell Square East linking O’Connell Street to North Frederick Street.
Designs for phase 1 of a cycle route on Werburgh Street and Castle Street, including a contra flow, are available for comment on our Consultation Hub. Work continues on the development of the next phase which involves a link towards Bride Street. This phase requires more extensive works and details of this will be made available when ready.
A preliminary design is nearing completion for two pedestrian crossings at the Mountjoy Gardiner Street junction and these will be available to view shortly.
Constitution Hill will be resurfaced by Road Maintenance over the coming weeks and once completed protected cycle tracks will be put in place along both sides with the road layout adjusted.
The Government stimulus package is funding a number of road resurfacing contracts and work is on-going to design new road layouts, including protected cycle ways where appropriate, once the resurfacing works are complete.
A report on the consultation on the change of Bye Laws for speed limits in the city making 30km/h the default speed limit was presented to the SPC and is on the agenda for the City Council meeting on 14 September for decision of the Elected Members.
The protection of cycle facilities got underway this week on the Harold’s Cross route between the canals and Bride Road.
Strand Road Trial Rapid Deployment Cycle Route
The public consultation process on the proposed scheme, which commenced on Friday 21 August has received over 1,600 submissions to date. There is both strong support for and opposition to the scheme. This phase of consultation will run until 14 September. However, as we have received a large number of proposed changes to the scheme, as well as requests for additional measures to mitigate adverse impacts associated with diverted traffic further consultation using the Consultation Hub will take place over the next couple of weeks to ensure any revisions to the scheme or other traffic management measures proposed are clearly communicated to the public, before a decision is made on the proposed scheme.
Dublin City Council is updating information on the Consultation Hub to provide clarification and as additional information comes to hand. The City Council is committed to looking at improvements which can be made in the area as part of this trial including complementary traffic management measures, which will help to address local concerns. Additional traffic counts and monitoring is being put in place to allow us to more accurately capture the changed traffic patterns across this area and this will be used to inform the modelling work that is underway. The results of this modelling work will be put on the Consultation Hub as soon as it is completed.
2.3. School Mobility Programme
Following the implementation of two new School Zones and subsequent invitations to all primary level schools in the Dublin City Council administrative area, to complete a survey if they were interested in having a school zone installed at their school, we received 50 requests. The COVID Mobility Technical Team are assessing all submissions for suitability and schools will be contacted with timelines, if it is deemed an appropriate intervention at that location.
The Team is also assessing the implementation of bespoke solutions for a number of other schools in the City Council area. We are awaiting delivery of school cycle parking stands, after which we will deliver to all schools who have requested this measure.
We continue to update our webpage, Make the School Gate Safe, Tips and Resources, to assist schools in creating a safer school gate environment and to promote and increase active travel to school.
Griffith Avenue – Safe Routes to School & College
Work continues on the Griffith Avenue 3.5km protected cycle facility. Details of the scheme is available on the Consultation Hub,
We have received extensive comments and suggestions to date via our COVID Mobility Email, all of which is being reviewed by the COVID Mobility Team. Much of the of correspondence received to date highlights concerns that the implementation of the proposals will greatly reduce the amount of space available for parents dropping off and collecting children from the schools along the route. The main aim of this scheme is to provide protected, safe and continuous cycling for all ages and abilities along this route and in particular to enable students of the numerous educational establishments to cycle to school and college and reduce vehicle congestion at school gates. We will therefore be engaging with the schools along this route over the coming weeks and months to discuss active travel initiatives and options.
2.4 Outdoor Areas/Business Liaison
In addition to the temporary permits issued for the Grafton Street Area – Weekend Pedestrian Friendly Trials, 31 temporary street furniture permits have been issued citywide with a further 13 approved and awaiting return of application form/insurance. 18 are awaiting further information, 75 are closed as they are not suitable and 2 are currently with the Public Spaces Working Group for final approval. Fifty-seven additional applications can be accommodated, but only if additional on-street interventions are implemented.
The COVID Mobility webpage, www.dublincity.ie/COVID-19mobilityprogramme is being updated regularly to keep the general public informed of COVID-19 mobility interventions. As previously advised we will be making more extensive use of the DCC consultation hub also in order to provide more information on measures.
3.2 DCC Consultation Hub/Citizen Space
In order to address the concerns raised by the Elected Members and by members of the public regarding consultation and prior notification of changes, while also trying to ensure that the multiple requests received across the city can be speedily addressed we will be making more extensive use of the DCC Consultation Hub. This allows us to provide details of upcoming schemes major interventions and provide a method for us to receive suggestions and concerns regarding any proposals.
Details of schemes on the consultation hub at present include
Werburgh Street and Castle Street, https://consultation.dublincity.ie/traffic-and-transport/werburgh-street-cycle-route-phase-1/
The consultation on the Grafton Street Area Weekend Pedestrian Trials concluded on 2 September.
Each week we will alert Members to any new proposals which are available to view on the Consultation Hub and aim to have a more dynamic process for ensuring that support for projects, suggestions for how to improve and concerns and issues which may need to addressed can be better handled. Any feedback on this approach is welcome.
3.3 Dedicated COVID-19 Mobility Measure Request Form
In the past week, we have received 46 new requests for COVID Mobility Measures. This brings the total number of COVID Mobility requests to 3,650. A breakdown of these requests is given below:
3.4 COVID-19 Mobility E-mail
The dedicated e-mail address continues as the primary channel to contact the COVID Mobility Team. It is attracting huge volumes of queries and feedback. The intention is that the e-mail is for general queries and the COVID-19 Mobility Request Form should be used for specific requests at specific locations.
3.5 Councillor Updates
Updates on COVID-19 mobility measures are issued on a weekly basis to Elected Members. Updates via e-mail are also being issued to stakeholders via the Transport SPC and the NTA accessibility network.
3.6 Social Media
We are continuing to utilise Dublin City Council Social Media Channels:
• to highlight COVID-19 mobility measures that have been implemented;
• to encourage the public to walk or cycle, where possible;
• to encourage social distancing as people move around the city and
• to encourage more respect for vulnerable road users
3.7 Active Travel Promotion Campaign
Bike Week, which takes place from 19 to 27 September is a celebration and promotion of all that’s great about bikes and cycling. Held over an extended week each year, with bike themed events organised by local authorities, community groups and cycling groups throughout Ireland. As part of Dublin City Council’s Bike Week campaign, Active Travel Promotion Posters went live on Bus Shelters and Digi Panels around the City on Sunday promoting an Active Commute to work and to school.
During Bike Week we will also be using our social media channels to promote all things cycling including: the number of new protected cycle routes in the city; the diverse benefits of cycling, both on an individual and societal level.
‘8 Reasons you should get on your bike’, is a new promotional video by Dublin City Junior Bicycle Mayor; promoting cycling initiatives in the city including School Cycle Buses and the Monthly Cycles. There will also be an inclusive Active Mobility Webinar. In addition, Smart Dublin will launch a cycle buddy app during Bike Week to help support new cyclists to navigate their way around the city safely.
A number of Bike Week activities, planned in schools and communities and with DCC staff, will proceed if possible subject to COVID-19 Government Guidelines.
We also continue to evolve our Active Travel Campaign in collaboration with key strategic partners (e.g. NTA Smarter Travel, Healthy Ireland, Green- Schools and third level institutions).
Owen P Keegan
Arbour Hill, Ballybough, Broadstone, Church Street, City Centre, Clonliffe Road, Constitution Hill, Drumcondra, Dublin City Council, East Wall, Fine Gael, Grangegorman, Markets, Montpelier, North Circular Road, North Strand, North Wall, Phibsborough, Quays, Rathdown Road, Smithfield, Stoneybatter, Transportation
Fine Gael Councillor - North Inner City
Chair, Urban Form & Planning Strategic Policy Committee