Last night, OPW Minister, Patrick O’Donovan T.D. published the Phoenix Park Transport and Mobility Options Report.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, recreational use of the Phoenix Park increased significantly prompting the establishment of a Steering Group comprising four organisations; the Office of Public Works (OPW), National Transport Authority, Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council to guide the development of transport and mobility options for all users of the Phoenix Park.
Since its establishment last summer, the Group has worked to identify the optimal transport and mobility options for all users of the Park while minimising the impact on the surrounding communities. The report aims to address the competing pressures on the Park in a managed and considered way, and to facilitate public consultation with this process before any final transport and mobility options are put in place.
The Report is based on a set of core principles;
– to protect the biodiversity of the Park, to recognise the Park’s function as a recreation site for people,
– to encourage more sustainable transport solutions,
– to seek to reduce commuter traffic, to liaise with a wide range of interested parties and to ensure all decisions are evidence based.
These principles will underpin any future solutions and changes to transport and mobility issues in the Phoenix Park.
The Phoenix Park Transport and Mobility Options Report makes a number of key recommendations including the following:-
o Prioritise pedestrian infrastructure including the upgrade of over 7km of footpaths along with strategic pedestrian crossing points on Chesterfield Avenue and other key locations throughout the Park, including the Gate entrances.
o Expand and upgrade the cycle network within the Park and linkages to the external networks to facilitate all cycling users. This will involve the creation of 14km of new cycle lanes and the upgrade of over 17kms of existing cycle lanes within the Park and at Park entrances.
o Traffic will be reduced on the North Road and the Upper Glen Road so as to improve the amenities in these areas. In the medium to long term, vehicular restriction will be introduced at Cabra, Ashtown and Knockmaroon Gates.
o In the short to medium term a bus service will be introduced for Dublin Zoo and the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre, serving all areas along this route and linking to Heuston Station and Broombridge Luas Station.
o The speed limit will be set at 30kph with a review of parking and byelaws being recommended.
o It is recommended that the traffic restrictions proposed for the upper Glen Road and the North Road be piloted along with traffic data collection in the short term.
The Report takes account of the way pedestrians, cyclists, recreation users and commuters interact with and utilise the Park. In this context, the Report considered a range of options. The emerging preferred option is to reposition the Phoenix Park as an important natural resource for the citizens of Dublin and further afield while seeking to reduce through traffic over the medium to long term. This preferred option would significantly improve pedestrian and cycling safety while also providing more sustainable transport options for those working in the Park and accessing its visitor attractions and amenities.
The public consultation will commence on January 29th, 2021 and a further notification will be issued in advance of this date. The consultation will remain open for public input for six weeks, until 12th March 2021.
When the consultation process begins, I’ll share more details with you as to how you can have your say on this report. In the mean time, if you’ve any questions or queries about the report or the process involved, please get in touch with me at RayMcAdam@gmail.com.
Fine Gael Councillor - North Inner City
Leader, Fine Gael, Dublin City Council
Chair, Urban Form & Planning Strategic Policy Committee