Following the publication by the OPW Minister, Patrick O’Donovan T.D. of the recommendations from the Phoenix Park Transport and Mobility Options Study last summer, I have continued to seek updates on the implementation of same from the Minister and his officials.
In recent days, Minister O’Donovan has shared with me a progress report on Phase 1 projects (covering years 0-2). The key point the Minister made to me was that new safety measures arising from the Post Consultative Report, will commence on Monday 28th February 2022.
The following measures will be introduced, including;
- Implementation of 30kph speed limit throughout the Park.
- The pilot North Road one way system, in the city direction, to commence on the 28th February following the closure of this section of the North Road on the 21st February to facilitate line marking, instillation of bollard and directional signage etc. This pilot study will be for 9 months and will be subject to ongoing review.
- The pilot cul-de-sac on the Upper Glen Road will also come into effect from the 28th February following the closure of the road from the 21st February to allow for the instillation of bollards, signage and line marking etc. This pilot study will be for 9 months and will be subject to ongoing review.
- It should be noted that the instillation of the temporary bollards on Chesterfield Avenue Bike Lane will commence in early February.
Improvements for walking and cycling infrastructure:
- Installation of over 2.5km of re-laid footpaths along the North road which greatly improved the quality and alignment of the footpath surface.
- Dropped kerbs were installed at strategic points along the route to ensure universal access for all.
- A series of small local footpath upgrades have also taken place.
- Designs and planning for the 4.5km permanent one directional cycle lanes along Chesterfield Avenue, linking Castleknock to the city, are currently being developed with the National Transport Authority & Dublin City Council.
- In the interim, the tender has been awarded for the supply and installation of traffic lane separators for the entire length of Chesterfield Avenue, on both sides of the road. Works on site are due to commence in February 2022. Over 8km of temporary cones will be removed and these new durable and strong dividers will ensure a safer experience for both cyclists and vehicles using Chesterfield Avenue.
- In addition, over 40 new bike stands have been installed throughout the Park with an additional 70 planned for 2022.
Minister O’Donovan has further advised me that the OPW is currently preparing a 3-year programme of pedestrian and cycle improvements including infrastructure throughout the Park. I hope to have further information in respect of this initiative across the coming months.
Work is progressing on the introduction of a new bus route through the Phoenix Park. At present, the National Transport Authority is trialling bus options for the Park and they do hope to have recommendations shortly for the best options available to serve the Phoenix Park and surrounding areas.
A key recommendation of the Study was that a Parking Strategy be prepared in order to reduce the parking demand and traffic volumes at key attractions such as the Visitor Centre and Dublin Zoo, but also promote the switch to sustainable modes of travel to access the Park.
It is expected that the Parking Strategy will primarily be focused on:
- Measures related to visitor parking including bike parking
- Providing an emphasis for those visitors who have no other option than to use a car to visit the Park.
- Addressing the needs of those with mobility issues and their parking requirements.
- Tackling the issues of long stay commuter parking and illegal parking within the Park.
In parallel to these steps, I welcome the Minister’s indication to me that a secondary study area encompassing residential areas surrounding the park will also be considered when identifying and assessing the impacts of options to derive the overall Parking Strategy. This is a very important step given how the recommendations of the Mobility Study in the Phoenix Park could impact significantly on the Infirmary Road, Montpelier and Stoneybatter neighbourhoods in the North Inner City but also the adjoining areas of the Park including Blackhorse Avenue, Cabra and Castleknock. I believe the definitive project brief for the Parking Strategy has been finalised and the Minister will be making further progress on this shortly.
Implementation of 30km/hr Speed Limit:
The OPW and An Garda Siochana have been actively refining plans for the introduction of a 30kmph speed limit in the Park from 28 February 2022. A robust operations and communications plan will be put in place in advance of the reduction of speed limit from 50kph to 30kph. This measure should see a marked difference in driver behaviour making the Park a safer place for those using it for recreational purposes. An Garda Siochana will monitor compliance with the new speed limit and will take appropriate action when necessary.
The OPW has initiated a review of the legislation pertaining to the byelaws of the Phoenix Park with the Chief State Solicitor’s Office and other relevant Government departments, with regard to the regulation of traffic and parking within the Phoenix Park. A detailed communications plan is currently being finalised to provide the public with notice of the proposed changes to speed limit within the Park along with the commencement of pilot studies on 28th February. This will include provision of signage throughout the Park, messaging through digital and traditional communications platform along with direct engagement with internal and external park stakeholders.
As Chair of the Dublin Central Area Committee, I will be arranging for a further meeting with the OPW in advance of the initial safety measures coming into effect at the end of February, so that these measures are fully communicated locally but also to provide an opportunity for any outstanding issues to be addressed or additional clarification provided.
If you need any further information arising from the details outlined above, please get in touch with me at RayMcAdam@gmail.com.
Arbour Hill, Church Street, Climate Change, Constitution Hill, Cycling, environment, Fine Gael, Garda, Grangegorman, Health, Infirmary Road, Montpelier, North Circular Road, Policing, Quays, Rathdown Road, Stoneybatter, Transportation
Fine Gael Councillor - North Inner City
Chair, Urban Form & Planning Strategic Policy Committee