Fri, Mar 12, 2021
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Today (12th March 2021) is the deadline for public submissions on the Phoenix Park Transport and Mobility Options Study. My submission is below. I'd encourage you all to make your own views know on the future of transport in the park. It's easy to do - you don't need to write an essay. You can copy as much or as little of my submission as you would like.
The Phoenix Park Transport and Mobility Options Study documentation can be found here
There is an online form to make your view known or you can just email it to email@example.com (being sure to include your name and address)
We are broadly in agreement with the Movement Principles and Sustainable Objectives outlined in the report. These Principles and Objectives are open to some interpretation and/or qualification. We would like to flag a number of points in relation to the Principles and Objectives:
We feel that an implication of this principle is that there be no material additional construction within the park, specifically the addition of new car parking spaces. Any new car parking spaces should be temporary with a stated fixed removal date or a reposition/reconfiguration of existing parking spaces.
The single most common piece of feedback we have received is that access to the park should be retained for people who are required to drive to the park e.g. the elderly, persons with disabilities, etc. For the avoidance of doubt we absolutely support the goal of encouraging more sustainable modes of transport into the park for all and the reduction of commuter traffic through the park.
We acknowledge that there is little point in shifting car traffic from the Phoenix Park to surrounding communities, especially where infrastructure in those communities is already strained. That said the concept of reduced demand (the inverse effect of induced demand) needs to be recognised. Traffic volume is not a zero sum game, reducing volume though the park will reduce overall volumes.
Our view is that the goal should be to eliminate commuter traffic from the park. We appreciate that it will not happen overnight but that should nonetheless be the goal.
We are broadly in favour of the Preferred Strategy that includes:
It is a good starting point. That said we are disappointed that the phasing of parts of the plan are 5-10 years away. We hope that these timelines can be reviewed to generate more near term deliverables.
As mentioned above, access to the park should be retained for people who are required to drive to the park e.g. the elderly, persons with disabilities, etc. As such we would like to see more disabled person’s parking bays in the park. In addition the OPW should consider senior parking spaces i.e. spaces that are designated for elderly park users but not mandated as such as seen in other countries .
There is anecdotal evidence that the car parking spaces in the park are being used by people who are then travelling on to city centre locations. This may increase when the bus service is operational which may see the park being used as a park and ride facility. Some controls on the duration of time a car may be parked in the park for free need to be introduced. The average visit time to Dublin Zoo or some parking validation method for Dublin Zoo visitors would need to be considered when formulating any such controls.
Somewhat related there needs to be encouragement and enforcement of adherence to responsible parking. Too often the grass of the park is turned into an impromptu parking lot.
The OPW should consider technological means to monitor the traffic entering and exiting the park with a view to having a near real time view of volume of traffic using the park - traffic mix, through traffic, traffic entry/exit points by gate, car park occupancy, etc. Without such information it will be difficult to make informed decisions into the future.
This of course would need to be done in a privacy compliant manner.
We feel the addition of a bus route through the park is an excellent idea to help move visitors to a more sustainable mode of transport. A previous shuttle bus to the park was unsuccessful but more recently shuttle buses to events like Bord Bia Bloom have been well used. We hope the OPW uses learnings from all previous bus implementations to make sure this implementation is a success.
We would ask that the OPW review the number and location of the stops on the proposed route.
It is assumed that the bus would be a standard route on the Dublin Bus network e.g. avail of the same ticketing.
Ideally the bus servicing the park would be an electric bus. Prior to the delivery of electric buses  one of the hybrid buses would be preferred.
The OPW should consider what opportunities exist for park and ride parking along the bus route for visitors who are coming from further afield.
While we welcome a shuttle bus designed to serve the park, the park should not become a through route for other bus services. It is a park not a motorway.
The park needs to be accessible for all. That requires that people feel safe walking in the park during the times of the year when it gets dark very early. The OPW should investigate lighting some of the main arteries in the park so that they are safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
Consideration needs to be given to wildlife in the park. The roads in question are already generally busy with motor traffic. Wildlife friendly lighting is already being deployed by councils e.g. bat friendly public lighting was planned along the Dodder Greenway by South Dublin County Council. There is a balance to be struck between the two concerns of wildlife protection and pedestrian/cyclist safety.
As mentioned previously, many of the visitors to the park are mobility impaired or travelling with a young family. The OPW should review the quantity and positioning of benches in the park to provide suitable rest points for pedestrians.
In order that the car parks that are available in the park are used to their full capacity the OPW should consider mechanisms to allow visitors plan their visit including:
We note Dublin Zoo’s desire to see more sustainable transport modes used to access the park. We also recognise that Dublin Zoo’s customer base is primarily young families and that the change to more sustainable transport modes will take more time for such groups. We support Dublin Zoo’s request for adequate parking to service its customer base so long as that does not result in the construction of new, permanent car parks.
The OPW should review the number of public toilets available in the park. More facilities would make the park more accessible to those with medical conditions requiring more frequent access to toilets and to those with small children.
We welcome the introduction of more pedestrian crossings in the park. We hope that the OPW gives priority to pedestrians at these crossings e.g. through the use of zebra crossings or controlled crossings that are significantly favoured toward pedestrians.
We welcome the application of a 30kph speed limit to all of the park. We hope that the OPW has concrete plans on the enforcement of such a limit. Otherwise such a limit will have little real impact.
The OPW should consider making the Islandbridge gate bi-directional to allow the closure of Wellington Road to cars. This would:
As a gradual means of moving to gate closures the OPW should consider placing time constraints on the gates e.g. so that the gates are closed at evening times.
The OPW should review the necessity of having two main entrances open in both directions within 600 metres of one another i.e. North Circular Rd. & Parkgate St.