BusConnects: Our summary view on the bus spines converging in Dublin South Central: Templeogue Area

We support the Bus Corridors for Rathfarnham to City Centre and Kimmage to City Centre

Summary: Residential concerns around traffic valid but should diminish somewhat with cumulative effect of new bus services, bus gates and priority signalling, all of which will disincentivise car usage.

However, a lack of additional orbital routes, additional bus frequency (on some routes), adequate park & ride provisions, and direct, continuous cycling infrastructure for locals remain the missing piece.

future of dublin

Since deciding that Dublin Bus would be the “workhorse” of the city’s public transit system, the onus falls on the NTA, not private citizens to properly fund additional services and ensure all residents are within 500m of at least one connected bus route. Higher numbers on public transport means less congestion for those who really need to drive.

The number of kilometres driven in Ireland has continued to grow over the years despite the so called climate crisis.

Source: Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and National Car Test Service

Proposals for Bus Gates* next to KCR and Terenure Library (inbound only) and residential turn-bans are being met with considerable concern.

*Note: A Bus Gate (such as the one at College Green), is a length of street that effectively creates a shortcut for buses that reduces travelling time for passengers by removing through traffic. These have been proposed for Kimmage Rd Lower, Rathmines Road and Templeogue Rd (inbound only)

Existing measures proposed under BusConnects:

  • Traffic re-directions disadvantage driving over bus modes which disincentivize car usage.
  • Further safer cycling provision will further increase cycling rates and decrease vehicle numbers.
  • Bus Gates and priority signalling

Further measures we suggest should be implemented:

  • Park & Ride facilities between M50 and Templeogue (e.g Spawell) to reduce traffic spillover
  • An S5 orbital route which will help reduce traffic congestion.
  • Addition of outbound cycling infrastructure at Terenure Place* (Rathdown Motors intersection).

  • Connected, path-segregated, continuous cycling infrastructure e.g on Templeville Road.
  • Exploration of radial F4** route below.
  • Congestion charges at the canals could be explored with a view to relaxing Bus Gate operation.

*The outbound cycle lane at Terenure Place will require land take to ensure that it is not sharing with vehicular traffic. The current shared lane is unsafe for cyclists. The new section will link up with the planned outbound cycle lane which commences immediately after on Templeogue Road.

**Exploration of an additional F4 spine route from Wainsfort Road to Cherry Orchard. The decision to bring a replacement route down Wainsfort Road will also provide Wainsfort/College residents with better services.

Note: Upcoming F Spine routes are due to terminate at Dawson Street/Stephens Green.

A Note: The proposed Bus Gate at Rathmines is likely to provide a further disincentive to drivers looking to travel towards Rathmines/City Centre. A driver at Terenure Village would be incentivised to turn left towards Harold’s Cross, avoiding Rathmines completely. For drivers coming from Templeogue, the likely direction of travel is to turn right onto Dodder Road after driving through Templeogue Village, avoiding the Templeville/Fortfield rat-run entirely.

Public transport is among the most direct ways to reduce congestion, if done in the right way. The key is making sure that the layout of a public transport system makes access to mass transit easy for a high fraction of people in any city [4]Buchanan, Mark – Nature Physics.

Those that argue against the Bus Gate say that outside of “peak” hours, there are no material delays to buses. But this is simply not true. Bus users can observe that even at non-peak times a small number of cars causes significant delays on this space constrained stretch of route, particularly for those commuting from other suburbs. This happens on weekends as well as weekdays and is a significant deterrent for encouraging behavioural change amongst the general public.

Templeogue Village: Drivers heading towards City Centre from Templeogue Village are most likely to turn right here under current plans as this provides the fastest route for them to the city.

Rathmines: Drivers unable to proceed past this point in either direction.

Case Study: Terenure College BTR Proposal
A recent public meeting in the suburb of Terenure/Templeogue, focused on a contentious and controversial development proposal on lands recently sold by Terenure College. The meeting was a well-intentioned and productive session that focused on issues such as the Build-To-Rent aspect, drainage and building height. The other crux issue? Parking….
The vast majority of the attendees who spoke mentioned concerns about traffic spillover, parking capacity and neighbourhood rat-runs. Most made the same underlying assumption: everybody who lives here is going to drive. For despite being located just a mere 6km from the GPO, the public transport options are relatively poor. The issues of improving or adding new public transit routes or reducing car dependence were barely mentioned at the near 2 hour long event.

One of the underappreciated parts of BusConnects is how this project is a massive opportunity to reallocate public space away from transport towards public realm. Places like Terenure Village are simply unattractive for pedestrians due to the existing “highway effect” of SUV’s and constant traffic flows.

The Irish transport system is car dependent by design, is high in greenhouse gas emissions and does not support improved well-being.” — OECD 2022 report

Findings reveal that the reduction of car dependence is possible in both urban and rural locations, with local input to decisions crucial to success.

Improved public realm at Templeogue Village
Missing pedestrian island at Morgue Pub Templeogue Village
Cyclist yielding
to crossing pedestrians -NTA cycling manual
, Sep 2023

SDCC Templeogue Village Improvement Scheme was able to reclaim road-space for better public realm, its shortcomings mostly a result of on-street parking accommodation and planning delays to the associated BusConnects corridor.

Ireland’s transport emissions despite our disproportionately large agricultural output still count for a staggering 20% of our emissions, further increasing another 6% in 2022. Private car travel remains the biggest contributor to this figure. We must remember that the best solution to reduce traffic, particularly in a climate crisis is to provide for further public transport services, not blocking and delaying existing efforts to improve passenger mobility throughout the city.

Access to Terenure Village was cited as a primary concern for many residents. The absence of community led planning for commercial developments in recent years has further complicated this. The addition of large Lidl and Aldi chains to Terenure village with their large parks has added to the congestion of the village centre. Now, the very presence of such outlets is causing residents to protest over access issues to trips such as “the weekly shop”. Village centres are supposed to be primarily for active communities, not large cars accessing car-parks. There is a hard reality that some local residents still need to accept that living in a suburban village requires compromise. Ease of access to “the weekly shop” for the few does not override the need to facilitate more sustainable community spaces and transport corridors for the many. This conflict of interest underscores the problem with providing for large retail-park style outlets in village centres. Ultimately, it encourages the wrong type of behaviour and unsustainable mobility and shopping patterns for our urban villages which are already constrained in terms of road-space.

The section of the corridor from Terenure to Rathgar will now suffer a loss of cycling facilities to accommodate side-by-side traffic and bus lanes in each direction. The plans have clearly frustrated a lot of road users and not just motorists. As one regular cyclist wrote recently in the Irish Examiner:

If you want to tie a ribbon around a sycamore tree and light a candle over its possible demise, please do so knowing that someone might die at this very spot in the future because they were cycling on the road and not on a segregated cycle lane. 

You don’t love a tree more than someone else loves a person.

The Secret Cyclist, Irish Examiner

It´s hard not to see their point although we would personally argue that adhering to the sustainable transport hierarchy would mitigate having to make such a choice in many cases. Take the stretch of road between Aldi Terenure and Rathgar for example. It is set to lose existing cycling facilities under the latest revised plans despite a widening of the road. Given the introduction of the Bus Gate at Terenure Village, some combination of inbound bus priority signalling and a shared bus/traffic lane for this limited stretch could have perhaps saved a key dedicated cycle lane here without the loss of additional trees.

Across Ireland’s National and Regional Roads networks, a significant portion of trips that people make are of short duration. In total, some 49% of trips are of 15 minutes duration or less. The report stated that the Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) for the M50 eFlow Toll in 2021 was 123,667 trips. The traffic data also shows that of the journeys made across the Grand Canal at peak morning hours (e.g at Portobello), over 90% tend to come from the M50 or within it’s boundary rather than outside of it.

Whilst these are some rather depressing stats, they also indicate that even minor but well planned improvements in Dublin´s residential public transport network could have a very significant effect in reducing overall traffic flows.

In an ideal world, public consultation would take local or user knowledge to enhance a project.  What tends to actually happen is that people who don’t like the project use it as an opportunity to stop the project or parts of the project. 

The Secret Cyclist, Irish Examiner

The Governments Climate Action Plan sets out the following objectives in relation to transport:

  • Cut transport emissions by 50%
  • Change the way we use our road space
  • Reduce the total distance driven across all car journeys by 20%
  • Deliver 35 walking, cycling and public transport Pathfinder Projects around the country by 2025
  • Continue to enhance accessible public transport services
  • Invest circa €11 billion on new public transport infrastructure

With regards to Network Redesign, it is clear that additional bus services need to put in place. That means additional new bus routes including orbital services, better frequency,more bus shelters etc…

With regards to the Sustainable Transport Corridors, in the road constraint trade-off between the three most general choices:

  1. Re-prioritization of traffic modes (priority signalling, bus gates, one-way systems etc..)
  2. Road-widening (increased provision of traffic lanes requiring land-take)
  3. Doing nothing

It is clear that option 1 is the only option which can fulfill the goals of reducing our emissions and improving public transport without inducing further demand with option 2 coming into play in limited circumstances where re-prioritization has fallen short due to constraints. Consequently, we should not be arguing about whether to make changes to our road usage, but rather, what are the best methods to do so…

Note: It has come to our attention that the NTA have added in a right-turn ban from Fortfield Road onto Greenlea Road. This is not necessary as non-local traffic is actually unlikely to use Greenlea Road as a rat-run. Viewed collectively, it is much more likely that traffic coming from the M50 will turn down Springfield Avenue/Dodder Road to access Terenure village as this is the most direct route to town via Harold´s Cross. To help limit traffic impacts on this road we have proposed an S5 orbital service on RR12 (Walkinstown to Dundrum), park and ride services amongst other suggestions.

Bord Pleanála Case Reference: KA29N.316377 Templeogue/Rathfarnham to City Centre, Co. Dublin

Next Steps:

1. Leave us a comment below and/or copy this link and share on social media, local community groups etc…

2. Email it to the BusConnects team directly at info@nationaltransport.ie indicating your desire for the proposals to be considered
. You may wish to address that NTA’s main point that the country cannot afford to run/maintain extra bus services beyond the proposed plans.

See also: Our BusConnects FAQ

If you would like to donate to Médecins Sans Frontières: Mediterranean search and rescue please click here

Next Up: Restoring the 2011 Aircoach route from Ballinteer/Terenure to Dublin Airport

Final note: Our organisation understands that not all journeys can be made by bus or public transport and wish to remind our readers again that nobody is suggesting this. These all-or-nothing fallacies are common. Statements like “We can´t all take the bus”, “Public transport is not reliable” etc.. are valid. We all know these issues exist and that there is some fear and mistrust towards the institutions tasked with resolving these issues. However, we have also seen that this mindset can drown out the possibility of having real productive discussion about imagining solutions for a cleaner more connected city. We encourage our readers not to fall for these patterns of thinking. We also understand (and there is data supporting it) that there are a significant minority of road users in Dublin who rarely ever use public transport and some who, more importantly, are opposed to using it at all.

Colm

Colm is a Madrid based QA Engineer from Terenure with a passion for sustainable transport. Amongst his motivations for this project, he would like to see Ireland achieve a 'very high' rating in the annual Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), an independent monitoring tool for tracking countries’ climate protection performance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *