Summary: Residential concerns around traffic valid but should diminish somewhat with cumulative effect of new bus services, bus gates and priority signalling 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.
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 to replace 150 route.
- 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 Rossmore which will have no bus service after BusConnects after the loss of the 150 route. 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  —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. The following video is an example of typical traffic levels on a Saturday morning in mid-May 2019.
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.
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.
SDCC Templeogue Village Improvement Scheme was able to reclaim road-space for better public realm.
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.
Extra services along the R112 will help reduce car dependence and congestion on this route by providing connectivity that was not there before.
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.
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:
- Re-prioritization of traffic modes (priority signalling, bus gates, one-way systems etc..)
- Road-widening (increased provision of traffic lanes requiring land-take)
- Doing nothing
It is clear that option 1 is the only option which can fulfil 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-prioritisation 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 on Fortfield Road onto Greenlea Road. This is not necessary as non-local traffic is unlikely to use Greenlea Road as a rat-run. 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.