Monthly Archive for February, 2014

Update regarding Street Lights on Mill Road, Blanchardstown

I was in touch with Fingal County Council and at my request they have repaired the two broken streetlights on Mill Road on either side of the N3 underpass.

I’ll continue to pursue the National Roads Authority about the broken light in the underpass itself and Connolly Hospital about the lights within their own grounds.

Bus Rapid Transit for Dublin 15: Public Consultation

The National Transport Authority are now undertaking a public consultation on Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes across Dublin. One of these would go from Ongar in D15, down the N3, across the city centre and over to UCD.

The plans for the Ongar – UCD route can be seen online here and are on public display at the Fingal CC offices at the Blanchardstown Town Centre. The NTA are making members of their project team available on Tuesday 25th Feb between 2 – 5pm to meet with members of the public.

Public submissions can be made here until 5pm on Tuesday 18th March.

Phoenix Park to Blanchardstown cycle lane

Fingal County Council are currently undertaking a public consultation on their proposal to develop a bicycle lane running from the Phoenix Park gates to Blanchardstown Garda Station, which will pass through Blanchardstown and Castleknock villages.

The detail of the plan can be seen in the Fingal CC offices in the Blanchardstown Town Centre or you can access them online here. The main features include:

1. The construction of new cycle tracks and improved pedestrian facilities along the route.

2. The removal of some elements of the bus lane through Blanchardstown village and the upgrading of existing bus stops.

3. The removal of some parking spaces along Blanchardstown Main Street.

4. A 30kph speed limit zone along Blanchardstown Main Street between the entrance to Ramor Park and the junction with the River Road.

5. A new crossing point over the old Navan Road between the Bell Pub and the Woods End apartments

6. Widening of the footpath along the Granard Bridge towards Castleknock Train Station, an underpass for those using the Royal Canal and the provision of two pedestrian/cyclist bridges paralleling the western side of Castleknock Road.

7. Landscaping works and tree planting along the route to replace some trees that will be removed, including a number along the Castleknock Road at Laurel Lodge.

The deadline for public submissions is 5.00pm Thursday 13th March 2014. Please send your submission to ‘Senior Executive  Officer,           Planning       & Strategic Infrastructure Department, Fingal County Council, Main Street, Swords, Co Dublin’ or e-mail devplan@fingal.ie.

While the overall scheme of the proposal is positive, there may be elements that need to be fine tuned in light of public views. If you are planning to make a submission, I would appreciate if you could send me a copy of your views at rodericogorman@gmail.com

Update on Porterstown Road

Last week, I wrote to Minister Varadkar and asked him to make public information he had spoken about in local media where he stated that the Porterstown Road level crossing is the 54th most dangerous in the country.

Minister Varadkar has provided myself and other local representative with the relevant information from Irish Rail, which you can see below.

My thanks to the Minister for responding quickly.

Irish Rail – Porterstown Safety Record

Street lighting along Mill Road in urgent need of repair

Recently, I’ve had some concerns raised with me about the lack of lighting between the Waterville Estate and Blanchardstown village, along the Mill Road. The situation is particularly bad around the bus stops in the grounds of Connolly Hospital and where the road crosses the Tolka river and beneath the N3 underpass.

I have identified four street lights that are currently not working on this stretch of road. Further, two of the four lights in the underpass below the N3 are also not functioning. I been in touch with Fingal County Council and they will undertake repairs on those lights within their jurisdiction. I’ve also contacted Airtricity, which deals with public lighting in this area, and highlighted with them that lights are out of operation. I will continue to pursue them until the lights are repaired.

Mill Road is used by many people walking between Waterville and Blanchardstown village or to Connolly Hospital. Now that it has been blocked to car traffic at the entrance to the hospital, it can be somewhat isolated. It is vital that these streets lights are repaired so people can feel confident travelling in this area.

Why is Dublin 15 getting such a small allocation of e-car charge points?

Prior to Christmas, I raised some questions regarding why no public e-car charge points had been provided in the Dublin 15 area, while they were being put in place in other parts of Fingal. The ESB is providing this infrastructure for county councils and it was disappointing that Fingal County Council was not pursuing any for Dublin 15.

At a meeting of the Fingal County Council Transport Strategic Policy Committee last month, it was confirmed that 2 such charge points would be provided in Dublin 15.

While I welcome the fact that Fingal County Council is finally providing space for public charge points in the Dublin 15 area, it strikes me as strange that of the 12 new public charge points being provided, only 2 are being allocated here. This compares with 4 in the Howth/Malahide area and 6 in the Balbriggan area. This does not seem to reflect the number of people that Dublin 15 represents in relation to the overall population of Fingal.

E-cars are going to become a growing part of the transport mix in Dublin and across the country. We need to provide users with the necessary infrastructure to ensure this will be successful. I’ll continue to campaign for the increased roll-out of these charge points across Dublin 15.

Varadkar must publish any evidence that Porterstown level crossing is dangerous

Last week, the Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar made a claim in the Blanch Gazette that the Porterstown Road level crossing is the 59th most dangerous in the country. I’ve written to Minister Varadkar to ask him make the information upon which this figure is based available to the public. I think this is important, as it will allow the public and local representatives assess the information in making their decision on the level crossing.

The proposal to close the Porterstown Road, which so far has not been backed up by any evidence from Irish Rail or the National Transport Agency, has caused major upset for residents living along the road and in the wider Clonsilla area. This was demonstrated by the near unanimous opposition to the proposal at the public meeting I attended on the 25th November in St. Mochta’s NS.

If there are safety concerns, these are absolutely relevant to the decision. However, these need to be published so the public can see and assess any available evidence related to safety. This will allow the local community and in turn their elected representatives on Fingal County Council make an informed decision. It is not good enough for Minister Varadkar to make a comment about safety to a local news paper and just leave it at that.

I feel that Irish Rail and the National Transport Authority have gone about this entire process in the wrong way. Rather than meeting the local community and explaining their concerns about the level crossing, they have employed a totally top down approach which seems to be an attempt to avoid any engagement with the public. Both agencies need to completely rethink how they interact with local communities in the future.

I hope Minister Varadkar will publish the specific report in which Porterstown is listed as the 59th most dangerous level crossing in the country and that he makes this available to all elected representatives in the Dublin 15 area and to the local group that opposes the closure of the crossing.

Proposed Bus Rapid Transit route is good news for Dublin 15 – Could spare buses be redeployed on the 39 route?

I welcome the proposal that was covered in the media yesterday to create a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route between between Dublin 15 and UCD. The concept suggests long single decker buses that would have a dedicated priority lane, automatic ticketing and signal priority at junctions. The new buses would be able to take about 125 commuters per trip. The National Transport Authority is soon going to seek planning permission for the first of such routes, from Swords to the City Centre.

The details on the proposed Dublin 15 route is still unclear, but they suggest that it would go from UCD in the southside, through the city centre, out to the Blanchardstown Town Centre and then onto Ongar. As such, it would mirror much of the existing route of the 39A. Obviously, this route serves a highly populated area, whose residents would benefit from such a new and improved service.

If such a service was introduced, it would probably reduce the need for the ‘normal’ double decker buses on the existing 39A route. I would strongly support that some of these buses would be redeployed onto the current 39 route. I have previously argued that the 39 route has been cut back too much, which has left people living in Blanchardstown village and along the Clonsilla Road without a good service during the day time. As such, the creation of a BRT route along the 39A could also have the benefit of allowing more regular services on the 39 route.

Ill post more when further details are available.