Throughout this local election campaign, the potential closure of level crossings across Dublin 15 has been a significant concern for people.
In order to find out exactly what is planned for the area, I put in a freedom of information request to the National Transport Authority looking for any documents relating to the closure of the Coolmine level crossing. The information that has been released to me is significant, as it reveals Irish Rail’s long terms plans for the level crossings in the area (Freedom of Information Act does not currently apply to Irish Rail, but I have the relevant information now anyway!).
The two reports obtained were entitled ‘Maynooth Rail Line Upgrade – Traffic Implications Report’ carried out for Fingal County Council in 2012 and ‘Maynooth Line Urban Level Crossings – NTA Briefing Document’ carried out for Irish Rail in late 2011.
The Traffic Implication report sets out a number of scenarios regarding increased traffic blockages in Dublin 15 if the level crossings are not addressed in the medium term. It also outlines out a range of options where various combinations of the existing level crossing are shut down and some are replaced by new bridging points.
The Briefing Document from the NTA shows that specific options have been considered for each of the level crossings in the area. It includes the proposals to close the Porterstown Road crossing, which were recently delayed by Fingal County Council. It also includes drawings for a new bridge across the Royal Canal and railway line between the St. Mochtas estate and Luttrell Park/Riverwood estates which would replace the current Coolmine level crossing. A pedestrian bridge would also be build over the existing level crossing.
The information was released to me in hard copy, but I am happy to make them available to anyone who wishes to inspect them.
The recent attempts by Irish Rail to close the Porterstown level crossing have been completely mishandled. Instead of releasing all the relevant information and having a wider discussion about traffic in the Dublin 15 area, Irish Rail tried to get Fingal County Council to slip the closure through unnoticed. I am making this information available as I believe that the people of Dublin 15 need to know what are the options available to them regarding traffic and transport in the area. This debate is vital for the long term sustainability of our community, and it should be held out in the option, not just within the Fingal Council chamber.