Liberties / Coombe Transport Issues

Transport and movement are key issues in the Liberties area. In addition to the traffic levels locally generated, the area is a major conduit to and from the city centre for greater metropolitan traffic. The Dublin Traffic Initiative (DTI) and the Dublin City Development Plan contains proposals for traffic infrastructure and management to counteract these problems. As a matter of policy it is proposed to reduce the attractiveness of commuting via private car and promote the greater use of public transport. This can be achieved by promoting alternative means of transport, in particular the promotion of:

  • Quality Bus Corridors (QBCs)
  • Cycle Routes
  • LUAS
  • Environmental Traffic Cells (ETCs)

The principal local transport issues and possible solutions are outlined below.

Local Transport Characteristics
In 1991 the most common means of transport was by foot, significantly above the city average. This was due to a low level of car ownership in the area and the proximity of the area to the city centre. The level of public transport usage was consistent with the city average. City bound traffic entering the area in morning peak hours has reached capacity. However traffic levels continued to increase in the area as evidenced by the elongation of the morning peak hours and increased rat-running.

Road Hierarchy
There is a hierarchy in operation in the local road network. The principal roads are the radial or arterial routes such as Cork Street and Thomas Street. Secondary routes are known as collectors and connect the main arterial routes, such as Meath Street and Francis Street. All other roads are deemed local and serve residential and commercial areas. The basic hierarchy within the area will not change much although it is planned to make Bridgefoot Street an arterial route in the near future.
Parking characteristics vary widely within the area. In the main commercial area demand is principally for short term parking. Multi storey car parks and existing on-street parking is considered adequate for short term parking needs. The City Council’s policy is to discourage long term commuter parking. Presently in the residential area south of Thomas Street there is a low occupancy rate within disc parking areas and a high level of long term commuter parking in free parking areas. North of Thomas Street there are high levels of longterm commuter parking and illegal parking.

Rat Running
Increased congestion along the main radial routes has led to “rat running” through residential areas. This in turn causes problems of noise, pollution and safety. The development of Environmental Traffic Cells (ETCs) and other measures will be considered to reduce rat running.
Heavy Goods Vehicles
There is a high level of heavy and light industry in the area. This industry is vital to local employment. A Commercial Vehicle Management Strategy has been developed in conjunction with the ETC network. As a key objective, this strategy must seek to balance the need to reduce HGV traffic in the area with the need to maintain access to industrial and commercial premises.

Cork Street/The Coombe Relief Route
The Cork Street/Coombe Relief Route is now a dual carriageway incorporating dedicated bus lanes and cycle tracks. This has improved its capacity as a radial route whilst enhancing public transport alternatives. The route comprises two sections, firstly a 1 km section widening Cork Street and secondly a new 1/2km section bypassing the Coombe and rejoining the existing dual carriageway at Dean Street.

Benefits of Cork Street/Coombe Relief Road:

  • Provision of QBC and cycle route
  • Elimination of extraneous through traffic from the Coombe and Meath Street
  • Development of ETCs and additional measures to reduce rat-running and improve the environment for local residents
  • Improved pedestrian crossings and linkages along the Route
  • Provide a catalyst for local development in a neglected area
  • Reduction of noise and pollution levels

Environmental Traffic Cells
Environmental Traffic Cells  discourage non-essential through traffic and create a safer and more attractive environment within the Cell area. In accordance with the DTI strategy a network of ETCs are being developed within the inner city.

Key Characteristics and benefits of ETCs:

  • Elimination of through traffic with the exception of emergency vcehicles, public transport, pedestrians and cyclists
  • Private cars will be unable to move between ETCs without returning to distributor roads on the edge of cells
  • Ensuring access for legitimate purposes such as loading/unloading, access to shops/businesses and residential parking
  • Creation of safe routes and facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and the mobility impaired
  • Efficient use of distributor routes in order to increase capacity
  • Improved linkages across distributor routes

Quality Bus Corridors
The development of QBCs is essential to promote the attractiveness of public transport over the private car. In order to reduce journeys times QBCs will require road space and traffic signal priority. Two QBCs operate through the area:

  • The North Clondalkin QBC, running along Thomas Street, James Street and Kilmainham
  • The South Clondalkin QBC running through the Coombe, Cork Street and Dolphin’s Barn

Local bus services link the community along non radial routes are also essential such as the 121 bus service linking communities in the southern sector with the shopping areas of Thomas Street and Meath Street

Luas operates along the western edge of the Coombe/Liberties area. The addition of Luas services enhances the accessibility and attractiveness of the Liberties retail area and should assist the viability of local employment and commercial initiatives. Cycle parking facilities are provided near Luas stations to assist the integration of alternative means of transport

Posted by Reflecting City Team on Wednesday, September 17, 2008
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