Dublin Traffic congestion back to boom time levels – action needed now

19th January 2015
Press Release

The M7 Co. Kildare Lane widening plan will worsen the situation and should be scrapped – Promote ‘Smarter Travel Policy’ of Car Sharing and Park and Ride

Dublin congestion is back to 2008 boom time levels and action is needed now. Congestion damages economic productivity, slows down public transport and service vehicle movement, undermines cycling and causes local air pollution through particle emissions, particularly from diesel vehicles. Our car dependence is also contributing to unhealthy lifestyles and obesity.

Further our National polluting transport greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 2.1% in 2013 over 2012 levels and puts Ireland on a path of way overshooting its EU 2020 Climate targets.

An Taisce submits that four complimentary actions are needed:

1. Review of future transport investment.

An Taisce welcomes the content and scope of the North Dublin Transport Study, which closed today and on which we made a positive submission. For instance, we welcomed the inclusion of the three Swiftway services and the Dart Underground in the Do Minimum scenario. Dart Underground must be the first priority as it integrated services across Leinster and maximises benefits of the significant existing network.

However a review of transport planning for the remainder of the greater Dublin Area is urgently needed.

2. Bus Rapid Transport and Dart Underground.

An Taisce considers that Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) should be adopted as the most cost efficient way of strengthening the critical mass and efficiency public transport corridors. This will give a modal shift from car and create the interconnected transport system which Dublin as a European capital needs.

However it is essential that the Dart Underground Heuston to Docklands scheme is reactivated to integrate mass public transport at the city centre.

3. Suspend the M7 Co Kildare Lane Widening Scheme

In 2014, An Bord Pleanála gave consent for an NRA supported Kildare County Council application to add two lanes to the 13 km section of the M7 between the Newbridge and Naas interchanges.

The Environmental Impact Assessment for the Board’s consent was done without properly assessing the impact of inducing more traffic from the wider catchment area of the M7/8 and M9 into the Dublin area. We believe that the proposed lane additions will encourage more car based travel from counties Kildare, Laois and Carlow to feed into the M7. This would be contrary to the Department of Transport’s Smarter Travel policy to increase modal share of commuter travel by bus and rail. In addition the funnelling of additional traffic into the Red Cow interchange will increase congestion on and within the M50.

An Taisce submits that proceeding this scheme will undermine the Government’s Smarter Travel Policy and the strategic transport planning the Dublin area needs to reduce congestion on the inter regional motorway network and the M50. The project should be suspended.

4. Urgent short term action on congestion

The most immediate and cost effective option is to implement a range of “Smarter Travel” policies and actions, targeted to reduce congestion on the M50 and Dublin area at large.
a. Provision of Park and Ride facilities targeted at enhancing non car based travel to major employment clusters.
b. Promotion of Workplace Travel Plans including car sharing, where public transport or cycling is not a viable option.
c. Promotion of school travel plans that significantly reduce car based travel.
d. Promotion of increased and safe cycling use including extension of 30kph zones.

ENDS For further information, please call:

Ian Lumley, Heritage Officer, An Taisce Tel: +353 1 454 1786
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 2411995
email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland
www.antaisce.ie

NOTES:

  1. North Dublin Transport Study http://www.nationaltransport.ie/consultations/public-consultation-on-the-north-dublin-transport-study/
  2. An Taisce’s submission on North Dublin Transport Study http://www.antaisce.org/articles/north-dublin-transport-study-submission