The impact of the Car on Irish Architecture

The impact of the Car on Irish Architecture

Postby PVC King » Thu Feb 19, 2004 3:16 pm

The Latest CSO figures reveal

"Census shows hike in car ownership

February 19, 2004

(13:03) One million Irish households own at least one car, according to the 2002 census. The figure represents a rise of a third in just ten years.

Car ownership was highest in Meath, where almost nine out of ten households own a car. In Dublin city that figure dropped to 58%.

Of Ireland's 1.6 million workers, 55% drive to work - up from 46% in just five years. If passengers and van or lorry drivers are included, then almost 70% of workers travel to work in private vehicles.

The highest level of car commuting was found in Carrigaline in Co Cork where 74% of workers use cars. In Dublin city and suburbs around 47% of people drive to work.

Only 11% walk to work, though in Sligo, Westport and Ballina around a quarter of workers make their journey on foot.

The figures also reveal that half of Irish primary schoolchildren are driven to school - compared with only one fifth in 1981. Some observers may suspect a link between this and the rise in childhood obesity.

The towns with the highest percentage of children walking to school were Shannon at 62%, followed by Leixlip, Ashbourne and Portmarnock."

http://www.rte.ie/news/2004/0219/cars.html

As designers how has the highly motorised nature of the Country shaped your approach to designing buildings?
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Postby FIN » Thu Feb 19, 2004 4:26 pm

i don't know if it has affected us because usually buildings are taken in isolation and only make provisiion for what is needed by the current development plan for the region. i mean the roads haven't changed that much to make us design for dependency.
besides the fact that it's always been there and somewhat suprisingly people are still shocked at stat's like that.
of course there is a dependency on cars. we live in cities that are urban sprawls without any fully developed mass transit systems(wether they being public or private) and so it is forced on us.
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Postby PVC King » Thu Feb 19, 2004 4:32 pm

Quote "we live in cities that are urban sprawls without any fully developed mass transit systems(wether they being public or private) and so it is forced on us"

Do you think that if better transit systems were in place that it might encourage a higher density of development. Not just of housing/working space but also of parking facilities?

You know when you go to the airport there is a short-term carpark and also a long term carpark.

I noted with facination a parking arrangement that is in the Adelaide Square developmwent. It is a system in an underground carpark that by a hydraulic lift device has one car stored over another car.

Does that have potential?
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Postby FIN » Thu Feb 19, 2004 4:37 pm

yea i have seen them before.
there is a car park ( i think it's an audi show room now i think about it)somewhere in germany where it's something like 14 storeys high and all cars are lifted into place. really classy stuff.
absolutely no doubt if there was a better transit system there would be higher developments.
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Postby PVC King » Thu Feb 19, 2004 4:48 pm

The Germans were always smart when it came to three dimensional thinking on storage solutions. They are also very smart at building both fast cars and punctual transit networks.

There were also a few positives in the report as well though. Seeing places like Sligo and Westport have such high pedestrian figures must be considered positive. ;)
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Postby FIN » Thu Feb 19, 2004 5:57 pm

i don't know where they got those figures from cos i don't see how those particular stats could be right but if they are then it is a start.they are trying to start this park and ride thing in galway with a big car park in oranmore and buses and trains in every 15 mins or so. this would reduce cars in town. i think the notion of reducing car depenency is a pie in the sky idea. it's here lets just work around it. and these seem to be at least part of the key.
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Postby GrahamH » Thu Feb 19, 2004 9:30 pm

I think most people would be surprised with as many as 11% walking to work.

One extraordinary figure from last year was that 58% of children walking to primary school in 1997 had fallen to a mere 35% by 2002, just 5 years.
A commensurate rise in car use for the primary school run occured, increasing from 32% to 52%.

And the difference between girls and boys cycling to secondary school in Dublin is also extraordinary, with 8200 males cycling, compared with just 620 females. Clearly many unnecessary car or bus journeys being made.

Are new office buildings in the city centre being built with car parks now? Does Georges Quay have one?
What about around the country as well - are local authorities granting permission for them any more?
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Postby PVC King » Thu Feb 19, 2004 10:11 pm

Quote "Does Georges Quay have one?"

Georges Quay uses the old Ulster Bank/PWC car park there was no additional parking sought or granted.
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Postby FIN » Fri Feb 20, 2004 10:16 am

it is preferable to provide car parking alright but if not a contribution has to be paid. i can't remember the exact figure but 2500 per space sounds familiar for some reason.
if you have the space then they will insist on you providing parking. some won't even grant without providing them no matter if u have the space or not ( as happened to me in sligo recently)
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Postby anto » Fri Feb 20, 2004 11:11 am

Are new offices compelled to provide showers? If not they should be. A lot of people might cycle if they could shower at the other end. I'm working in Central Park, Leapordstown and whatever else about the development at least there are showers I can use after my 5 mile uphill cycle.

My brother in Galway works for a multinational which I'm sure has a few hundred parking spaces but no showers and it's a new building too, surely the planners can force them to provide a few showers.

As for Central Park, it ludicrously turns its back to where pedestrians will enter after getting off the Luas in Sandyford compelling them to walk for another 10 mins, totally designed for cars and basement parking etc. Who do you blame, crappy architects or the planners who should be facilitaing pedistrians/public transport users. I won't start on the cycle lane going up the leapordtown road like a roller coaster ride. Better than nothing I suppose!
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Postby Barry Long » Fri Feb 20, 2004 11:53 am

Why are Dublin planners/architects not doing more for cyclists? The situation in the city centre is disgraceful, the cycle lanes hideously inadequate.
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Postby PVC King » Fri Feb 20, 2004 12:21 pm

Quote Barry Long "Why are Dublin planners not doing more for cyclists?"

I think Anto's question answers on Sandyford that Quote "Who do you blame, crappy architects or the planners who should be facilitaing pedistrians/public transport users."

It is a combination of the Legacy of the way roads were designed in the 1970's and 1980's. No thought whatsoever was given to the humble bike in these decades. Also the planners in the case of Sandyford got it wrong on a monumental scale.

Sandyford possessed location advantage as an industrial and more specifically distribution park when built. It was the closest ind est to the ferry at Dunlaoire and its tenant mix was mostly importers and distributers.

When land values exploded during the late 1990's developers began building offices on some of the smaller units. The planners saw LUAS as the great solution to access. They were right there was a small working population and virtually empty trams were due to service the place as they were travelling in the opposite direction to the city.

The subsequent problem is that no-one in DLR coco kept a record of just how much office space they were giving to permission to. They were also not careful on the specific locations of sites such as Central Park.

The current development on the former allegro warehousing is the perfect example. Formerly it accomodated 50-100 vehicles. When completed it will contain 50,000 sq metres of offices. Thats your problem and this scheme is only one of many and is dwarfed by some.

Sandyford will probably become the most unsustainable district in Europe once all the existing projects are completed.

Quote Barry Long "Why are Dublin architects not doing more for cyclists?"

Its not the architects job to make the development plans or roads. ;)
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Postby anto » Fri Feb 20, 2004 1:51 pm

Its not the architects job to make the development plans or roads.


But the architects could still have designed pedestrian access to Central Park to accomadate Luas users.


As for the Explosion of Office Space in Leapardtown/Sandyford, Dun Laohaire/RD Coco wanted to expand their rates base and are basically competing with Fingal, Dublin South and the City Centre for this. The splitting up of Dublin then hardly facilitates stategic planning from this point of view.

Where would you have Dun Laoghire CoCo put this type of development, I imagine where people live facilitating walking/cycling Dart use etc. but getting planning for large office development in these places can be problematic as residents (esp. in Leafy DL) can be vocal in their opposition to what they see as traffic generating offices.
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Postby FIN » Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:08 pm

Originally posted by anto
But the architects could still have designed pedestrian access to Central Park to accomadate Luas users.



who will pay for it?
it's up to the council to provide these. they can ask for it to be included in a development but if they don't then the developer isn't going to pay for it. and even if the architect puts it in, it will be removed by cost cutting measures. at the end of the day it's the council's problem. absolutely nothing to do with the architect.
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Postby PVC King » Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:30 pm

Quote "Where would you have Dun Laoghire CoCo put this type of development?"

Nowhere most of it is sitting vacant.

The broader market has a way of finding out ill condidered developments

The vast bulk of empty office buildings are in Suburban locations. Empty buildings don't yield rates to pay for the roads required to service them

:confused:
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Postby Barry Long » Sun Feb 22, 2004 10:18 pm

QUOTE***
"It is a combination of the Legacy of the way roads were designed in the 1970's and 1980's. No thought whatsoever was given to the humble bike in these decades. Also the planners in the case of Sandyford got it wrong on a monumental scale. " *** END QUOTE

To reverse these errors is simple; all it requires is the vision and political will. Architects should come out in favour of a car free Dublin Centre. Where there are existing bus lanes, these should be kerbed off, trees planted, cycle space painted red and turned into two- way cycle lanes.

Every single city centre street should have this basic provision for cyclists. In cases where streets are too narrow to cater for cyclists and cars, the cars should be banned. The only exception would be deliveries: these could only take place during 4am-6am.

Where there is conflict between car and bike, bike must win out. For the bike does not harm the environment; it is good for people, for the quality of life of the city, for a smog-free environment. If the government is serious about a 'smoke-free' environment the first thing to do is elimate the choking fumes of the cars that are turning our city into a smouldering traffic cesspit.

Another point: Outside beautiful buildings like the Leinster House Lawn and the Rotunda, sit these giant car parks. With this attitude, I won't be holding my breath for a clean, car-less Dublin.
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Postby PVC King » Mon Feb 23, 2004 12:21 am

Originally posted by Barry Long
QUOTE***

Another point: Outside beautiful buildings like the Leinster House Lawn and the Rotunda, sit these giant car parks. With this attitude, I won't be holding my breath for a clean, car-less Dublin.


The back lawn of Leinster House (merrion Square) was pushed through as a temporary measure. It never received planning permission. But it is indicative of the attitude of the OPW and polititians.:mad:
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Postby anto » Mon Feb 23, 2004 1:46 pm

To reverse these errors is simple; all it requires is the vision and political will. Architects should come out in favour of a car free Dublin Centre. Where there are existing bus lanes, these should be kerbed off, trees planted, cycle space painted red and turned into two- way cycle lanes.

Every single city centre street should have this basic provision for cyclists. In cases where streets are too narrow to cater for cyclists and cars, the cars should be banned. The only exception would be deliveries: these could only take place during 4am-6am.

Where there is conflict between car and bike, bike must win out. For the bike does not harm the environment; it is good for people, for the quality of life of the city, for a smog-free environment. If the government is serious about a 'smoke-free' environment the first thing to do is elimate the choking fumes of the cars that are turning our city into a smouldering traffic cesspit.

Another point: Outside beautiful buildings like the Leinster House Lawn and the Rotunda, sit these giant car parks. With this attitude, I won't be holding my breath for a clean, car-less Dublin. [/B][/QUOTE]


Dream on! I'd like to see the traders agreeing to that. For God's sake the will to get the luas thro' the centre of town wasn't there. An underground option to link the two lines sometime off in the future was chosen instead.
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Postby PVC King » Mon Feb 23, 2004 1:53 pm

Originally posted by anto
An underground option to link the two lines sometime off in the future was chosen instead.


Soemtime in the future being the operative expression. The design and construction of Liffey House on Tara St with no parking proves the benefits of higher density at transport nodes.

In that case the elimination of surface carparking doubled the floor plate and therebye doubled the value of the building. ;)
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Postby garethace » Mon Feb 23, 2004 2:27 pm

Has the bit in the times been posted yet?

Cars passing canals at morning rush hour: 63,000.

A drop of 10% or something since 1997.

Taxis alone now form 5% almost, of all traffic in morning rush hour.

I think people are drving out to the pheriphery more and more to work etc, if this is the case.

I friend of mine who uses public transport going into town, has told me that the rush hour coming out in the evening can be much more severe than rush hour going in in mornings. Is that true?
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Postby Brian Hanson » Mon Feb 23, 2004 5:23 pm

Originally posted by garethace


I think people are drving out to the pheriphery more and more to work etc, if this is the case.

I friend of mine who uses public transport going into town, has told me that the rush hour coming out in the evening can be much more severe than rush hour going in in mornings. Is that true?


Yes. The problem regarding congestion is not caused by people living in Dublin as much as the ones coming in from outside the M50.

http://www.platform11.org/dublin_rail.html

There is fairly high public transport, walking, cycling usage within Dublin city itself. We can thank the British for designing a compact European city. We can thank the Irish developers, planners, county councillors, brown envelopes and endless free car give-a-ways on RTE for the rest. The public transport system in the GDR needs to be redeveloped from the outside in towards the centre and not from the centre out. Sure, higher density planning will make a huge difference but the real congestion is primairly manifested in these new housing developments on the outskirts of small towns in the midlands. Building an Metro to Dublin Airport for several billion will do nothing to solve this. Park n Rides and an extended DART will.
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Postby FIN » Mon Feb 23, 2004 5:27 pm

absolutely. but if there was higher densities then there wouldn't be this push to live in the towns in the midlands. lot more people working and liuving in the city- more money for the centre and making it more vibrant with people being there all the time.
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Postby PVC King » Mon Feb 23, 2004 5:35 pm

Originally posted by FIN
absolutely. but if there was higher densities then there wouldn't be this push to live in the towns in the midlands. lot more people working and liuving in the city- more money for the centre and making it more vibrant with people being there all the time.


You have hit the nail on the head in regard to forward planning and what needs to be done next and ahead of everything else.

The only problem is what do we do with the tens of thousands of long distance commuters?

http://www.onbusiness.ie/2004/0223/carbon.html

We are in financial trouble if this isn't sorted out. Because the EU will collect Carbon taxes if more sustainable commuting options aren't provided.
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Postby FIN » Mon Feb 23, 2004 5:41 pm

Originally posted by Diaspora
We are in financial trouble if this isn't sorted out. Because the EU will collect Carbon taxes if more sustainable commuting options aren't provided.


how much are we talking about? and what do u mean by sustainable transport???? electric buses comes into my mind when u say that...
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Postby PVC King » Mon Feb 23, 2004 5:49 pm

€1bn p/a from industry and I'm not sure how much on car emissions. But they have to fall by 35% by 2010 so far they are only down by 10% over the past 14 years. (Most of this is put down to better engine technology.)

What I mean by sustainable transport would be using the car as little as possible and using

1. Public Transport
2. Cycling or walking where possible.

Where possible being the important expression as for site visits or weekends away or doing the shopping it's not realistic to expect people not to use the car.

Gas buses work quite well, do you remember the oil strike in London in 2001? No petrol no Diesel but plenty of gas which is also cleaner.
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