Frank Allen made his by now biannual PR appearance on Today with Pat Kenny last week - you can hear it below at 1:44:44:
So only Route A and this new route ‘Route F’ are on the table at this stage. It's now a matter of consultation with the 'stakeholders' to see which gets the green light according to Allen - traders who shout the loudest from the sound of things.
It is the opinion of the RPA that an adequate DART connection will happen via the Interconnector at St. Stephen's Green - I wonder could some trams travel direct to Connolly (DART) by switching lines at the Marlborough St-Abbey St junction too?
Whatever about the transport implications, I have to say I find this proposed interconnector is getting more and more ludicrous by the second as regards its impact on the urban environment. With this Route F not only is the jewel of College Green affected by cables and poles, as well as O'Connell Bridge, but now we have cables passing by the entire frontage of the GPO - inches in front of the portico! Not to mention cutting across the upper street at Cathal Brugha St, and the new bridge over the Liffey, itself laden with poles and overhead cables, in addition to the same on O'Connell Bridge (also passing O’Connell Monument), and the Loop Line already further down the river. The sole redeeming factor of this new route is that it limits the impact on Westmoreland Street, O’Connell Street, Bridge and Monument by one line – even if it just transposes the other elsewhere.
This just reeks of the very worst kind of impact on the urban environment - intrusive, untidy, cluttered and fundamentally ugly. For the scheme to be suddenly extended on this scale at such a late stage, significantly impacting on newly included heritage areas, when the potential for investigating powering the system in an alternative fashion is redundant, appears almost devious, as it is disrespectful to the built environment of the city.
From day one back in the 1990s there has been a constant underlying current of 'sure this is only Dublin, a dirty provincial west Brit city - it's not Venice you know, huh huh huh'. Essentially nobody cares about this issue at all - rather this link is being dealt with purely as a series of lines on a map and the investigation of technicalities of the project. It seems aesthetics don’t even enter the equation. Why aren’t renderings being drawn up, and the impact on the appearance of the city being given equal, or indeed any weight at all, relative to the logistics of getting passengers from A to B? Why were no visual impact boards on display at any of the public ‘consultations’, even just to allay concerns?
This is not just about choosing a convenient route for a tram, it’s also about a hugely important matter of respecting existing environments within the ‘monumental’ city core. What purpose does College Green serve only to provide an architectural heart for the entire city – it is the very essence of this space, as with most western cities in the 21st century with similar public areas. It has little other role – and in the context of removing vehicular traffic and horrendous levels of municipal clutter from the space, including large trees, it’s nothing short of baffling that a relatively minor public transport link is allowed hold such sway in its impact on this area with absolutely NO visual impact statement in public consultations.
Yes lines passed through here before blah blah, yes O’Connell Bridge was rebuilt as is to cater for trams, yes they ran right past the GPO blah blah, but this is irrelevant. As mentioned before, if it was proposed to run telephone cables through the city to the same extent, right past the principal buildings and urban spaces in the capital, there’d be absolute uproar. But because shiny silvery trams are being catered for, suddenly nobody gives a toss. In a modern, technologically advanced capital, it is simply not acceptable for the cityscape to be strung with cables – it’s one thing if a legacy issue, but to start afresh in the 21st century is nothing short of embarrassing. It is this above all that really frustrates me about this interconnector (which otherwise I do see the
full logic of implementing).
It is ironic that this link attempts to cater to a large, if minority extent, for tourists travelling from transport hubs to city centre hotels – the very people the city is being marketed at through its streetscapes and set-piece buildings that will be affected by these lines. Views of the Spire from Westmoreland Street would also be intruded on, as with the entire walk along western O’Connell Street and Bridge, and vastly worsened if Route A is chosen. Likewise regarding all the famous views of the BoI, Trinity and the House of Lords portico - all the points rasied before.
In a way it's quite startling the difference between here and Bordeaux, where uproar was raised at the prospect of cables passing the hôtel de ville, and yet in Dublin not only is there not so much as a whimper from the public over the same prospect on College Green and the wider city centre, not even the authorities have any concern over the matter, to the extent of not even feeling the need to draw up renderings!
Just out of interest jimg, given overhead wires generally don't concern you (not being smart here), how do you rate them relative to your rather vociferous objection to the proposed advertising hoardings about the city?