Temple Bar

Temple Bar

Postby Devin » Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:52 pm

There's no real thread for Temple Bar, so starting this cos I want to make a few grunts about street furniture and surfaces in the area. Please add whatever you like. I'm sure there are myriad issues.

The general thrust of this is that the place is falling apart. There is no plan, no vision, noone in charge; DCC roads engineers and other operatives are deciding on and executing works to the public domain without planning/architect/conservation input.



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If you're around town at the moment you will have noticed that the failed cobblestone / sett surface on Eustace Street is being relaid.




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Just for reference, this is an authentic traditional or "flexible" sett surface on John's Lane, off Thomas Street, probably dating to the late 19th century.




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The sett surfaces in Temple Bar date to the 1990s. The technique used - setts laid on a sand base, not tight together but with gaps, then gravel inserted between and then a tar sealant poured to create a "rigid" surface - is not a traditional method and breaks down after some years so you're left with this horrible mess (above) and something has to be done. Hence the relaying work now.

Apart from having poor longevity, being non-traditional and comparatively ugly, the tar method is uncomfortable and impractical to cycle on, walk on, or push a buggy or wheelchair over. And in fact a 2004 report - the Temple Bar Urban Framework Plan - recommended relaying the area's setts to achieve a tighter, smoother surface for these very reasons.




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So what's happening now? Yes, you guessed it: they're relaying the setts now using the same crappy tar method .... which will break down again and need to be relaid in 15 years' time incurring further time, cost and disruption to the city.




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A section of pavement on the east side of Temple Lane between Cecelia Street and the Temple Bar pub was widened last year in cheap white Chinese granite. They didn't even bother their arses getting yellow granite for the kerbing in order to keep the consistency of paving in the area and preserve its historic character, which as well as being the right thing to do would also comply with the objective for Temple Lane as a street "with granite kerbing ... to be retained or restored" (Appendix 10 of current City Development Plan).




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The widening results in this awkward, arbitrary jut-out north of Cecelia Street. The streets around here are very old. The traditional ratio of carriageway-to-pavement should be maintained, unless there's some overriding public realm gain. It's not necessary to widen pavements in a pedestrian area with little or no traffic anyway. It just highlights the fact that no plan is being followed and work is being decided on a random basis.




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Around the corner on Cecelia Street, DCC's traffic department managed to cut into two different types of historic stone to put a pole in; the north side of Cecelia Street has an unusual sandstone pavement, probably laid in conjunction with the adjacent Cecelia House, a 7-bay structure built as a medical school in 1836, later owned by the Catholic University and now housing the Urban Outfitters clothing store. As can be seen, the insertion is a shockingly crude display cutting into both the sandstone flagging and an adjoining granite kerb in white cement, and another testament to the fact that Dublin despite its "historic" credentials does not employ the necessary expertise to deal with its valuable heritage street surfaces.




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At the junction of Cecelia Street and Fownes Street Lr., a newly installed stainless steel bollard - the only one in Temple Bar? - is set in some sloppy concrete.




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Just across from that, a H-bar designed for a large traffic sign has two small parking signs attached to it, with poles projecting above and below the signs.



The jist of all this is that it's going to cost us. Temple Bar is a major cultural/tourism/historic/entertainment district giving significant vitality and revenue to the city - both much needed at the moment - but there seems to be noone in charge and it's being hacked to pieces. If we don't employ the necessary expertise in handling the historic fabric, and if we let the lifers in the roads department relay the setts the way they've always done it, it will be degraded and will not continue giving us that vitality and revenue. If we don't look at getting the more expensive specialist advice and contractors to get surfaces and an overall design of a standard you would see in Finland or Germany it's going to cost in the longrun.

Groups of international visitors still come to Temple Bar to see what can be learnt about urban regeneration ..... I wouldn't like to be learning anything from the place at the moment in terms of the detail, presentation and historic character of the public domain.

Incredibly, all the streets mentioned here - Eustace Street, Temple Lane and Cecelia Street (along with the whole central area of Temple Bar) - are within a designated Conservation Area, where the stated development plan policies of Dublin City Council include: “to protect and enhance the character and historic fabric of Conservation Areas in the control of development” (Policy H13) and that "particular consideration will be given to any new signage erected [in Conservation Areas] in order to preserve the character of the area.” (Policy H14)
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby Al_Build_Surv » Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:12 pm

Devin,

Fair play to ya thats a very in-depth review of aspects of Temple Bar.
Its an embarassment that an area of Dublin that attracts such large numbers of tourists isn't given the full thought and planning that it deserves.
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby Devin » Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:23 pm

Bloody right! It embarrasses me.
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby reddy » Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:29 pm

Great post.

When will DCC start paying attention to all these small details - they all add up to form a bleak bigger picture.
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby Al_Build_Surv » Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:33 pm

It seems like it is a case of people in the Council being too lazy to remember anything that they are meant to be doing and the people carrying out the work knowing its wrong but doing it anyway.

As for that steel pole at the corner of Luigi Malones I think (your photo above) why in God's name did a supervisor not make them re-do it?? It looks shambolic to say the least
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby GrahamH » Thu Aug 05, 2010 11:38 pm

Yes an insightful roundup there Devin. What a sorry picture.

In all honesty, Temple Bar has been in freefall these past few years, as with much of the city centre around it. Yes, we all know the tired mantra of the tourist focus and pub life over the cultural hub the area was supposed to be, but nobody highlights just how trashy Temple Bar is increasingly becoming on a basic level. The streets are unkempt, paving is failing everywhere, signage and municipal clutter proliferates, and private operators are allowed do as they wish with advertising, awnings and all manner of other exterior paraphernalia. The place is visually chaotic with nobody in control. Temple Bar Square in particular is a total embarrassment. I always found it so bizarre the shi shi focus placed by architects on Meeting House Square over the former space. Yes Meeting House strikes an elegant chord, but equally it borders on a private room: a very specific destination with a very specific function. It is Temple Bar Square that is the beating heart of the quarter, its civic focus, yet is shambolic in its coherence, presentation and sense of design quality. With the exception of the Group 91 side, itself getting grubby, the place is beyond trashy and beyond embarrassment. ‘Oh that’s just tourist tat culture you get everywhere – ignore it’. No actually, this is as much a citizens’ space as it is a visitor destination – we all deserve better than the dross that’s served up around there.

In this respect, the issues with street surfaces in Temple Bar are symptomatic of a wider problem the area is facing. It is a year and a half now since DCC’s Historic Street Surfaces Conservation Study and Guidance Manual was published, yet this development on Eustace Street, probably the most significant work carried out on an historic surface in Dublin in about two years, is not being guided by the very clear recommendations set out in the report. Yes, it takes time to turn a ship around, but it doesn’t take this long for well-paid advice to filter down to flagship works, never mind the smaller ones. This is unacceptable.

With the enormous increase in cycling in the city centre of late, it is even more pressing that Temple Bar’s surfaces are gradually relaid using flexible bedding in a tight knit manner. In addition, I often think it would be nice to reinterpret the Dublin tradition of laying slabs of diorite as carriage tracks for use as a narrow cycle track on major setted streets like Eustace Street. Indeed it could become a distinctive and recognisable hallmark of Temple Bar if done correctly. Clearly those who commission these ugly, uncomfortable, dirt filled, litter filled surfaces have never cycled over them in their lives, let alone looked at them.
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby Devin » Thu Aug 26, 2010 2:49 pm

GrahamH wrote:With the enormous increase in cycling in the city centre of late, it is even more pressing that Temple Bar’s surfaces are gradually relaid using flexible bedding in a tight knit manner. In addition, I often think it would be nice to reinterpret the Dublin tradition of laying slabs of diorite as carriage tracks for use as a narrow cycle track on major setted streets like Eustace Street. Indeed it could become a distinctive and recognisable hallmark of Temple Bar if done correctly. Clearly those who commission these ugly, uncomfortable, dirt filled, litter filled surfaces have never cycled over them in their lives, let alone looked at them.
Yes, very true. As any cyclist in Dublin knows, the cobble surface in Temple Bar is an abomination to cycle on. It was put to the CC when they started the relaying work in June that they need be thinking about getting a better cycling surface here with their efforts to promote cycling: http://www.billtormey.ie/2010/07/10/an-taisce-and-cobble-stones-at-temple-bar/
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby tommyt » Thu Aug 26, 2010 4:39 pm

Devin wrote:Yes, very true. As any cyclist in Dublin knows, the cobble surface in Temple Bar is an abomination to cycle on. It was put to the CC when they started the relaying work in June that they need be thinking about getting a better cycling surface here with their efforts to promote cycling: http://www.billtormey.ie/2010/07/10/an-taisce-and-cobble-stones-at-temple-bar/


Apparentley DCC shell out a fair few quid in compo each year for damaged cycles (and people!) from poorly maintained cobbles. I remember an aquantaince wrecking his bike and breaking his ankle on loose cobbles covered in grease from a poorly emptied wheelie bin. They payed out a sizable sum without so much as a blink.
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby urbanisto » Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:50 pm

Devin - did Dublinspirations (aah remember that) mention anything about the paving in Temple Bar. Cant remember. Anyhow, the points raised in the AT letter to DCC are very well made, and in many cases side stepped by the DCC official. I dont get the Bill Tormey connection. Is he supportive of the AT position?
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby Devin » Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:58 pm

StephenC wrote: I dont get the Bill Tormey connection
None really, just that such complaints would usually be copied around to the Cllrs. to let them know what's going on, so presumably he decided to stick it on his site ..

Yeah bumpy lumpy cobbles have been brought up before.
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby PVC King » Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:06 pm

tommyt wrote:Apparentley DCC shell out a fair few quid in compo each year for damaged cycles (and people!) from poorly maintained cobbles. I remember an aquantaince wrecking his bike and breaking his ankle on loose cobbles covered in grease from a poorly emptied wheelie bin. They payed out a sizable sum without so much as a blink.


Lucky for DCC that the claimant in that particular instance was honest enough only to claim for damage to his bicycle and a modest sum and not an extended loss of earnings or exaggerated personal injury. Given the amount of grease that gets poured down drains and spilled on streets there may be some milage in enforcing restuarants to fill out additional waste transfer paperwork on all cooking oils; particularly given that it can now be recycled.

BTW - Good thread a lot of silly stuff going on in Temple Bar; if the area is ever to move up the food chain and away from lower quartile UK stag weekends which are decimated as an underlying trade basis once sterling falls then the Devin school of thought on public realm must trump the road engineering approach in what is pretty much the only small urban grain type tourist spot left in the City. Time for a second edition of Dubinspirations; the problem here is not intentional damage its an important 'detail' factor that has unfortunately slipped from the consciousness of more than a few stakeholders......
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby Devin » Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:44 pm

Yes PVC, but the 'detail' is not really the problem; it's just a symptom of the actual problem which is the shocking, abject failure of the authority to have overall management of the area in place; that no one is in charge.
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby missarchi » Fri Aug 27, 2010 4:22 am

Frankly I think it's worth writing about why we help the pub out of the so called chambers. It is no good if ideas remain ideas, you need to make things happen.
There should be more than black or white.
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby PVC King » Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:37 am

Devin wrote:Yes PVC, but the 'detail' is not really the problem; it's just a symptom of the actual problem which is the shocking, abject failure of the authority to have overall management of the area in place; that no one is in charge.


But that assumes that one would have a 'Paving Tzar' or at least a heritage officer with adequate resources or clout. This clearly is not the case and as such it is important that those with authority to rule between competing objectives need to be aware of the consequences of them not heeding conservation issues in relation to paving.

What one does not wish to see is the continued drip srip loss of original kerbing, paving and cobbles over time with a sudden realisation in 10 years time that it is then time to give up on many streetscapes that can now be salvaged at the mere cost of co-ordinating work permits for utility and paving contracts. What would be a good start would be if the conservation officer had to sign off all works permits for paving/utility works within agreed specified locations.
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby Devin » Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:11 pm

Arrgh, PVC, now I know why you wreck peoples' heads in other threads !! No, it doesn't "assume one would have a paving czar". Can you forget about conservation for a minute? It's overall control of the public realm, conservation issues included. For example the system which is in place for the management of the O'Connell Street public realm. If you're interested, contact DCC for details about it.
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby urbanisto » Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:34 pm

eh eh...calm down man.... you'll have a coronary :-)

I suppose to a degree Devin there is "someone" responsible in that the area has an Area Manager. In fact I understand the Central Area Manager is quite involved in the new Public Realm Strategy which is being developed. My bug is why the Area Manager's office cant have more control over DCC Roads and DCC Lighting depts as they relate to the city centre.
Speaking to a former Area Manager recently, he advised that in his time there were dedicated Public Domain officers (for a specific area in this case) who regularly patrolled the area and registered works needed or supervised works being undertaken. Now I'm not sure how effective they were and how good a relationship they had with DCC Roads and DCC Lighting but the idea makes a huge deal of sense.
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby Devin » Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:54 pm

The system for O'Connell Street is very good .... apparently it's expensive to maintain the street exactly as it is ......... but no excuse for the current low standards in Temple Bar or the rest of the city outside O'C St.
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby Yixian » Mon Aug 30, 2010 2:39 pm

More important a concern for Temple Bar should be the actual shops, restaurants and pubs in it. I don't know the area is called but about half way down there is that new, stone paved area with a big generic glass building and a ton of bland chain cafés and pizzerias just jammed into it... so not Temple Bar.

I know it is a lot to ask of the uncultured cronies in charge of this kind of thing but really Dublin should be taking a leaf out of Paris' book and being completely totalitarian when it comes to area liek Temple Bar. Flat out deny your Starbucks' and your Pizza Expresses from moving in and save that property for small, homegrown businesses.

This is what has ruined most of London. There's a lot that is great about London, there is a lot of beautiful architecture, good planning and top notch public transport but at the end of the day where does this get you? To a chain pub, a multinational coffee shop or a franchised patisserie.

This is why Paris will for the foreseeable future be the superior city for culture lovers like yourselves. Dublin is nowhere near as "genericised" as London is yet and it needs to avoid going down that route like the plague, it's not too late and Temple Bar can be saved, all it needs is a strong elected Mayor with the will to do it.
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby Seanoh » Mon Aug 30, 2010 4:29 pm

When were you last in Paris, Xixian? There are starbucks all over the place including in the Louvre, they neither add to nor detract from the fabric of the city. Paris looks as good as it does because of strict enforcement of the laws regarding the facades of buildings (believe me, behind many of the beautiful sandstone fronts, lies peeling stuuco and ancient plumbing) and a drive by the city to prevent mono-activity in streets and neighbourhoods as a result the rue st.denis had lost about half of it's porn stores. Paris is also residential from the Notre Dame out and those residents are fairly well-heeled. Just compare that with O'Connel Street which is just a block away from the poverty and crime of the underclass.
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby wearnicehats » Tue Aug 31, 2010 3:57 pm

GrahamH wrote:. It is Temple Bar Square that is the beating heart of the quarter, its civic focus, yet is shambolic in its coherence, presentation and sense of design quality. With the exception of the Group 91 side, itself getting grubby, the place is beyond trashy and beyond embarrassment. ‘Oh that’s just tourist tat culture you get everywhere – ignore it’. No actually, this is as much a citizens’ space as it is a visitor destination – we all deserve better than the dross that’s served up around there.

.


maybe I'm just getting old but I don't know a single person who would think for a second of going to Temple Bar, either in daylight but especially at night. It's a dreadful place, mostly because of those who stumble around it. Never mind grease over cobbles - more likley to be puke. In other words TB is neither a citizen's space or a visitor destination unless they have asbos or a serious goo on

Unfortunately this attitude will prevail until something is done about the anti-social nature of the place. Only then might the scales fall from our eyes so that we may see the conservation problem and act upon it
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby soulsearcher » Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:26 pm

wearnicehats wrote:maybe I'm just getting old but I don't know a single person who would think for a second of going to Temple Bar, either in daylight but especially at night. It's a dreadful place, mostly because of those who stumble around it. Never mind grease over cobbles - more likley to be puke. In other words TB is neither a citizen's space or a visitor destination unless they have asbos or a serious goo on

Unfortunately this attitude will prevail until something is done about the anti-social nature of the place. Only then might the scales fall from our eyes so that we may see the conservation problem and act upon it


Some of my favourite places to go in Dublin are in Temple Bar - the IFI for food, drink, cinema; Pinxto's tapas bar; the Bakery for lunch or to buy decent bread/pastry; Oxfam on Parliament St; the food market on Meeting House Square; the cafe at Filmbase; the cafes on Cows Lane; the Project Arts Centre for a play; not to mention the other markets, gallerys, clothes shops, pubs (albeit most of them crap), spaces for people watching...the list goes on.

I dont tend to hang around there at night but the odd occassion when I pass through during a busy night I'm delighted to witness the colourful display of tourists and locals enjoying themselves, having the craic, etc. Its great to see the vibrancy of Temple Bar spreading out onto Dame Street and Georges Street too.
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby urbanisto » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:53 am

I agree. I think people are overly down on Temple Bar. Sure it has its faults. Certainly from a management point of view much more needs to be done. However essentially its quite a successful area. Its certainly the most successful regeneration project the city has managed to pull off. Compare the area to Smithfield. Or Liberties/Coombe.

Your list says it all soulsearcher.
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby SeamusOG » Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:11 pm

Devin wrote:At the junction of Cecelia Street and Fownes Street Lr., a newly installed stainless steel bollard - the only one in Temple Bar? - is set in some sloppy concrete.


This may be a very silly question, but what exactly is its function?
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby gunter » Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:28 pm

I think it's a dancing aid for some very short strippers . . . . which in fairness is a variation of Dev's comely maidens dancing at the crossroads, this being a 'cultural quarter' and all that.

. . . . and no, it wasn't a silly question ;)
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Re: Temple Bar

Postby urbanisto » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:46 pm

Some of us might even go so far as to say its one of the big questions to ask the city fathers....just what are all those (expensively installed) bollards for?

However, the creme de la creme of bollard installments has to be those recently put in on Talbot Street - the junction with James Joyce Street in particular. It must be seen to be believed....recommended viewing for all traffic engineers.:mad:
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