Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby GrahamH » Thu Nov 16, 2006 3:19 am

ctesiphon I could not agree with you more. Wing mirror clipping is a serious problem in the capital, with hideously dangerous consequences. As a committed pedestrian who frankly spends more time on the streets than off them, I’ve had countless near misses, with mirrors sweeping literally a hair’s breadth away: luckily never having been hit to date.

Without question the pavement ought to be a safe haven for pedestrians, from kerb to building line, but my point is that for good or bad this simply is not the reality on Dublin’s streets. Most fast moving narrow streets such as Dame Street, O’Connell Street, Nassau Street and Dawson Street are notoriously dangerous for vulnerable kerb walkers, myself included. It’s very frightening when you skip out onto the kerb, especially when in a rush, only to see a bus mirror heading straight for you – it is in this respect I refer to the self-held perception of invincibility of many pedestrians. In Dublin you simply cannot rely on authorities to protect you, with that intangible ‘protective’ municipal force lulling you into a false sense of security. You presume everything to be regulated and tightly planned, but it simply isn’t.

In fact I find bollards can be even more dangerous than their absence, as people continue to use the kerbline regardless, especially during peak times and/or due to the inadequate space allocated to the pedestrian in general in the city. Only when a wing mirror approaches with bollards, it’s even more difficult to avoid it, with the bollards forming a barrier to your getting back into the pavement, especially if walking fast which kerb walkers inevitably are. That mightn’t make sense on paper, but on a crowded evening pavement where everything is flashing and fast moving, it’s very easy to get tangled in a bollard and have your head taken off in the process.

And of course on what are already narrow pavements, rows of bollards simply consume even more space. It’s no wonder granite kerbs are an enduring feature of Dublin’s streets (even if Portuguese), not because they’re aesthetically pleasing but because they form an unofficial Iarnród Éireann-style ‘Keep behind This Line’ boundary.
Most bus drivers are conscientious and will keep their distance, but high speed pulling in to the kerb is probably the most dangerous and frightening procedure some drivers practice – it really needs to stop.

Interesting what you say about the impact on cyclists of street furniture so close to the road – what a nightmare this must be, especially where a cycle lane isn’t provided. Definitely a factor only a cyclist-planner would note. To get that implemented across all divisions within the council, from Lighting to Roads, would be a ‘challenging’ task. This is where the buzzword of joined-up thinking comes to the fore.

Believe me, I’m staunchly on the pedestrian’s side on this one.
Though as a driver, cyclist and pedestrian, I’d love to see the bitter rows you have with yourself :D
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby ctesiphon » Tue Nov 21, 2006 8:48 pm

'Driver'? Take that back and wash your mouth out! Never in all my life have I been so insulted!:D
Seriously, no. I'm not one of them. Do you really think I could stay up on my high horse as long as I have if I were able to drive?

Thanks for the clarification- I was starting to worry that you'd 'crossed the floor'. I still think 'deserve' is inappropriate, but your main point re regulation and common sense is well made. However, I'd be of the opinion that if there are points of conflict between pedestrians and motorised traffic then something should be done re the traffic rather than expect the pedestrians to just know what to do.

In pedestrian planning generally, I think it's instructive to consider two categories of path user- MID (Mobility-Impaired / Disabled) and tourists. If we can accommodate both of these user categories, then all the others are accommodated too.

Anyway- glad we cleared this up. Now to get back to the dismal state of the capital's historic footpaths.
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby Devin » Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:13 pm

Yes, and specifically the conservation issues relating to insertion of bollards in a historic pavement, which both of you mentioned. This is a very important issue. As said, each bollard inserted requires a deleterious cut into the paving fabric – not exactly what you’d call best practice for the care and conservation of historic resources, is it?

If bollards were deemed necessary here at the edge of the new Dame Street plaza (see below), would it not have been better to see how or where else they could have been incorporated that would have avoided making irreversible cuts into the 200-year old pavement?

So why were bollards deemed necessary here?

(a) To protect pedestrians? I don’t think so, as penning off the footpaths is not wider policy around the city centre generally.

(b) To stop vehicles from driving onto the plaza? It doesn’t seem so, as there is room to bring a vehicle on at either end.

(c) To stop people parking on the pavement on the basis that, if you parked here, you wouldn’t be blocking pedestrians because they can walk by through the adjoining plaza? Perhaps, but I think our clamping system would soon sort that out.

(d) To stop commercial vans pulling up “for a few minutes” as said earlier? Possibly, but if so, maybe the CC were being over-zealous in preventing this? I’m just not sure that putting bollards here justifies the cuts into the old pavement for any of these possible reasons.

What in years to come when, under Transport 21, Luas is coming down the street and it is a largely traffic-free area, and these kinds of measures for restricting vehicles aren’t such an issue anymore? What when, over time, the bollards become bent and kinked from things hitting them like the ones in Smithfield? Either way, the stone pavement is going to last longer than the bollards, and when they are eventually taken out, you’re going to be left with a visually degraded pavement where the bollard marks have to be filled with bits of mortar.

Again, it comes back to the fact that there is no consultation system in place for Dublin’s historic granite pavements (as there is for its protected buildings), no conservation advice received, no chance for anyone else to have a say. Someone in Wood Quay takes a decision and it is done … Yes I know the pointing was done correctly this time DCC, but consideration of other options for the bollards was needed here I think.

Something that’s also open to question is whether stainless steel is a suitable finish for bollards here. It may be ok on O’Connell Street where it’s part of the whole new street design, but it is not necessarily the right thing to insert into aged granite. But that’s another issue.
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby jimg » Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:03 pm

So why were bollards deemed necessary here?

'cause they're stainless steel and so by definition (like covering areas with cheap granite, plonking down useless kiosks and plazifying open areas), sticking them into the footpath is cool and adds credibility to the scheme and shows that DCC are forward looking. :rolleyes:

Oh you mean in terms of providing function or form or complementing for historic urban fabric? I've no idea.
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby ctesiphon » Fri Jan 05, 2007 1:58 pm

Re cheap foreign granite-

There was a fascinating programme on BBC Radio 4 last night about the growth in the use of Indian granite in the UK. Though not exactly parallel, I'm guessing there would be many similarities between this story and the use of our beloved Chinese granite in Ireland.

The question of human rights loomed pretty large in the programme, as well as the ethics of importing stone from an unregulated foreign industry, though the programme did point out that there are pros and cons for both sides in the 'to buy or to boycott' debate.

One can only presume that all of these points have been considered by Dublin City Council and other bodies that use the stuff.:rolleyes:

From a quick glance at the R4 homepage, it would seem that the programme is being repeated today at 3pm. If you can't make it, I think the BBC usually has a 'Listen Again' function for a week after a show is broadcast.

Have a look here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/science/costingtheearth_20070104.shtml

EDIT: Yup- there's a 'Listen Again' button just over the picture of the presenter on that page.
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby hutton » Fri Jan 05, 2007 8:59 pm

jimg wrote:'cause they're stainless steel and so by definition (like covering areas with cheap granite, plonking down useless kiosks and plazifying open areas), sticking them into the footpath is cool and adds credibility to the scheme and shows that DCC are forward looking. :rolleyes:

Oh you mean in terms of providing function or form or complementing for historic urban fabric? I've no idea.



Oh Mmmeeooow - and yet so spot on.

Balls is what I say! Big granite balls that would achieve the same effect (whatever that is - suspect prevent vehicles mounting pavement) without having to cut into the existing slabs...

Ah ctesiphon - "costing the earth"; an excellent programme on an excellent station - had thought I was the only Irish person under 60 who listens to R4! :)
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby Paul Clerkin » Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:04 pm

even tubs of flowers would do the same thing, but probably not architectural enough for the planners / architects department... not mad keen on the silver bolllards to be honest
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby Istigh » Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:24 pm

Paul Clerkin wrote:even tubs of flowers would do the same thing, but probably not architectural enough for the planners / architects department... not mad keen on the silver bolllards to be honest


Lets face it have you ever seen large flower pots in cities that havent eventually been turned into an ash tray / rubbish bin. We are our own worse enemy in that regard.
Is there another sollution?
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby hutton » Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:33 pm

Istigh wrote:Lets face it have you ever seen large flower pots in cities that havent eventually been turned into an ash tray / rubbish bin. We are our own worse enemy in that regard.
Is there another sollution?


Yep - mandatory hand amputation of litter blighters :D
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby GrahamH » Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:49 pm

jimg wrote:'cause they're stainless steel and so by definition (like covering areas with cheap granite, plonking down useless kiosks and plazifying open areas), sticking them into the footpath is cool and adds credibility to the scheme and shows that DCC are forward looking. :rolleyes:

Oh you mean in terms of providing function or form or complementing for historic urban fabric? I've no idea.


heheheh :D

Explains matters precisely! Just look at the above image again and see how it cordons off vechicular and pedestrian spaces in a way that has time and time again been raised as an undesirable feature in urban planning. Fair enough in semi-industrial places, or those featuring heavy goods traffic, but on a commercial street in the heart of the historic city?! They're simply being used here to 'finish it off nicely', with no real purpose, while irreversably damaging historic paving. The same disasterous mess can be seen outside the doors of Trinity from an array of interventions over the years, while two temporary traffic camera poles in this area do the same.

Admittedly some incisions can be interesting, for example you can still see where the gas lampposts and first electric arc lamps stood through the scars in the paving on College Green (I've yet to match those exactly :)), but these bollards are so short-sighted from the presepctive of taming Dame Street in 5-10 years time.

As structures though they are pretty cool and work well with the granite I think - for the moment at least the steel finish doesn't detract from it. That lamppost base there could do with a wipe down after all that construction work...

As for imported stone, is a lot of Dublin white granite not Portugese? Henry Street I think was paved in Chinese. Ethical considerations are certainly something to bear in mind with these public projects - quarry child labour in India in particular has been a problem for a while now since the stone boom took off, whatever about the ecological impact.
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby Devin » Sat Jan 06, 2007 1:58 am

hutton wrote:Balls is what I say! Big granite balls that would achieve the same effect (whatever that is - suspect prevent vehicles mounting pavement) without having to cut into the existing slabs...
Paul Clerkin wrote:even tubs of flowers would do the same thing, but probably not architectural enough for the planners / architects department... not mad keen on the silver bolllards to be honest


Yes!! See, even we can come up with a few alternatives that don’t involve drilling away ancient stonework!

Please DCC, if you are contemplating this again, at least throw the idea out and get some feedback, and not just do it overnight.
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby PVC King » Sat Jan 06, 2007 4:59 am

I don't know what the intention was with this. This must constitute one of the most pointless interventions in a long time. This type of thing has been happening on a smaller scale across the city for a number of years as more and more parking control signs are errected.

However time has definitely come for a code of practice to be imposed on the roads department on this issue.

This is not asking a lot; what percentage of the overall percentage of kerbs and internal paving stock as a whole are we talking about 5% or less.

A simple code of practice would only stipulate that where granite kerbs are authentic that any signage must be approved by the City Councils own conservation officer. In most location signage or bollards could be placed into the replaceable imported granite or comncrete slabs.

The key issue here is the protection of un-replaceable elements of the built environment. The difference between a quality destination and a mediocre one are always the subtle touches. This intervention is about at subtle as a cavity block.
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby hutton » Sat Jan 06, 2007 6:16 am

PVC King wrote: The key issue here is the protection of un-replaceable elements of the built environment. .


Exactly what matters.
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby dc3 » Mon Jan 08, 2007 5:22 pm

"Wing mirror clipping is a serious problem in the capital, with hideously dangerous consequences"

Indeed. Very many bus shelters in Dublin actually leave little space to pass between shelter and kerb,

I have regularly noted near misses between late arriving passengers and the wing mirrors of late arriving buses, as they diced with death while passing this limited space between shelter and kerb.

If you ever cross from the St Stephen's Green corner (near the Shelbourne) the new one way alignment for city bound buses puts wing mirrors ready to catch the unwary pedestrian standing too close - and they regularly do.

By the way, there is a nice array of bollards in varying styles, in Merrion Row - indeed it is hard to walk down the south side of it against any pedestrian traffic.
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby Devin » Tue Jan 09, 2007 12:10 am

Aside from a few glitches such as the bollards issue and the running short of some granite, the standard of work to the historic paving in the City Architect’s Department new Dame Street plaza project was good, and stands in contrast to an earlier project of theirs next door – the millennium restoration of City Hall.

This was a very high profile job, carried out to international best-practice standards for historic monuments, befitting the great significance of the building. Unfortunately though, these standards did not extend to the historic granite pavements running around the building.

While, inside, an 18th century interior of European significance was being revealed for this first time in 150 years, outside, some of the most shockingly bad repair work was being undertaken to its pavements:

(Sorry for the dullness of the pictures; it's rainy and wintry at the moment, and not the best time for taking pictures of pavements.)

Image

Image

1. East pavement
Appalling raised cement pointing carried out right along the east frontage of the building.



Image

2. West pavement
The most disgusting raised cement pointing was carried out all along this magnificent stretch of sloping antique paving by the west façade of the building, turning the corner along Castle Street and culminating in ridiculous diagonal cutting of flagstones at the upper entrance to Dublin Castle (above). And there's much more just out of picture.



Image

3. North pavement
No work was carried out here at the front of the building, and it still has the fine whitish flush-pointing that you see here and there around the city. Why? Because it would have been too dangerous to cordon off the footpath in this location for works.

This confirms two of the worst suspicions:
(a) that repointing work is, in many cases, unnecessary, and (b), they just do it for something to do, in a place where it’s easy to do it.

This City Hall job starkly illustrated the sometimes sham-like inter-departmental coordination in the City Council, where the City Architect’s Dept. could have top conservation consultants on massive fees working on the building itself, but let its surrounding pavements be almost destroyed by Roads Maintenance Dept. workers with no conservation training.
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby StephenC » Mon Jan 15, 2007 4:41 pm

Aside from a few glitches such as the bollards issue and the running short of some granite, the standard of work to the historic paving in the City Architect’s Department new Dame Street plaza project was good, and stands in contrast to an earlier project of theirs next door – the millennium restoration of City Hall.


Hmmm I certainly dont feel happy about any aspect of the plaza and pavemnet works around this new building. :mad: Leaving aside the building itself I think the works that have been undertaken show a staggering lack of thought and design. Firstly mixing the orignal paving with a newer type looks like a dogs dinner. A similar compalint is made today on Archiseek about Hernietta Street. Why not either one or the other! And the fixtures and fitting are so bland and utilitarian - nondescript grates and bollards - what ever happened to beauty! I would also be highly critical of the way the plaza is laid out. for example why wasnt Palace Street repaved to provide a shared surface for predestrains and allow for an imporved entrance in to the Castle. This is after all the MAIN ENTRANCE! into Dublin Castle. And why are cars allowed part here. A similar decision was taken on the other side between the 'plaza' and City Hall. Why not completely pave this area in a unified and coherent way? I would also question the lighting and the lack of greenery. In fact the only token sob to greenery are the 4 sapling at the back to the square...surely these days we can plant semi-mature trees that at least have a presence from the beginning rather than in 20 years time!

Its a complete waste and getting the joining between some paving salbs right does nothing to redeem it in my mind.
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby Devin » Mon Jan 15, 2007 8:18 pm

I certainly dont feel happy about any aspect of the plaza and pavemnet works around this new building ... Firstly mixing the orignal paving with a newer type looks like a dogs dinner. A similar compalint is made today on Archiseek about Hernietta Street. Why not either one or the other!
I don’t know what you mean here Stephen. There is nothing wrong with integrating historic paving into new work, provided new and old are clearly distinguishable, which they are here – they are side by side. Mixing in new granite and old granite in the same pavement is another thing altogether.

I agree with you about Palace Street; it could easily be eliminated and made car-free, befitting the entrance to the Castle.
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby GrahamH » Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:44 pm

Thirded - the ever-present rank of cars and white vans outside the gates of the Castle on Palace Street is an embarrassment. Can you just imagine this outside any tourist site in a European city, let alone a principal one in a capital - and leaving aside any historical factors. Coupled with the new shower cubicle cliff face opposite, and limited pedestrian provision, visitors really must question if they've come to the right place entering this dingy hole, especially upon being greeted with what's probably the largest suface car park in the city centre inside the entrance gates.

I agree the contrast with the existing antique paving and the new plaza surface works well, as the old granite logically continues the line of the street's pavement, especially as it gracefully sweeps round to Palace Street.
As such however, I feel a more befitting, darker (perhaps bronze coloured) drainage grid ought to have been used to distinguish the two areas than the horribly cheap galvanised yoke used. It's certainly a dog's dinner at the City Hall end, where antique granite runs out - it's incoherent areas like these that give otherwise decent projects a bad name.

Beautiful north pavement picture Devin - thanks goodness it wasn't touched.

Image
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby publicrealm » Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:08 am

Spotted this morning at the corner of Ship St Great and (I think) Stephens St Upper - at the back of Dublin Castle.

Seems like old granite paving taken up and piled in a heap - hopefully it will be replaced.

Will keep an eye on it.
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby publicrealm » Wed Apr 25, 2007 9:37 am

O Dear.

This morning the excavation was filled in and the old granite paving slabs had disappeared.

Hopefully, as it is a semi-state body doing the work (ESB) they have been taken away for cleaning prior to replacement? :confused:

Bugger that - image sideways!
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby publicrealm » Thu Apr 26, 2007 8:39 pm

publicrealm wrote:O Dear.

This morning the excavation was filled in and the old granite paving slabs had disappeared.

Hopefully, as it is a semi-state body doing the work (ESB) they have been taken away for cleaning prior to replacement? :confused:



Today's image :confused:
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby fergalr » Fri Apr 27, 2007 10:17 am

Maybe it's temporary..? :eek:
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby hutton » Fri Apr 27, 2007 7:42 pm

publicrealm wrote:Today's image :confused:


WTF?

There's no excuse for this :mad:

City Development Plan - Conservation Area Policy H13

"It is the policy of DCC to protect...the historic fabric of conservation areas in the control of development"

Maybe this isn't a C.A. - sure its only abutting Dublin Castle afterall :rolleyes:
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby publicrealm » Fri Apr 27, 2007 9:18 pm

hutton wrote:WTF?

There's no excuse for this :mad:

City Development Plan - Conservation Area Policy H13

"It is the policy of DCC to protect...the historic fabric of conservation areas in the control of development"

Maybe this isn't a C.A. - sure its only abutting Dublin Castle afterall :rolleyes:


It's so bad I actually believe it cannot be as it seems.

I intend to chase DCC on Monday to get to the bottom - I actually can't believe that the ESB would operate in such an irresponsible manner (or that DCC would let them). Call me old fashioned...:D



BTW - I checked and it's not in a Conservation Area!
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Re: Dublin Historic Stone Paving disbelief

Postby Ciaran » Mon Apr 30, 2007 2:22 am

That's so pathetic that I had to check and see if it was April fools day:( Terrible.
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