Re: Re: Dorset St (Upper)

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@Dublin City Council wrote:

Dorset Street and Canal Area Plan

Urban and Village Renewal Programme (
The Plan was approved in 2001 as one of two areas in Dublin to benefit from funding under the above DOE/EU programme. The aim of the measure is to provide financial support for a range of interventions to upgrade cities, to make them more attractive places in which to live and work, encourage social and economic development of tourism and tourist related activities

The Dorset Street/Canal Area Plan focuses on a substantial area of the North Inner City. The area encompasses the spine of Dorset Street, The Royal Canal. Despite its strategic location in relation to the city centre, and the strength of some of its components, the area has suffered from an image of decay and low investment.

In May 2002, the Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern unveiled a major rejuvenation plan for the Dorset Street area. Initially the plan was to concentrate on improving the Dorset Street corridor from Drumcondra to Capel Street plus the nearby Royal Canal. This would also provide for improvements to the nearby areas of Mountjoy Square, Summerhill, Ballybough, Hardwick Street, and Dominick Street etc. This plan was prepared to tackle the challenges posed for the area, and to compliment a number of existing improvements.

After a period of consultation with the local community and businesses in the area, the following key aspects of the plan were identified. Improving the quality of paving, lighting, street furniture and planting, Furthermore to maintain and restore the water body of the Royal Canal, to establish opportunities for infill development and improved streetscape, to provide new/improved play facilities, and to introduce CCTV systems.

To date the following have been achieved in addressing these priorities:

· The refurbishment of No.15 Henrietta Street to house Na Piobairi Uillean Interpretive and Heritage Centre.
· The installation of a high quality children’s playground in Mountjoy Square Park.
· The complete resurfacing of the carriageway on Dorset Street.
· The opening of a Dublin City Council Area Office on Dorset Street to cater for the provision of services for local residents.
· A precinct improvement programme at Sheridan Court, including the installation of security railings, hard and soft landscaping, lighting and repaving.
· The refurbishment of the tow-paths along the canal from Summerhill Parade to Jones Road and from Cross Guns Bridge to Binns Bridge, including the installation of new lighting and CCTV cameras, the resurfacing of the tow-paths and the erection of a statue to Brendan Behan.
· The completion of the section from Whithworth Road to St. Alphonsas Road. A tree-lined central median has been installed on the East and West side.

By the end of November we will see the completion of the section from Binns Bridge to Eccles Place. The final section of the canal from Jones Road to Binns Bridge is also due for completion along with the installation of a new pocket park, including a children’s playground, for Portland Place.
(Taken from: )

“major rejuvenation” my arse – we are 5 years on and the only noticeable changes are:

– Dorset St is now a central axis in DCCs Inner Orbital Route
– A few trees being planted in the central median, a couple of months before the election. There are no plans to extend this as far as Capel St/ Bolton St junction, which would have struck me as the logical starting/ finishing point.
– The little bit of landscaping outside the flats as photod by Graham, which I also like. Ftr this scheme was designed by Mitchell and Assocs.

Whats really needed here is a strategic assessment – not the (albeit well-meaning) superficial treatment that is then described as a “major rejuvenation”.

A couple of points that I have noted about the street:

1 On the City Development Plan maps, it is marked down as “Dorset St Corridor“: this speaks volumes about how it is viewed and so then how it is treated. It is somewhere to drive thru as opposed to being of merit in itself – something which I believe is having a devestatingly crippling effect on the adjacent areas in that this spinal street divides as opposed to uniting this area.

2 Road markings, parking arrangements, and footpaths have not been altered since the 1980s – despite it being on the Inner Orbital Route; hence at various places 2 lanes merge into 1, while at other spots parking may or may not be allowed according to the time of day. There is no sense of permanency or structure in these arrangements; the st serves a purpose to the wider community in terms of thru-traffic, but this should be managed in a way that does not deprive the street of functioning within its own terms.

3 It is a hostile environment for the pedestrian and non-car users; footpaths should be dramatically widened – especially in the context of the above, where there are currently just useless half-lanes. Traffic refuges and islands – not a dualer / parnell st style median please – should be inserted at strategic locations such as the junctions with Blessington St, Eccles St etc.

4 An environmental and architectural audit desperately needs to be carried out. Certain buildings have charm or architectural interest but are lost in the current context; this includes blind arcaded windows in 18 c terraced buildings, the disgracefully run-down home of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the fire station, and the terrace of what should be grade A georgians at the corner with Blessington St – which are unfortunately covered in gray render. Any regeneration worth its salt would target these as a landmark project for repointing etc.
Another significant problem is the lack of engagement by many properties with the st; one could make an exception for the gothic revival corner of Dominick St Lwr, but there are many others for which there is no excuse – such as the flats on the corner of Dominick St Upr which are perpendicular to the st… And then theres the massive site formerly occupied by a garage opposite the former wax museum (Mongeys, I think); I have checked in woodquay and could find no record of an application on this site – if this is simply site-hoarding, then it is completely unacceptable and should be CPO’ed under 212 of the 2000 act. It is a priority that this be redeveloped to a high spec

But aside from all of this, the relationship of usage is very important; what cultural institutions can you think of on the st that you would ever go to? Perhaps in relocating the central library maybe DCC should look at the venitian fire station. Before density is looked at, I suggest usage should be targeted – and only then should it be looked at upping the density in an overall conext, imo. Time for a “Dorset St District” as opposed to “Corridor”? 😉

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