Re: Re: Fair Play to Starbucks

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The Village now had two LRT stations and Four Bus routes including the radial 18 route ALL of which should have been the focus,in Transport Terms,for mass movement into and out of the Village,with the private car being relegated to a much reduced role WITHIN the area from Charemont St Bridge to Marlborough Road on the East/West axis and Leeson Park to Mountpleasant Ave on the North/South axis.

The area enclosed by that boundary,essentially the village would have benefited greatly from the halving of on-street car parking combined with the widening of the Kerbs in the Village itself and us of the former “Triangle” ( Now sitting there unused and mute testimony to a City Administration unable to deal with heaven sent micro opportunities,but full of desires for Multi-Billion madcap schemes).

I am glad to hear someone at last, has managed to highlight the current state of Ranelagh village. Our apparent lack of capability as a nation to make anything out of these places. Ranelagh is something of a ‘clampers’ paradise. Clampers have taken to Ranelagh, in much the same way the taxi drivers invaded the urban space that was Fosters Place. The clampers strike me as ‘chicken and egg’ kind of guys. Becasue if people behaved and didn’t park illegally, then the clampers would be out of business. It is in the clamper’s best interest, to punish people in the short term, but have NO INCENTIVE to educate car users to behave better in the longer term, and to respect the urban environment. As far as the clampers are concerned, people parking badly, are heaven sent. Because the badly behaved car user in Dublin is their only source of revenue. 80 Euro for every offense, it is good work if you can get it.

This is what worries me a lot about separate private and public bodies being set up, to deal with every aspect of the environment and its management. It seems we have ‘outsourced’ the job of caring for the environment in so many different ways – to so many different bodies and interests. You have a separate body set up now, just to deal with Road Safety, which has been granted all kinds of powers. Developers building in the city centre will tell you, 5-6 million Euro flows directly out of their site and into the pockets of Dublin city council. Just to pay for different fees, taxes, studies and reports. It has been allowed to get so bad, that developers are skeptical now about the profit margins remaining for development on city centre sites. I am disappointed and disheartened, to say the least, that Ranelagh village has become a clampers paradise – when it had the potential to become a transportation hub and centre, for the whole city. Our vision for how we develop our environment, is simply too small.

As you have outlined in your post above – we seem good at taking those nasty ‘police’ kind of negative opportunities, but we fail to see the more positive opportunities. The nasty police kind of option requires us to set up some public service body, or outsource to some private company – and then the problem – is effectively taken out of our laps, it becomes someone elses. Pass the buck – that is what the Irish seem to be great at doing – as long as it doesn’t land in your lap, then you have done very well. Sometimes we see the opportunity in front of us, but we don’t want to take the initiative. This is why I mention the ‘developer’s dilemma’ – that of seeing a lot opportunites in Dublin to develop in a positive way, but knowing also, the fees and taxes the state will manage to extract from the site and the development. This is what gives an Irish developer, an incentive to by-pass Dublin altogether and go to Turkey or Beiruit or the middle of Africa!

Instead of TRYING to move forward with a new and eminently achievable Public Transport centred vision what we have is Bus Atha Cliath REDUCING one of its main trunk routes the 48A and now looking at ways and means of rationalizing the other main through route the 11. Part of the rationale behind this it is thought comes from a Luas inspired downturn in Passenger Numbers,however I precieve that downturn as being more due to the lack of any structured Bus Priority measures along the South Side of the 11 route and even less on the poor old 18.

I know from personal experience, if you are standing in Ranelagh at 8.30 on a weekend morning and trying to get anywhere on time, you can just forget it if you are waiting for a bus. Might as well phone work and say, I might make it by 10.30 – save a bun for me at the 11am coffee break.

This lack of infrastructural support has led to journey times which are completely unsustainable by any rational minded customer,most of whom go off and buy a moped,bicycle or car…immediately adding to the misery of the Real Ranelagh.

I agree, Ranelagh village’s situation is disgraceful – it is being allowed to slide downhill gradually. Blaming it on LUAS, is a convenient excuse used by transport departments not to look at the matter properly. The idea of passing the buck again, someone elses responsibility. There is an attitude that Ranelagh is only for a few tired and lazy students who leave their cosy beds at a quarter to nine and catch an 11B out to Belfield. If you go a 10 minute walk down the road to Donnybrook, the whole thing works because you have the width of street needed to accomodate a busy through bus service. It is interesting actually to compare the two.

You can find something I observed here, Belfield Campus and Bus Service, about Belfield campus and the way in which bus routes have been organised to use Belfield as an unofficial bus depot. Because Belfield is just so large, as the quays along the Liffey are, or O’Connell St and West Moreland Street avenue is – you simply do not appreciate how MANY buses remain parked all day long in those places. Dublin Bus have always had a talent for spotting large open spaces all over the city, and using them as bus parks. Which really leads you to wonder, what are all of those people man-ing those vehicles actually being paid to do? ? ?

But getting back to Ranelagh, one final observation I would like to make, is how coffee shops there in the morning do quite a good trade on ‘coffee-to-go’. I mean, you can place a car on a footpath there for 5, while you nip into a coffee shop and get your take-away. I do think planners should be aware of it. That coffee shops who target sites at corners and junctions, on busy routes, are really going to affect peoples’ behaviour in cars, so that people will park the car temporarily on footpaths etc – normally new Porsches – and use the coffee shop like a drive-through. This surely is the opposite to the way Ranelagh should be trying to go. Everyone I know says, they ‘like Ranelagh village’, but if they really did like Ranelagh village that much, they would see it has its problems and would be interested in trying to look more closely at the problems.

If the Ministers were to allocate me a budget of €1.5 Million I believe I could devise and impliment some small-scale trafic and Public Transport centred measures which would reduce the Number 11 south side journey time by approximately 5 mins per bus journey at peak and perhaps more off peak allowing for an increased frequency throughout the day and into the night (A Must for a truly useable Village scenario)

Not to mention the trouble with 11 buses getting through Drumcondra and city centre in the mornings. If you look at the 11B service from Grafton Street to Belfield, it is never affected as badly. The trouble for me, with the 11B service, is that is stops in Belfield and doesn’t continue going out further. This is my point really about Belfield and bus transport – when you have this large city campus the bus routes either side of it – decide to use the campus as a bus park. It is a nice and large, quiet place where you can hide many buses and have a good old snooze for yourself. If you stand at the East entrance to Belfield in the mornings you can count one bus every 10 seconds or so, turning straight into Belfield and parking there. If that isn’t a cozy option I don’t know what.

We don’t seem to have the right eyeballs looking at our city and the way in which it functions – far too many toes you could thread upon, I assume. Far too many large egos and demi-gods. Too many separate public and private institutions which are worried about their own self-preservation. I mean, when you think about universities, and all of those buses travelling out to Belfield in the mornings with 4 students on board – you have to think of LUAS going through UCD, or going through DCU or the new DIT site at GrangeGorman. I hate to say it, but Tallaght Institute of Technology is probably one of those few campuses in Dublin now, which does have a proper, regular transportation system to service it. I don’t think buses are the correct way to think about servicing a University. Does anyone here know of university campuses that are serviced by a rail system, or light rail system?

Mind you my plan would greatly inconvience those who “Stick her up on the kerb” and nip in for a Paper-Single-Kebab-Pizza etc BUT we have to Make some choices here if the Village ethos is to be meaningfully retained and expanded….

Yeah, it would be a real shame if Ranelagh were to lose the Porsche driving yuppies stopping for take away at the village, while speeding out to Sandyford to work in Microsoft.

Brian O’ Hanlon.

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