Re: Re: The Skehan/Sirr plan

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That sums it up really. This distance to these places is not in dispute Frank – though the end destination of Brides Glen where development is proposed is a full 40 minutes from St. Stephen’s Green – rather it is the commuting model it generates. Indeed, the fact that this line was paid for, or eventually will be paid for, by private developers merely confirms the developer-led nature of this ‘planning’. I reject the notion that this even is planning – a 13 year old in geography class can come up with a case study of light rail line and ‘clusters’ or ‘hubs’ of development around stations. But it is not real planning in a comprehensive, rounded sense, based on principles of building communities around local employment, services, leisure and recreational facilities, nor about caring for the health of the nation’s capital. Yes, these hubs may have an office block or three and an hotel, suggesting town or urban status, but token speculative ventures mixed in with overwhelmingly residential content does not make a sustainable town. They still depend on somewhere else to make living there bearable.

I’m not saying we’re the only ones struggling with this – many European cities are using the same model as we speak, with soulless, planned high density residential suburbs with a token office building connected by a purpose-built rail line to the nearby urban centre. But at least the urban centre in question is generally vibrant, dense and well populated – Dublin city is not. And these new suburbs, if dull, are at least cycling and highly family friendly, making strong nods towards sustainability. This I would wager is not the case in the Dublin instance.

Furthermore, at Brides Glen, a vast park and ride facility has been built to cater for the immediate residential population who still need to drive there, but also the vast swathe of one-off housing and low density housing estates built over the past thirty years in the hinterlands. The line actively encourages long distance commuting to Dublin city and in turn negates the development potential of the city it claims to serve. In addition to the journey times mentioned earlier, even the 22 minutes from Central Park quoted by Frank, add at least ten minutes at either end to that for real door-to-door commuting time, and it tips over the comfortable 30 minute commute recognised internationally. The stations further beyond this point, and if aided by a car, can easily tip over an hour. Compare the same journey within the city from home door to office door – not to mention the potential to be done by bicycle – and the contrast is marked.

Brian Cowen stated at the opening that: “This new extension of the Green Luas Line is a further development in our infrastructure investment programme which offers sustainable public transport and paves the way for the creation of a fully integrated network.” Neither of the two principal points can be said to be true. Indeed, if this line could only have been built by public money, very simply it would never have been built. Because it should not have been built if we were serious about consolidating Dublin city. An ‘integrated network’ would involve the rollout of Luas within the city. This disintegrates whatever limited network Dublin has, and the chances for a better one.

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