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    • #706267
      Paul Clerkin
      Keymaster

      Fears of children playing may lead to bridge alteration

      Fears have emerged that Dublin’s newest bridge across the Liffey may be extremely dangerous for children tempted to play on it.

      Dublin City Council said last night that, if necessary, it will amend the design of the new James Joyce Bridge after people expressed anxiety about children climbing on it.

      The council says it is monitoring the activities of children climbing and sliding on the bridge.

      The รขโ€šยฌ8.4 million bridge was opened on Monday by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Mr Dermot Lacey.

      Young people have been seen climbing up and sliding back down the steel arches that rise about 25 feet above the traffic. One man who saw their activities on Monday evening, Mr Gary Leeson, said there was an “obvious safety risk” that the children could fall into either the traffic or the river below.

      A Bridewell Garda station spokesman said there had been a number of calls from members of the public concerned about young people on the bridge.

      “There’s not a lot we can do except tell them to get down. It is dangerous alright. Something awful could happen.”

      A spokeswoman for Dublin City Council said that although standard health and safety checks had been carried out on the bridge before, during and after its construction, “we did not anticipate this activity by the children”.

      She added: “We are monitoring the situation and will amend the design if necessary.”

      The bridge is an integrated part of the North King Street traffic management scheme and has been designed to facilitate buses, in particular.

      According to the deputy city engineer, Mr Tim Brick, it was also built to ” set a high standard of design for an area that was likely to see a lot of new development”.

    • #727619
      Harry
      Participant

      I was at the opening on Monday and it was one thing that struck me. It does seem like an open invitation to the daredevil types !

      “………and will amend the design if necessary.” makes a shiver run though me with images of anti-climb devices.

      I am also amused that the seating does not have some sort of anti-skateboard design incorporated. Surely this is day number one of street furniture design nowadays.

    • #727620
      GregF
      Participant

      I bet they’ll erect big cumbersome ‘Irish fencing’ barricades with barb wire that will ruin the look of the bridge. Me I’d leave anyone whether it be street urchin or drunk who attempts to use it as a slide; they should be left and let fall into their rancid Liffey watery grave as an example to all who attempts the same. Jesus, what is lacking with some people today is ‘responsibility’…..to be responsible for ones own actions….to be responsible for your childrens actions. Everyone is only too willing to blame someone else…. aka compo culture.

    • #727621
      urbanisto
      Participant

      I was going to post something along similar lines but …. fuck it! let the little shits play on the bridge and see what happens!

    • #727622
      Rory W
      Participant

      Absolutely f***ing ridiculous, this is the nanny state at its worst, what next rubber pavements in case people fall over – pathetic pathetic pathetic

    • #727623
      ew
      Participant

      And you can walk on the wall’s of o Connell bridge too – risking a nasty tumble into the liffey. The sooner they get a proper high security fence up on that the safer I’ll feel. I’ve heard you can slip if you stand on the wooded rail of the boardwalk though I’m sure that can’t be true as it has won loads of design awards.

    • #727624
      Niall
      Participant

      I don’t think those involved should touch the bridge. You can fall into the Liffey anywhere along its length.

      Hopefully, the novelty will wear off when the winter approaches and the little ruffins will find something else to do.. like litter and graffiti.

      That reminds me, was it sprayed with anti-vandal paint? Also, once the spike is finalllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllly unveiled… the graffiti will be up within hours!

    • #727625
      urbanisto
      Participant

      A funny related story was an incident about 6 weeks ago where some moron went for a swim (no doubt spurred on by sa,pling the delights fo one of our superpubs) and was left clinging onto the support struts pf the Boardwalk. No doubt he contributed towards the cost of the subsequent rescue operation!

    • #727626
      ew
      Participant

      How soon after construction can you have a structure preserved. Could it be added as is to the protected structures list? Is there any precedent on this?

    • #727627
      emf
      Participant

      I went down to see the bridge yesterday evening. Someone had already managed to puke in front of one of the granite seats. There were two American tourists sitting just over from it admiring the view towards Heuston. Imagine their thoughts!!!!

    • #727628
      bewhelan
      Participant

      When i saw a kid climbing the bridge, the first thing i thought is that the architect forgot a common principle often employed by web and interface designers, that of “affordance”. Certain objects “afford” certain actions and communicate these actions by their appearance. Yes it is true that all the bridges on the Liffey have railings that could be walked on, but the new bridge is designed so that its railings afford or invite walking/ climbing. A simple change in design like simply making the first 4ft of the railing at each end much narrower than it presently is would make climbing on it much less inviting and with good visual design employed would not really harm the look of the bridge. What has happened is just so typical, a design that does not consider actual human use. Anyone could see a mile off this would happen.

    • #727629
      bigjoe
      Participant

      i thought this was the start of an UL at first.
      ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #727630
      urbanisto
      Participant

      I think you are wrong … most people wouldn’t dream of climbing the bridge and I am sure that the designer would be conscious of this and therefore would not need to factor this into his design.

      However, some people will climb something regardless of how much the design dissuades them.

    • #727631
      bewhelan
      Participant

      I know that MOST people would not dream of climbing the bridge. Most people are not climbing it, just a few kids, but that is all it takes to cause problems. The point is that the form the bridge takes does invite and accomodate climbing. MOST people resist this invitation as they care for their personal safety, because of social decorum or because they have better things to do but children often have none of these things. I am not condoning the actions of the children, just saying that a little further thought might have prevented the problem.

    • #727632
      bluefoam
      Participant

      I have to say, the bridge screams ‘Climb Me!’.
      I don’t think the kids are doing anything bad, they are interacting with there environment. It is up to the designer to be aware of the social interaction their product is going to provoke.

      In this case I think it was either an oversight on the designers part, or else he thought it might happen and chose to ignore it.

      Wasn’t the bridge originally designed for a more remote location in Spain. Kids won’t travel to interact with their environment, they will however interact with their immediate surroundings. Maybe this particular bridge would serve better in a rural location with regular to heavy traffic, rather than in an innercity area with a close local population.

      Personally, I quite like the bridge and think it will promote people to enhance the surroundings. In 20 years it will be a great stretch of river!

    • #727633
      urbanisto
      Participant

      If MOST people would not dream of climbing the bridge (for whatever reasons) then the design of the bridge does not ‘invite and accommodate climbing’. Its simply that, as with most low level structures, the bridge can be climbed.

    • #727634
      bewhelan
      Participant

      I think you are missing my point…just because most people do not respond to the invitation does not mean the invitation does not exist. Yes all low level structures can be climbed but to quote bluefoam the structure does yell ‘climb me’ ,whereas not all low level structures do.
      To provide a comparison to explain my point, if a bus shelter is made from wood, people are more likely to write on it than if it is made of glass, though both materials can in fact be written on(this has been proven from studies in the UK). The properties of an object affect how we react to it and in my opinion the design of the bridge does have something about it that suggests climbing. If this is not the case then why are the children climbing it instead of all the other bridge railings on the Liffey?

    • #727635
      bluefoam
      Participant

      I would love to climb the bridge, but my good sense and an aversion to harm tell me otherwise. There are people (including children) who have less inhibition who will climb it. (have my mid twenties caught up with me already? – oh how it feels to get old!)

      It would be a shame to let the council alter the bridge, they should get Calatrava or one of his plebs to come up with a solution. I already have a number of ideas which wouldn’t affect the design greatly.

    • #727636
      bewhelan
      Participant

      Thanks bluefoam, your lighthearted approach gets the point across much better, glad to see i am not alone in my thoughts. It will be interesting to see what is actually done about the problem.

    • #727637
      naz78
      Participant

      It is very sad that these people have nothing better to do with their time. I can’t understand how people can be so thick in this day and age!!! As a result of people playing with the bridge I am so worried that some a**hole is now going to destroy the look of this new structure. Afterall this is Ireland and in Ireland we haven’t a clue how to do anything right. I’d say stupid looking devices will be put on the bridge as a result of these idiots. If they fall in just leave them be because as far as I am concerned it’s their own fault if they do. Bloody a**holes.

    • #727638
      sw101
      Participant

      now thats just not nice naz!

      someone asked earlier if we could slap a preservation order on the thing? why not? its sculpture and art and as a piece it should remain completely intact. i havent seen the bridge close up yet, i’ve had to retire down south for the summer and earn, but what exactly is the problem? where are people getting up? surely a protective structure of glass or fine titanium mesh or something could be erected without detracting from the thing. is this why the bottom 10 metres of the spike are so bloody smooth and shiny? to stop the innocent little mites from following natural childlike attraction to climbable things and try to scale the spike? nice view up there. nice splat down here ๐Ÿ™‚ little dears

    • #727639
      Ocean33
      Participant

      where will the responsibility of the architect/engineer ever stop? if the arches are to be kiddie proof, the benches skater proof, the railings suicide proof!?!? if we’re to progress with innovative design in public amenities, the public themselves must surely accept some responsibility for their own actions and those around them!
      Dublin City Council cant be allowed to throw up some ill conceived short term solution which will be left there til the bridge eventually falls into the filthy river.

    • #727640
      naz78
      Participant

      I am just concerned that they could destroy the look of the bridge by amending it. So many things go wrong in this country. I wouldn’t be surprised if they ruined the look of the bridge, but then again maybe they will do a good job. I understand that Ireland does have some very good projects under construction but something always goes wrong. It is so unfair. I just want for a clean and modern city. I want a city to be proud of. There are so many messer’s out there, so many people that just ruin it all for everyone else. I would hate to see spray paint all over the bottom of the spike for example. If they amend the bridge and do a good job of it i’ll be a happy man.

    • #727641
      ew
      Participant

      I think it’s all a bit of a non story. The Times article quotes Gary Leeson. This is the same Gary Leeson freelance photographer that took the photo of “child on bridge” that accompanies the photo.
      If you vist the bridge when there is no photographer present you are unlikely to see anyone climbing the arch.

    • #727642
      Paul Clerkin
      Keymaster

      ahhhhh its a a bit “drop the dead donkey”

    • #727643
      GregF
      Participant

      as in aka…. the kid was performing for the camera

    • #727644
      urbanisto
      Participant

      I think this is very probable. Hands off our bridge I say….

    • #727645
      notjim
      Participant

      surely it isn’t so hard to solve anyway, maybe a few studs to stop sliding and then some of that paint that never quite dries further up. that won’t stop drunk people, but then climbing buildings when drunk is part of being alive and 20 and nothing will stop you.

    • #727646
      Harry
      Participant

      “If you visit the bridge when there is no photographer present you are unlikely to see anyone climbing the arch.”

      I didn’t see the article in the paper, but my apartment overlooks the bridge and most evenings you can see people running up the side of the main arch and sliding back down. The only photographers that seem to be around are sightseers and tourists.

      It is probably fairly normal for a story to hit the papers in that way, (photographer asking subject to pose) but that does not lessen the validity of the story.

      As well as running up and sliding down the main arch, I have also seen people trying to “shimmy” up the “ropes” that support the carriageway from the arch and skateboarders using the seats as slides.

      It won’t be long until someone decides to go all the way to the top of the arch and falls on some innocent pedestrian.

      This is a public order issue. Indeed, there are many places where people can climb to precarious positions (and sometimes they do!), but not that often and they run the risk of getting in trouble with the law.

      The Gardai regularly set up speed checkpoints less than a hundred metres away and pay no attention to whatever else is happening around them. It is about time they put a bigger presence in the area and tried to put a stop to this and other anti-social behaviour.

    • #727647
      doozer
      Participant

      So it would seem that Calatrava has landed us with a structure that has not taken into account human usage or its surroundings………………..

    • #727648
      Rory W
      Participant

      Wrap the arches in white razor wire – that’ll learn em

    • #727649
      GregF
      Participant

      What are these people…monkeys or something….Jesus, it’s a bridge for god sake ….How many times has one seen a playground installed for ‘bored kids’ and it ends up vandalized.

    • #727650
      doozer
      Participant

      We design structures for the way people are not the way we wish society to be.
      This was an element of the brief that wasn’t addressed, and in fairness hardly a surprising one, I’m amazed at the amount of vitriol aimed at kids who are just messing around in the environment in which they live. That’s what we want people to do- interact. Its probably the only part of this design that’s sparked my interest, but it remains a design issue- not a social one.

    • #727651
      urbanisto
      Participant

      Thats the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard! What you are suggesting is that we shouldn’t blame kids for ‘interacting with their environment’ …even if this interaction involves suspending themselves off a slippery metal girder 20ft over a busy roadway!

      The point has been made: when does the designers responsibility to the surroundings and possible uses of his/her design stop. The possible uses of a design could be considered ad infinitum but eventually you have to stop. People should not be climbing this bridge and if they do and they get hurt then tough! Serves them right.

    • #727652
      GregF
      Participant

      We want people to interact…….by scaling
      the bridge (ah yea …like the way they scale the Eiffel Tower).
      …..hence you end up with graffitti ridden, litter strewn, vandalized, treeless, no go areas of a city….as Dublin has suffered.
      ….the amount of vitriol aimed at kids…..Kids? more like little monsters. The makings of tomorrows gurriers.
      Responsible parenting is the keyword here……and it should bear no relation to poverty. Poverty of the mind morelike.

      ….where’s the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

    • #727653
      doozer
      Participant

      All I’m saying is that this is an inner city area and that people climb on urban structures all over the world (Its not just Dublin kids and the pointless attacks on their behaviour add nothing to the arguement)- is it imposible that Calatrava could have forseen that this would be an issue. Its seems on the contrary that he provided young people with a challenge.
      I’m sorry but that’s where we should draw the line for architect’s responsibility-
      wilful bad and ill- considered design.

      Your right – if they fall it does serve them right, I don’t disagre, but there are levels of acceptable risk and I don’t think this is acceptable from a design point of view.

    • #727654
      doozer
      Participant

      Originally posted by GregF
      We want people to interact…….by scaling
      the bridge (ah yea …like the way they scale the Eiffel Tower).
      …..hence you end up with graffitti ridden, litter strewn, vandalized, treeless, no go areas of a city….as Dublin has suffered.
      ….the amount of vitriol aimed at kids…..Kids? more like little monsters. The makings of tomorrows gurriers.
      Responsible parenting is the keyword here……and it should bear no relation to poverty. Poverty of the mind morelike.

      ….where’s the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

      By the by..tomorrows gurriers.?……..nice

      …snobbish and upper middle class all in one obnoxious phrase….

      (The irony being that the first person to get hurt will probably be a drunk Trinity student!)

    • #727655
      GregF
      Participant

      Na…….no way snobbish bud……I am of such stock which fully qualifies me to give out about such. No pretensions here.

    • #727656
      doozer
      Participant

      Originally posted by GregF
      Na…….no way snobbish bud……I am of such stock which fully qualifies me to give out about such. No pretensions here.

      And there I rest my case.

    • #727657
      GregF
      Participant

      ………hope you practice what you preach too.

    • #727658
      doozer
      Participant

      ??

    • #727659
      potlatch
      Participant

      The problem isn’t the bridge. The problem is knackers. London doesn’t have a problem with people tightroping across the Milennium Bridge.

    • #727660
      bluefoam
      Participant

      The idea that children should be sat in a classroom, told not to move or speak for most of the day, repulses me. Kids should be active, learing from their mistakes. If some people had their way (not mentioning certain people on this forum) we would be locked into the nanny state, kids wouldn’t play, people wouldn’t drink too much etc….

      Have you never done something just for fun? Sometimes silly and dangerous things are fun. Man would never have invented planes or climbed Everest if it hadn’t been for people disregarding the danger element. People need real life experiences to understand how to interact in society, its no good just telling them its bad to do things.

      You are just pi**ed off because you think the pretty bridge will be ruined because of the local kids. Well if the bridge is ruined its due to a design oversight.

      Lets call this item no. one on the snag list.

    • #727661
      GregF
      Participant

      I don’t think we really need a psychology lesson, do we……but bridges are for traffic, playgrounds are for children and orchards are for robbing.

    • #727662
      GregF
      Participant

      …..or is that bridges are for children, traffic are for orchards and playgrounds are for adults.

    • #727663
      bluefoam
      Participant

      I think some people on this board do need psychology lessons.

    • #727664
      bluefoam
      Participant

      …Or analysis

    • #727665
      GregF
      Participant

      Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

    • #727666
      urbanisto
      Participant

      This is all getting very personal and hot tempered… but I have to agree with the point that the bridge is not meant to be climbed. If people choose to put their safety at risk by climbing it then it is a social issue not a design issue. And the fact that they are some one little darlings makes no odds – they shouldn’t be ‘interacting’ with the bridge in this way.

      Its like that other favourite topic…. Le Spire. The spire can be grafittied…. if people choose they can walk up to it and spray it with paint. But they should not. Its not a design issue if they do, its a social issue as in lack of respect for one’s surrounding.

      Also hate that inner city/ outer city class crap… a scumbag is a scumbag whether he lives in town or in D4.

    • #727667
      doozer
      Participant

      Perhaps there’s been a bit of a digression, the issue should not be about so- called knackers or whether we should lock children up!! or what the ethics are for architects to even entertain such theories!.
      Its no secret that I do not like this bridge but however much we scaremonger and moan the population of inner city Dubiln is no worse than many other capital cities in my experience.
      Therefore if a problem like this presents itself almost as soon as the thing is up and open then the responsibility must lie with the design and the designer.
      Come on.

    • #727668
      GregF
      Participant

      Here’s psychology at work here now …..you don’t like the bridge hence you’re argument of ‘it’s not the childrens fault but the designer’ .

    • #727669
      potlatch
      Participant

      There’s a level in design at which public responsibility stops. Otherwise, we’ll end up with a city with guard rails everywhere, continually reminding us that we’re so ignorant that we can’t be trusted to look after our own safety. This sort of pattern repeats itself so often in Irish society. Is there nothing we can be proud of without people spoiling it for us? If kids fall into the Liffey, it won’t be the State’s fault – it’ll be theirs.

      If Dublin did get, say, Foster’s Millennium Bridge, people would probably call for caging so that kids wouldn’t walk on the cables.

      I agree with StephenC: it’s a social issue, not a design issue.

      I’m all for public responsibility in architecture but this has gone too far.

    • #727670
      delta_jacob
      Participant

      i think people are missing the point here… nobody is suggesting that we should lock kids up for being naturally curious/ adventurous. However, it is not the problem of the architect or the corporation if these children decide against common sense to climb the bridge, and they should not be forced to change the design for this reason.

      i say let them climb on it if they want….there is no need to do something extreme like change the design to stop them. i see kids climbing on bridge walls everyday on my way home from work, yet i dont see any newspaper articles about that… this story simply emerged beacause it is a high profile, newly opened bridge. people will forget about it soon enough

    • #727671
      doozer
      Participant

      Originally posted by GregF
      Here’s psychology at work here now …..you don’t like the bridge hence you’re argument of ‘it’s not the childrens fault but the designer’ .

      Actually I drew attention to the fact to emphasise the opposite.
      Anyway I could use the same logic for you if you like the design. Its a bit of a nonsensical aurguement.

      As for social problem v design problem, this is a fairly big fuck up for it to be the publics fault entirely. And I don’t buy it. Like I said, its a grey area but in this instance the man just didn’t think the thing out.

    • #727672
      GregF
      Participant

      Na….. if there was a major fault with the bridge I’d criticize it…….but there is not.
      It is a social problem instead.
      Personal prejudices should not get in the way of forming opinions either.
      The arch like structures have continously been used in most of Calatrava’s bridges around the world….yet one never hears of complaints of people using them as slides. Maybe because there is an element of urban respect that exists in those societies….which we lack somewhat here in Ireland.
      We Irish are somewhat new to urban living I suppose when compared to other societies….. and social deprivation too is a factor for this disrespectfullness…….but irresponsible actions by people should not be defended so vehemently on such grounds.

    • #727673
      doozer
      Participant

      Disrespectful to Calatrava????? WTF?

      Anyway since when did design begin and end with whether the thing stands up and looks pretty? You have more of a responsibility than that!

      As for not hearing about similar problems with other designs.
      It seems in the course of this bridge’s contruction there has been alot of stuff brought to light that we didn’t know about this designer.

      At the end of the day I don’t think they should alter the bridge at all. If you get hurt its your own tough luck (put up a sign so the can’t get sued or something) but its a failure in urban design and it should be considered a failure for the architect.

    • #727674
      GregF
      Participant

      Jesus your’re right …..maybe they should have designed it like the boring and miserly Frank Sherwin bridge up the river.

    • #727675
      doozer
      Participant

      There, you see, I knew you’d come round in the end. Don’t you feel better!

    • #727676
      GregF
      Participant

      grrrrrrrrrrrrrr………..

    • #727677
      sw101
      Participant

      children. stop it.

      the point has been made that it seems some people on this forum would like a nanny state where kids are locked up and made sit down, ppl dont drink etc.

      what kind of nanny state would it be if every climbable object were to be gaurded against? why should the overriding concept of a design for public space be to make it litiation proof? the first fool to fall of that bridge will make a fortune and then it’ll be spoiled for everyone. it should be a sueable offence to sue a person for your own stupidity.

      anyone read michael moores “stupid white men”? hes right about this country and others like it outside the u.s. we’re going to shit

    • #727678
      ew
      Participant

      There was a similar case somewhere outside Dublin earlier in the year. It was a large sculpture that was removed from a town center (or was it modified?) as there was a risk that someone could climb up the indentations on the side of it like steps. Does anyone recall the details? There were a few photos in the papers at the time…

    • #727679
      Rory W
      Participant

      Since when did we abdicate all responsibility of parenting to an architect? As a child I used to go the Grand Canal locks around by me – if I fell in (25 ft drop) into an empty lock when titting about and died it would have been my own fault, and not the fault of the opw. What is wrong with this country that everything has to be pc and self-effacing. Christ since we have got money in this country we have become a right shower of right-on twats.

      If I crashed my car – would I demand that the design of the car was changed – no. We need to grow up and take responsibility for ourselves and our children’s actions.

    • #727680
      emf
      Participant

      All the people complaining on this thread about the behaviour of children must have very short memories. Every child since the dawn of time has a natural desire to climb and explore, (hence the inclusion of climbing frames in childrens playgrounds I suppose). Children (although there are a lot of adults out there too) do not readily see the dangers of their actions. Whatever about calling children, who actually inflict pain on others, gurriers etc I don’t its fair to tar a child with the same brush when they suddenly see the mother of all climbing frames suddenly appear across a river near them.
      I can make the comment about childrens natural actions because I still remember climbing every tree I could find as a child and looking back on it now am surprised I wasn’t killed by some of the falls I experienced!!!
      (I don’t think they should do anything with the bridge by the way!!!)

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