April 20, 2005 at 11:29 pm #707796
Maybe slightly OTT architecturally speaking,but important nonetheless is the question of what,if any standards Dublin City Council apply to or require of Carriageway Reinstatement works folowing on from repairs etc.
My attention was initially drawn by the Councils in-house Motorized Entrenching Battallion arriving in Dawson Street to excavate and relay the area in front of Hodges Figgis which had come asunder quite spectacularly in recent times.
Some facets of this offensive took my notice,the first being the typical Dublin City Council administrative approach to such works on a (VERY) strategic section of City Street…..They don`t have an “Approach” full stop.
In the case of Lwr Dawson St the time honoured tradition was folowed to the letter as the Men and Machinery arrived and simply began deep entrenchment and backfilling duties which involved excavators,dump-trucks,6-wheel tippers and a vairety of other construction materiel.
The realization that Dawson St is in fact a main artery feeding general traffic towards the Airport and also a vital component of the N11 QBC into the City Centre appears not to have,as yet,dawned upon the denizens of Wood Quay.
Thus Dawson St continued to attempt to operate “Au Normale” with some of Dublins busiest Bus Routes still attempting to gain access to their stops which remain in full use oblivious to the serious destruction and construction work progressing about them.
Even worse is the DCC non-approach to Pay-and-Display on street car parking which ensured that this lucrative pastime continued unrestricted along the ENTIRE eastern front side,parallelling the trench being excavated on the Western side.
This facet alone reduced the street to a single lane for Northbound traffic,a lane which simply ceased to function at all if a Bus arrived to fill the space whilst disembarking passengers at the staunchly standing Stops.
My opinion is that this Non-Approach towards a safety related Traffic Management Plan for such locations during Re-instatement works verges on professional malpractice and is something which appears to be endemic in Dublins Administrative culture.
Is Dublin City Council required to apply best practice in relation to public safety issues which their necessary street works bring with them.
Is there a nominated,suitably qualified proffesional who assumes responsibility for the manner in which such work is carried out.
During recent visits to London I witnessed far smaller scale works adjacent to Bus Stops which resulted in Transport for London (TfL) firstly decommissioning the Bus Stop and erecting a temporary “Dolly” Stop at a suitable safe area as close as safely practicable to the original.
In addition the Metropolitan Police coned off both the inbound “Glide slope” and Take off Ramp to and from the stop to deter car parking,which had already witnessed the Pay-and -Display machine being hooded and declared Machina Non-Grata for the duration of the pavement works.
This approach is apparently viewed as the Work of Satan by those in Civic Offices who,having managed to get away with the “non-approach” in the O Connell st rejuvenation works are happy to consider themselves as being on-a-roll in such matters.
This is only one example of a rather lack lustre approach to managing such work in Dublin and leads on to the wider topic of the Standards of the actual civil engineering itself.
There is to me a noticible decline in general CE standards which has allowed the most favoured CE subcontractors to become almost untouchable as long as they meet the quantity requirements rather than devote too much time or effort into quality.
There are many locations within Dublin City Centre where this imbalance is all to readily Seen and Felt but very few as comprehensive as the stretch of Mount Street from Holles St to The Schoolhouse Hotel at the Canal.
This patchwork quilt of a street at one point or other appeared to have been dug up by every Telecomms provider in Ireland and some from further afield in the quest for telephonic profit.
However,as a result,Mount Street now resembles a gigantic washboard with nary a stetch which does not have a fissure or ridge for an unsuspecting rider/driver to feel up through the seat of their pants.
Yet the relevant “Statutory Bodies” appear to have Paid-Out without and quality audit or assumption of responsibility for for the shoddy work which now typifies Our Capital City`s Roads and Streetscape.
Will anything be done to allieviate this….I doubt it….But I suppose if the Yanks can elect their Sherriff`s then we should be able to Elect our City Management……..and to DEselect them……
April 22, 2005 at 11:23 am #753014urbanistoParticipant
This is a very good post Alek and I agree with you completely. Having lived in London it is dramatic the difference in road surface quality between the two cities. In understand that the CC is not exactly flush with money but the state that the roads of this city are in is as much a management issue than one of adequate funding. Recent road improvement works to a QUALITY Bus Corridor and cycle lane near my home were laughable. The road was widened and the section between the original carraigeway and the new paths now resembles a BMX obstacle course. Its unbeliveably bad workmanship and all the more irritating because you know its cost a fortune.
The condition of most city centre streets is utterly attrocious. A number road improvment works wer announced last year – Capel St, Pearse St for example but I havent seen any progress. Even areas given recent treatment look dreadful. The Hawkins St/ Townsend St are in particular has to be the worst example of road engineering in the city.
April 25, 2005 at 2:19 am #753015
Indeed Stephen,I am more concerned about the very noticeable deterioration in standards applying to Roads Maintenance.
Much of the work appears to be carried out in a haphazard manner both in the planning and execution of the job.
In fact having had an opportunity to sample the Dawson St “Patches” I can now see that these will soon begin to peel as the joins between the old and new surfaces are far from being sealed.
To me it always appears as if DCC`s Professionals have little or no idea of the amount of damage done by for example water ingress beneath the road surface.
Take a ramble around Dublin City after a period of heavy rain and take note of the numbers of Holes opened by the flushing out of the shovelfull`s of Chippings so beloved of DCC`s Paving Dept for decades….
Nobody within the City Council appears to have any responsibility for devising and administering acceptable MINIMUM standards which the Contractors MUST meet …..Is it a case of too close a relationship tween Paymaster and Payee I wonder…?????
April 28, 2005 at 2:48 am #753016
Well just to prove that this thread would not actually be acted upon in Civic Offices, yesterday (27th) saw some SUPER civil works being carries out in the CC.
The most enthusiastic was the arrival of some DCC staff in a small pick-up truck to the collapsed portion of the Leeson St Contra-Flow Bus Lane at the Pembroke St junction.
The bould DCC men unloaded a Wheelbarrow and filled it with some tar and chippings which they then proceeded to transfer into the fissure.
The mixture was then tapped gingerly with their shovels and Bus Drivers were even guided to position their wheels over the pieces which needed tamping..
But the evening witnessed a rather comprehensive exhibition of various civil works contractors carrying out trenching works at various locations in the City Centre.
The most dangerous and slipshod of these was in Suffolk St where the excavation was at the actual Bus Stops for both Dublin Bus and Aircoach.
Added to this was the presence of the hoarding outside the old Ulster Bank which is being refurbished.
At no point in the proceedings did ANY functionary from either Dublin City Council or Dublin Bus consider it worth their time or efffort to take action to reduce or eliminate the risk to both pedestrians and intending Bus Passengers.
It appears that both entities operate on the basis of “Ah sure they`ll be only there for a few hours”
The evening was somewhat rescued in a way by a serious Road Traffic Accident on Dawson St which necissated the Diverting of Traffic away from the entire area,a course of action which should have been implimented for the duration of the Suffolk St work.
The awful disaster on Wellington Quay appears top have faded from collective Civic and Corporate memory but one thing is for certain and that is the speed at which such accidents happen does not allow for such slipshod and amateurish inaction as was witnessed last evening.
In addition to this there were similarly non-managed sites at Tara St/Pearse St/D`Olier st which caused difficulties for Traffic and pedestrians.
Once again the common thread appears to be Speed-“The get stuck in and get it finished quick” principle in the hope that nobody will notice or complain.
The various contractors involved all appear to be content to disregard any or all safety regulations both for their own staff and for unfortunates who might just happen to be passing by.
This attitude of course allows for Maximum Profit from the Job and when added to a compliant and inactive City Administration is really a prime example of the Golf Course contracting principle.
All I wish to see is some evidence that the well paid and supposedely professional Civil Engineering fraternity are actually required to take an overview of the Works being carried out and to also be FORCED to make Traffic Arrangements in line with Best Practice in Safety Terms.
The present exhibitions of such works in the City almost totally rely on the skill and awareness of individual Drivers to ensure public safety.
If the City Manager and Director of Traffic are prepared to preside over and encourage this continuing dangerous practice then they should be required to make public any Safety Statements in relation to such contracted works.
The reality for me is that if this was London and the carry on I saw last evening was attempted,it would be allover the Local TV and Papers and somebody would be looking for resignations….But hey !!….It`s only the Brits that do that sort of thing…Paddy will keep his head down till it all blows over….Tiochfaidh ar LÃ indeed…. 😡
April 28, 2005 at 1:01 pm #753017kefuParticipant
I’ve blown out two tyres in recent months driving over potholes around town. The standard of road surface is unbelievable.
It’s no wonder there are so many jeeps on the road. And no wonder Advance Pitstop and the like have so many shops around town.
April 28, 2005 at 6:15 pm #753018dowlingmParticipant
Toronto is just starting road works season. We have a lot of potholes too. Toronto does have weather which varies between -30C in January and +35C in August though. They would kill for Dublin’s problems!
April 29, 2005 at 12:20 am #753019
Just to keep the spirits up…..It appears the Suffolk St works are ESB inspired as two of their vans were parked opposite the excavation this evening whilst two ESB staff poked and prodded their way around a bunch of cables in the Hole.
The Dublin Bus Stop was simply taken out of the ground and thrown on a heap of spoil.
Nobody from Dublin Bus appeared to have enough interest in the situation to organize any alternative safe stopping point and intending passengers continued to run about in semi-panic unsure of where to wait for their bus.
This situation is now in it`s third day and the motto appears to be “Nobody`s been Killed yet”
April 29, 2005 at 10:34 am #753020
As humourously as you treat the issue, agreed that such practices are deadly serious. Especially any works involving bus lanes, bus stops and their patrons; they ought to be treated with the utmost care.
I agree that Wellington Quay seems to have faded from the collective memory – there was a discernable change in practice amongst bus drivers’ habits alone post-incident, but they’re revving up and swerving in and out of bus stops as quickly as ever now.
I was on Suffolk St this morning – the works described do seem to have been related to the ESB providing power to the old BoI across the road – digging a channel across. The large hole in the pavement at the bus stop has be appallingly filled in with that loose tar chipping material – lightly compacted down. Much of it is loose, with a raised circular ring of it left around a litter bin, itself dumped back down lopsided.
A large granite kerbstone is missing where the channel moved across the road, which has also been filled in with tar – essentially the material runs out from the pavment, into the kerb hole, and spills out loosly onto the road. There are chippings everywhere that haven’t even been swept up yet – yet the place deserted of workers.
It is a disgraceful finish. And 1000s of bus users step directly down onto it.
Even if it is temporary, why should it be?! Why wasn’t the original surface and kerbstone immediately reinserted?
April 30, 2005 at 3:46 am #753021
Thanks Graham for your continuing responses as they reassure me that SOMEBODY else notices the haphazard and dangerous manner in which these matters are handled.
For me it is a issue of basics.
There is little point in Government Ministers,City Managers or Traffic Tszars lining up to launch the newest Multi-Billion Euro Motorway,LRT,QBC or Underground system if they continue to completely ignore the BASICS…The ABC`s of how a living City requires effective and efficient MANAGEMENT of its infrastructure.
All around Dublin I am struck by the locations where in Public Transport terms very great Improvements in Bus Operations could be had for the spending of relatively small amounts of money,yet nobody within the very restricted and almost Masonic order of Civic Governors appears to give a toss about taking a close interested peek at how the Systems operate.
It`s much sexier to adhere to the Seamus Brennan principle and get yourself space on Media by announcing yet another new Billion Euro idea which of course just requires a few final touches before its operational.
In my experience those final touches never come.
It`s why DART steamed along for 20 years through Stations which had not altered since Wm Dargans Day.
Can anybody justify why it took 20 years to electrically illuminate the vast majority of the Dart Stations to at least give some semblance of a safe environment for Commuters travelling after dark.
Can anybody explain why each and every major Office and Retail Development in the City Centre was passed through the full planning system without ANYBODY in the City Council even mentioning how perhaps a small element of Public transport copmpatibility might perhaps make the Council somewhat more amenable to the overall proposal..?
Blackmail ?…Perhaps ,but I would see it as making a real move toward freeing Dublins Citizens from their imposed reliance of the private car.
The Irish Life Centre.
The Ilac Centre.
The Stephens Green Centre.
The Arnotts Redevelopment.
The Parnell Centre…..on and on one could go with the only common thread being that there is not space for a Public Service Bicycle in ANY of them.
This lack of BASIC comprehension is what is causing the steady progression of the collapse of the shoddy physical infrastructure we struggle to get along with.
Take a good close look at the state of the Stillorgan QBC,focus on the heavily utilized stops,notice how the carriageway is sinking,notice the wheel spaced depressions and the transverse cracking of the Tarmacadam.
The original specs of the QBC`s called for little more than a tin of paint and a brush and nobody saw fit to ask why if we were planing on such a vast improvement in Bus Services did we not strengthen the road surfaces beneath all these extra fully laden vehicles…..
Until and unless there is an infusion of NEW and INTERESTED talent into Dublins Administrative authorities then I reckon the Wheelbarrow and the Shovelful of Chippin`s will continue to typify our attitude to these matters.
We are now entering a Bank Holiday weekend Graham and I would be prepared to wager on Suffolk St remaining untouched at least until Tuesday……UNLESS of course there is an accident/incident…..THAT tends to concentrate the Proffessional mind to a degree not equalled by anything else. 😡 😡
May 1, 2005 at 10:28 pm #753022
May 5, 2005 at 1:34 pm #753023
Just on the theme of CC-bashing, on Gardiner St this morning there was a CC worker painting a heritage litter bin with gloopy black gloss paint – fair enough, getting some treatment for once.
But upon finishing, he gets up, puts his can of paint & brush in his bicycle basket – and cycles off!
No Wet Paint signs, no cordons, no tape – nothing!
I just wonder how many people are walking around the city now with black tarry streaks down their sides…
I mean really – what ignorance. What if you’re wearing light coloured clothes – esp women in business suits etc?! Not that Gardiner St is exactly renowned for its power-dressers, but still, there’s plenty of white tracksuit bottoms to be destroyed 🙂
You wouldn’t have that happening on the southside. A couple of sheets of paper is all it takes.
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