Why are roads looked upon as the main answer to the transport crises

Home Forums Ireland Why are roads looked upon as the main answer to the transport crises

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    • #706333
      Brian Hanson

      This half-century old Anglo-American mentality still exsists in Ireland. We really have to get serious about rail transport to end this carry on. How many new high-speed and dedicatied rail lines could be built for the cost of widening the M50 which will just filled up again?

      Maybe the problem is that when civil engineers and planners go to college are they hear about from the 40+ lecturers is “motorways” and nothing else. We need to cop on in this country that there are other ways of reducing traffic by giving people a real alternative.

      M50 reaches ‘crisis capacity’
      From:The Irish Independent
      Tuesday, 15th July, 2003

      Motorway needs extra lane each way and bigger junctions to keep traffic flowing

      THE biggest motorway in the country cannot cope with the volumes of traffic now using it.

      And the gloomy outlook for the tens of thousands of motorists who use the M50 every day is that it is going to get much worse.

      It will be at least five years – more likely ten – before the crisis can be eased, experts said yesterday.

      It needs an extra lane added in each direction and massive construction of ‘spaghetti’ junctions at current intersections to make it possible for cars to join or leave the motorway without impeding the flow of traffic.

      Such a major overhaul is estimated to cost an estimated €750m.

      Given the extent of restraints on expenditure, the prospect of action is limited.

      Even if work began in the morning, it would take years to complete such is the complexity of the work on the major junctions in particular.

      Yesterday, a senior figure with National Toll Roads (NTR) revealed that the current two-lane M50 cannot cope.

      Even additional lanes won’t solve the problem, unless the critical access and exit junctions are radically restructured, according to NTR’s Tony McClafferty.

      The managing director of NTR’s road division said the M50 is now at “crisis capacity”.

      And when the Port Tunnel is on stream it will add another 6,000 heavy goods vehicles each way each day on to the motorway.

      Mr McClafferty’s West-Link toll booths have been criticised for contributing to the gridlock with demands for the barriers to be lifted at peak times to reduce the tailbacks that occur.

      But, with new lanes across the bridge now coming on stream, he was adamant the major problem lies with inadequate junctions and the overall traffic carrying capacity of the M50.

      He said: “It is clear the two-lane M50 cannot cope. Intersections are the key problem. They are the source of the logjams. And the Red Cow is going to get worse with Luas.”

      Mr McClafferty was responding to questions at a briefing for motoring journalists on the extra lanes on the West-Link.

      He said the decision to alleviate the current M50 crisis is a political one.

      With “real vision” and around €750m, National Roads Authority plans could be implemented relatively quickly. But it would require “real political will”.

      But the underlying message for motorists was blunt: without immediate action they will have to endure the daily nightmare for years to come.

      The situation is so critical that minor incidents are having major traffic repercussions along the length of the motorway.

      While the complete upgrade of the M50 would take years, it may be possible to begin to work on sections in a piecemeal fashion.

      If there is no upgrade, the NTR believes there is “absolutely no doubt” that M50 traffic will become an even bigger problem.

      They base their predictions on a number of key factors.

      Dublin Airport will attract an extra one million passengers a year, many of them using the M50 to get there and back.

      The explosion of business and shopping centres means traffic is increasing at off-peak times, especially on Saturdays and Sundays.

      The population of adjoining counties is increasing, car ownership in the Greater Dublin Area has increased by 70pc, and traffic on the M50/West-Link is up 65pc.

      Eddie Cunningham Motoring Correspondent

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    • #734655
      Andrew Duffy

      How many high speed and decicated rail lines could be built for €750m? None. We could build about two kilometres of low speed metro rail. I’m sure you won’t find anyone who is getting compensated at land rates comparable to the price of an oilfield for losing a three foot strip of their garden complaining about rebuilding the junctions.

    • #734656

      But the point remains that it is now widely accepted that the more roads you build the more cars use them. Road building is not a long term solution. Urbanists like Jan Giehl, although blatantly anti-car, have proven this to be the case (e.g the redevelopment of Copenhagen and its infrastructure etc..). At some point you have to stop facillitating a mode of transport that is neither economic, efficient or good for the environment. We need to invest in planning strategies of greater, more long term scope, that gradually will dissuade poeple from personal motor transport.

    • #734657

      The anti-car lobby seem to be losing the battle in the UK too. Seems incredible.

    • #734658

      I am not sure using the arguement of ‘how many rail likes could be built for £750m’ is a good one. As you know the M50 in its entirety cost a lot more than that. The point about this article is that we have spent all this money on building a road that was suposed to solve traffic problems but is now failing to do that. the £750m investment (and will it remain at that price?) is not going to be the end of it as the M25 outside London has proved. There are now plans to widen the M25 to 12 lanes in some places!

      The problem is increased car ownership and an increased reluctance among people to consider public transport alternatives. Leaving aside the obvious problems that exist with our public transport infrastructure, people just will not give up the feeling of their ‘own space’ (albeit in a traffic jam) for the shared space of a bus/tram/train (albeit on a dedicted QBC or railline). In my house alone there are 3 cars (I don’t have one) and ask my sister to take a bus from Donnycarney into town (10 mins off peak/ 20 mins peak) and leave the car at home and she will laugh at me. Even when you point out the actual cost difference – €1.20 for the bus against combines car cost, insurance, tax, petrol and parking.

    • #734659

      The car culture suits the government just fine – rail and other non personal car modes of transport require heavy investment and subsidies to be run – while VRT on new car sales, road tax (when was it ever spent on the roads?), tax on petrol, VAT and fees on anthing else Car related keep McCreevy happy and the coffers topped up. It’s not like he has to actually experience an M50 jam in the back of his comfortable Ministerial Merc, complete with garda escort.

      Also – you try getting Irish people to part with their cars. Whether we like it or not – we have become car obsessives. It is possible to get around most of dublin using the bus – but I know plenty of people who live right along a QBC and STILL drive to work.

    • #734660

      I passed Charlie getting into his Merc outside Goverment Bldgs on Monday, and cringe shock horror – its only a 1991!

      Its been proven that if you close roads, for works etc, traffic can actually reduce by around 20%, ie, diverted traffic takes other routes but 1 in 5 cars just disappear altogether!

    • #734661

      He still has a way better car than me!

    • #734662
      Rory W

      The problem is that people (a) aren’t supplied properly by public transport – this is a combination of bad government, bolshie trade unions and even worse management and (b) are too selfish and lazy in this country to try to use public transport where possible. And am I the only one that gets angry hearing that “Irish Times Motors” ad on the radio with that whinging cow “Oh I hate public transport…” shoot the selfish little bitch I say

    • #734663

      Look at France, best of both worlds!! Roads built by and large by the private sector, railways by the state and they compete with each other!!

    • #734664
      merriman mick

      Let’s face it, roads are the answer to the transport crises. An efficent motorway system is a pleasure to drive on, I happen to like driving my car.
      If we had decent clover-leaf exits and entrances on the M50 etc.. we wouldn’t have anything like the chaos that we now have. Those damn round-abouts are sooo dangerous, they have to be gotten rid of.

      You know, the suburban rail network in Dublin isn’t bad and it’s getting better. The maintenance leaves a lot to be desired though,
      some of the stations have a couldn’t give a monkeys filthy look about them, dirt and weeds the whole length of the platform and indeed old clothes, broken prams and all kinds of rubbish propped under the platforms. We’ve all seen it and these stations are only a few years old.

    • #734665
      Brian Hanson

      What about the people who can’t or don’t drive? Are you suggestion some form of Henry Ford/Robert Moses transport-Darwinism where the Provisional-Holders survive and rest die? I can’t agree with this at all. We need a decent road AND rail network to benefit all society and not just the ones who get a corporate cars and need somewhere to smoke their cigareetes.

      You are wrong about the car being the answer to our transport crises – the evidence against your asertion is ovewhelming – the most socially disenfranchised societies on earth are the one based on the car culture. I rather live in Venice than in Los Angeles – however, I would be perfectly happy living in Vienna or anywhere else were transport is balanced towards several modes and all strata of society. We needs trains and motorways.

      Secondly, factor the cost of road accidents into car transport and then tell me that’s the winner by far. The last time a person was killed while being a passenger on train was in Ireland was in the 1980’s.

      How many have been killed in or by cars and lorries since then. How many high speed rail freight route could have been built for cost of all the HGV made potholes around the nation? Not to mentioned having a countryside that is pleasent to walk and cycle through without being pushed off the road by some oaf in Celtic jersey, screming into his mobile driving his artic at 70mph on a country road. He’ll stil be doing that motorway or not.

      The motorway is only half the answer.

    • #734666

      I agree that a motorway/ rail netwrok a balance is required. The gas thing is we are not getting value for money with either option at present. The roads programme so far has resulted in bits of (v expensive) motorway here and there and delays to many projects. As for rail… what is taht Iarnrod Eireann slogan?

      I see absolutely no reason why freight is being allowed on to roads instead of rail. Its crazy!

    • #734667
      merriman mick

      I didn’t write that the car was the (part)
      solution to the transport problem, I wrote that an improved, albeit limited, motorway system would work well for the whole island.

      I would suggest that we learn from the mistakes of people like Robert Moses and build one motorway and not several. This is after all Ireland and we do not have New York scale car problems.

      I’m not seeking to exclude or penalize people without cars, we are seeking solutions here for people with cars. Anyway, it’s not about cars, it’s about the damn plague of heavy trucks on our unsuitable roads and channeling them onto a more suitable road, i.e. small scale motorway system.

      Of course the motorway is only half the answer. How do you expect to get these people in their trucks off our pleasant country roads if you can’t offer them an alternative ?
      You are not permitted to cycle on a motorway,
      by the way.

      I love the train just as much as you do and I want to see it grow. The last 10 years have been good for rail in Ireland, it’s just a pity about CIE, just by looking at the filthy and poorly maintained stations you can see that there is no one in management who gives a fiddlers about the railway heritage in Ireland.

    • #734668
      Rory W

      It isn’t just bad management, the unions are an awful bolshie lot, they want pay rises for absolutely everything and if you try to update the working practices to make sense they go on strike!!

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