Originally Posted by coolperson05
I think the evidence is seen in Cork with the untolled Jack Lynch Tunnel. It's a roaring success. Granted the population and traffic volumes are larger than any other city (outside Dublin obviously) but it just works. So much so, it's nearly at capacity.
Had Limerick/Waterford untolled bypasses, More people would obviously use them. In Waterford for example, I arrive back from Dublin three times a week and I often need to get to Tramore/WIT/IDA etc. so the Suir Bridge would be ideal, but not for 1.80 a go. Especially with the relatively modest congestion in Waterford City compared to say Galway/Cork.
But now that it's built, I don't see NRA or CCs having much say. Must be paid for by someone!
OK, let's look at Cork then, since the Jack Lynch Tunnel has not been tolled so far.
Excerpt from a Cork City Council webpage
(probably published 1999) on the Jack Lynch Tunnel:
Motorists began to reap the benefits of this £100 million scheme when the tunnel was opened for normal traffic on Monday 31st of May 1999. Since then on average about 33,000 vehicles use the tunnel each weekday, with about 28,000 vehicles per day at weekends, and the tunnel and the associated ring road network has significantly reduced traffic congestion in the city centre.
An Irish Times report on 5th May 1999
had this to say:
The opening of the Jack Lynch Tunnel yesterday represented a proud day for the people of Cork and a very significant addition to this State's infrastructure. The Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, has pointed to the very practical benefits of the tunnel; by easing traffic congestion, it will help to give the heart of the city back to its people.
Fast forward four years to 2003. Here's the first post in a thread titled "Cork Tunnel Chaos" in the Commuting & Transport Forum (dated 1st October of that year):
Originally Posted by De Rebel
Today’s Irish Examiner (Note 1) carried an article on the front page about congestion at Cork’s Lee Tunnel (aka the jack lynch tunnel). Apparently, 4 years after opening the tunnel it is carrying twice its design capacity. Think about that, twice its design capacity. Not twice the load it carried on day one, but twice its design capacity.
Note 1: Unfortunately not on the online edition.
Note 2: One could conservatively assume the working life of a road tunnel to be somewhere around 100 years, for design purposes. Given the immense cost in terms of money and disruption of rectifying any design flaws it is imperative not to under estimate the capacity requirements. And given this nation's amazing and unenviable record in depopulation the rural areas and growing its towns it is reasonable to assume that this trend will continue and that urban traffic will continue to increase. How then, can paid professionals be so so wrong that they design a tunnel to cater for 100 years traffic growth and see it reach double its design capacity in 4 years.
So, when a bypass gave the heart of Cork City back to its people, what did they do with this gift of brilliant engineering?
It seems they drove more. Granted, the Celtic Bubble was really starting to expand then, so car ownership and car commuting was on the increase.
Be that as it may, the anticipated congestion-relieving effects of the Jack Lynch Tunnel didn't include at the time, for example, a resurgence in non-car commuting in Cork City.
Has this situation changed much since?
In April of this year, the Irish Examiner
reported that "the NRA has predicted the Jack Lynch Tunnel will exceed capacity after work is completed to make the Dunkettle interchange a full freeflow junction."
This trend in traffic growth predated and necessitated the JLT, but the bypass didn't slow the trend. In fact, it could perhaps be argued that it added to it.
Cork City Council's analysis of travel patterns based on data from the 2002 Census
revealed that there was a substantial increase in the percentage of people travelling to work in private vehicles and a continued decline in more sustainable forms of travelling to work, school and college.
Walking and cycling as a means of getting to work, school and college recorded significant decreases in the period 1996-2002. In contrast, travelling to work by motor vehicles has increased in almost direct proportion with the decrease in walking and cycling.
Results from the census reveal that there has been a substantial increase in the percentage of people travelling to work in private vehicles. The number of people travelling to work as car passengers has dropped, probably due to the increase in car ownership allowing people the choice of travelling in their own car. The numbers travelling to work on foot has increased slightly by 2.8%, most likely due to population and employment growth in the City Centre. The numbers travelling to work by bicycle dropped by a third between 1996-2002. Public transport has also experienced decreases.
The numbers travelling to both primary and secondary school on foot decreased, while the number of students cycling dropped significantly by over 50%. However, the numbers using public transport, particularly buses, continued to increase.
Growing numbers of students are being driven to school in cars, particularly at primary level. Over 10,000 primary schoolchildren are now driven to school by car, a 150% rise between 1996-2002. In 1996 it accounted for a third of all trips to primary school while in 2002 this percentage had risen to a over a half.
Another trend evident in the 2002 results was an increase in the numbers of secondary school students driving to school, both on motorcycles and in cars.
Given the chance to rejuvenate the heart of the city by taking advantage of the traffic-relieving effects of the Bypass, did the residents of Cork collectively decide that the best way to do this was to generate new traffic?
The Cork City Strategic Plan 2001-2020
(CASP) recognises that road infrastructure improvements are needed, but warns that car traffic growth is not sustainable in the long or even medium term:
The car dependent trend in Cork is fuelled by economic growth; rising car ownership; dispersed, low density development; a relatively high standard of road infrastructure and a historic lack of investment in public transport. The large forecast growth in population, employment and the increase in incomes, which enables higher rates of car ownership, will make matters disproportionately worse. Without a sustainable transport plan, traffic will double over the next 20 years. Peak hour travel speeds will fall to 5mph on most roads in the urban area. Journeys to work will take four or five times longer in many cases, so that two hour journeys to work from the suburbs to the City will not be unusual. The benefits of recent and planned road improvements will be rapidly eroded. Commuter traffic will dominate the road network, at the expense of its efficiency for strategic movement. None of these predictions is unrealistic.
Provision of new roads is not generally a sustainable solution – it would only exacerbate the problem in the long term.
A 2008 update of CASP
re-emphasised this fundamental principle and confirmed that the traffic-relieving bypass itself was becoming significantly congested:
Research carried out as part of this Update indicated that there is a continuing growth in the demand for car travel and that significant congestion is being experienced on parts of the road network including the South Ring Road and the Jack Lynch Tunnel at peak times. Future growth in car based demand for traffic is eroding the capacity of the key national and arterial route network and is not sustainable. between now and 2020. If this growth is not addressed in an integrated way congestion will intensify and spread throughout the City and urban areas bringing average traffic speeds down to as low as 5mph. This must be addressed by providing a choice of mode of travel by public transport and other non car modes including walking and cycling.