A few things in recent threads and discussions off boards has got me thinking...
Most of the time when we talk about “restrictions on cars” we’re actually talking about “improvements for others” or reallocating priority and space to others.
For anybody who supports a more liveable and sustainable city, it’s far more constructive to look at it from the perspective of providing a reallocation of priority and space.
And I’m not just saying that from a perception perspective — as CF from the AA says, you can put up road blocks and the city won’t be any better. I actually think he’s half right. For the road blocks to be a positive, you need to be planning to improve walking, cycling, and public transport, not just disproving car access.
But in other cities of a similar size to Dublin, the link between provision of public transport, “restrictions on cars”, and use of cars is at best weak or mixed or not as strange forward as people think.
Amsterdam and Copenhagen put in significant relocation of space before having metro lines in place and Amsterdam has just used the opening of its new North-South metro line as an excuse to block east-west car movements — the link there is tenuous.
In Dublin the volume of cars looks large but the numbers of people they are carrying is low compared to the numbers carred in bus lanes, tram lanes and narrow cycle lanes. Often you’re only taking about a few hundred people in cars per hour on many routes — easily transferred to other modes.
Even in larger cities like Paris or London — with far greater public transport — they still get opposition to surface improvements on the bases that motorists will lose out, be they for buses or trams or decent cycle paths.
Another thing is that Dublin already has around 10% cycling modal share and even if some of the planned major routes are built, that modal share will grow. Dutch cities have up to 50%+ but the NTA in Dublin has low enough targets for cycling.
Also we have to look at modal shift as not as strange forward as most people think of it as.
For example, one car driver might in reaction to a change in road layouts change to a different route and it might be any other driver on that route who switches to walking, cycling or public transport.
If someone from far out switches to the bus, some guy who used to commute on the same route but living closer to the city centre might then switch from the bus to walking or cycling.
Or some people already combine driving with cycling once they get near the city centre or get a lift to the edge of the city centre and then cycle etc.
it's probably also important to understand why people are driving into the city. are they driving in because they're already going to be coming a sizable distance where public transport is not feasible, but there aren't adequate park and ride facilities on the outskirts to complete the journey?
or because they've a free parking space and 'may as well use it'?
i have probably a typical amount of friends and family working in the city centre. none of them drive in, so i don't really know anyone who does to understand why other options are not open to them.
the vast majority of the people i know would not have a parking space available, so driving would not be an option even if they wanted to.
Get rid of on street parking in the city. You've loads of extra space right there. Multi story car parks are a potential solution that's not used, because you've still got cars coming into the city.
A lot of major roads lead through the city. I'd suggest most of the traffic is through traffic. At least 95% of the time I'm driving there, Dublin City is not my destination. Someone will need to re-evaluate what was the purpose of the M50 and see what can be done to stop directing us "low capacity vehicles" into the city.
Fares in Dublin are very high compared to most European cities (not London).
Two adults and two children in and out of city centre on Dublin Bus is €12.40.
That's comparable to fuel and parking for a few hours.
I don’t drive but I know a lot of people who will drive through the city at weekends to avoid paying the M50 toll.
So the road that was built to take traffic out of the city isn’t actually doing its’ job.
True but the costs of owning a car are really a lot higher insurance, tax, maintence and NCT plus a whole lot more, it would be naive to think that fuel and parking charges are the only associated costs with owning a car.
Although I do think we should schemes like kids go free at weekends.
The actual cost of a car journey may be higher once you factor everything in, but that's not how it feels when you leave your front door.
Once you're paying for insurance, etc, you simply don't include them in the cost of a journey when your setting out.
I've often wondered why there are so many cars all joining up in the CC. Maybe they are not commuting, but going to hospitals, etc. and so on. The fact that there are free parking spaces for Civil Servants and City Council workers is a joke. But it will never be withdrawn will it?
Anyway, like the buses most traffic ends up in "An Lar" and moves out somewhere else. A small minority might be shopping or something, but honestly anything you cannot carry on PT can be delivered. I doubt anyone goes to the City except for smaller items of shopping and that be done on PT.
I really wish there was a survey of car drivers in rush hour (and all day too!) as to where they are going, what is their purpose, and why can they not use PT.
I exclude those whose work involves carrying heavy equipment for work around the CC. Can't think of anything else. I see a lot of barristers and Court workers taking the bus from the CCCJ at Heuston back into town with their wheelie brief holders. Just as an example.
The quays for example are absolutely jammers with cars. It is beyond belief now.
But I don't think the will is there to do much more re cars TBH. I live in hope though as it is unsustainable right now.
But the others costs are always associated with car ownership.
Your argument does make sense when not owning a car.
That's true alright but if there was better public transport in Dublin people would get rid of their cars altogether and use car sharing services such as GoCar whenever they need a car instead of owning a car that lies idle for most of the year. Obviously that wouldn't suit everyone but it could be a viable alternative post Bus Connects particularly if there are more orbital routes.
from a Cork point of view, I often thought it would be good to stop parking in the South Mall and divert traffic from Patrick St down that way. However there is a huge amount of objection to making Patrick St pedestrian only, it seems so sensible to me to have no through traffic in the City's Main St.
Just a small example of the problems limiting car access will bring. Most people will want everyone else limited but will want to drive where they want.
Taking cars out of parts of the city centre would make a huge difference, particularly for cyclists and pedestrians.. South William/Grafton/Dawson street area could really do with being pedestrianised
If I go to Bargaintown, can I bring a bed, a wardrobe and three piece suite on the bus with me?
At least they'd fit in a bus though the driver & other passengers would object.
They certainly wouldn't fit in my car.
Luckily furniture places have delivery services.
do you do that every weekend?
Once off things like that are easy to deal with, get it delivered or arrange to drive for that time. But in general you won't need the capacity of a small van every weekend for a coffee and some groceries...
I agree with Dravokivich above, getting rid of on street parking would make a big difference, either more space for buses / cyclists or more space to make footpaths bigger or nicer with tress / cafe seating etc.
A lot of Dublin CC is not a pleasent place to walk around due to 1) excess traffic and roads and slow pedestrian traffic lights and 2) the various rubbish, junkies and so forth. The above would address both of these to a large degree making it a whole lot nicer a place to walk around in.