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Suggestions for improving infrastructure and the public realm in our towns and cities

  • 24-03-2023 2:56pm
    Registered Users Posts: 2,173 ✭✭✭

    Over the many years of walking, cycling, driving and using public transport in towns and cities in Ireland, I've seen so many problems with the public infrastructure and public realm. I'm not in any position to make a change, but I still would like to air my thoughts, mainly to see if these are realistic or achievable in my lifetime. My suggestions are:

    • Complete removal of public parking on main streets. Whenever I look at old photographs of towns and cities, I always wondered what made them look so much nicer. The reason is the lack of cars parked on streets! I believe them to be a complete eyesore and have no place on main streets. The only on-street parking bays should be for disabled parking or deliveries. If someone needs to drive to a town or city centre, they can easily use private car parks. If there are no car parks, demand will produce them, but the best outcome is a push to sustainable travel.
    • Parking in town or city zones should be strictly limited to designated parking bays only. If you are not parked in a demarcated parking spot in a public street then you should be clamped and fined. This avoids any confusion of whether it is legal to park somewhere or not. It may require providing additional line markings as a lot of on-street parking is not formalised at present.
    • Parking charges should apply to every car parked on public streets. I'm not necessarily saying that these should be prohibitively expensive, maybe €2 per day in suburbs for example, but at present there is this perceived right that you can park anywhere in towns and cities. A charge will make people think twice about parking on public roads and may push people to get rid of their car or even just park it on private property and remove "street clutter".
    • There should be an increased number of one-way streets. This would reduce the number of conflicts with oncoming traffic, crossing at junctions etc. Whilst it may result in a more circuitous route to your destination, you are still able to access all areas by car if essential.
    • Town and city centres should have some pedestrian / bicycle / bus only streets. This may not be practical in many areas, but it could greatly improve the public realm. A secondary thought to this is the addition of a Blue Badge label to car registration plates which allow access to these areas.

    I will caveat this on the basis that public transport also needs to be greatly improved at the same time.

    This is mostly just a dump of thoughts onto a page so apologies for my rantings!



  • Registered Users Posts: 910 ✭✭✭brianc89

    All towns and villages should get proper bus stop shelters for a start. Much needed shelter when waiting for a bus, or waiting for a lift home when you alight.

    Proper bus shelters would also better advertise bus times. There are more route options in my area, rural Galway, than most people realize. This would surely increase ridership straight away.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,437 ✭✭✭SuperBowserWorld

    People love their cars.

    In fact I rarely see people walk around my area, except when it's taking the dog for a walk.

    Lots of empty pavements and dog ****.


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Complete removal of public parking on main streets.

    100% agree, but I'd extend it beyond that to the point where onstreet parking is the exception, rather than the norm. This would go for all city streets & housing estates.

    Your next 2 points go on about ways to try and keep onstreet parking but to try make it a little bit less appealing so as not to annoy the drivers, honestly not sure why. Adding special places where parking is ok on streets just requires enforcement (there won't be enough) and blatant non-compliance will become the it is now. If all onstreet parking is removed there is no enforcement required as there won't be onstreet space for storage of cars. parking lots & driveways should be the only acceptable locations

    I agree with your last 2 points also

    You should have a good read of the 5 cities demand management study. There are strategies being developed at the moment that will be implementing some elements while they continue to scope out some other options

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,173 ✭✭✭VonLuck

    I'm talking primarily about residential estates for the retention of on-street parking. It would be extremely difficult to eliminate this entirely. Imagine never being able to have visitors drive to your home because your one designated parking space is taken! It may be easier in a "denser" city like Dublin, but in smaller towns it would be completely impractical unless you had a bus route to every single residential area. In an ideal world, maybe, but not in the near future.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,871 ✭✭✭Padre_Pio

    Some people have an infatuation with parking as close as possible to their destination, even if it means waiting longer in traffic than it would have taken to walk.

    Drogheda town centre is ruined by cars and traffic. It should have been pedestrianised 20 years ago, but instead they built a courthouse on the largest car park in the town.

    The number of cars makes some estates look awful.

    Eagle Valley in Cork as an example. Most houses have provisions for one or two cars, but a lot of houses have three, or two cars and a work van/trailer/camper van.

    Not the fault of the residents, but there should be a provision for small car parks in large estates.

    One thing Ireland is terrible at is garage space. Other countries will build a garage area with units that can be leased or included in the purchase of a house.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 910 ✭✭✭brianc89

    How to 'tackle' cars depends massively on the size of the town, proximity of estates, public transport options etc etc

    You need to be careful limiting cars from small towns, as people will just move their shopping to larger shopping centres rather than walking between small shops in the town.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,840 ✭✭✭✭Zebra3

    I can imagine eliminating on street parking in residential areas, and it would be amazing.

    And make life so much safer, especially for kids.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,533 ✭✭✭Beta Ray Bill

    I live in a North Dublin Suburb, I use public transport as I'm lucky enough to live close to a train station.

    People use their cars because there is no alternative. Investment and decision making with the Infrastructure area as a whole has been nothing short of appalling over the last 30 years, and now things are coming to a head. I think the countries economy is to big for the country itself.

    There are not enough houses, not enough rail links*, not enough roads wide enough to accommodate bus lanes and cycle lanes and cars, not enough power generating stations, not enough water facilities/infra, No rail link to the biggest airport in the country, etc. the list goes on and on.

    *Freight, intercity and suburban and said rail links are incredibly difficult to plan for our "unique" track loading, we cannot just buy 2nd hand stock from the EU as a stopgap as a result. Some of the DARTS are 40 years old this year. And I just heard on the news this morning that there is a major shortage of truck drivers in Ireland and the average age of driver over over 50.

    I do take your points though. they would be nice to have, but they are complete non-runners given the current infra situation in many of the towns and cities in Ireland. I got the Swords Express into work this morning, it's kind of ridiculous that private company is picking up the slack for the failings government on the planning of public transport

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,246 ✭✭✭✭Dyr

    Force the state to include costs for increased 24 hour garda presence at all public transport hubs to deal with the antisocial activity that they attract

    Introduce a bicycle tax to pay for bicycle infrastructure, we are currently spending about 73 euro per person on a transport mode that 85 per cent of the adult population never use. A national scandal that this White Elephant is never questioned.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,839 ✭✭✭gipi

    Regarding Drogheda, not only did they build on the largest car park in the town, but they have also closed 2 more since then (Peter St and opposite the Garda station). The council bowed to pressure from traders some years ago and didn't pedestrianise the main street, they just widened the footpath.

    Bus services from the outlying estates to and across town have only been started in the past couple of years (there was one town service which, for example, didn't go near the railway station).

    Piecemeal changes are only serving to kill off trade in the town centre, as people go to the outlying retail parks instead.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 14,691 ✭✭✭✭loyatemu

    there's VAT on bikes and cyclists pay tax like everyone else. The spending is high because we're starting from a very low base; but a lot of what's being spent is garbage infrastructure or road "improvements" disguised as active travel projects. It's been proven over and over again that if you build high quality safe cycling infrastructure, the proportion of people cycling sky-rockets.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 48,165 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    there's two things going on there, but the very last line is the kicker - the council allowed the out of town retail parks to be built. which of course was going to start the process of hollowing out the town centre.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,533 ✭✭✭Beta Ray Bill

    I'd agree with you to an extent. I doubt very much it would "Sky Rocket", but there would certainly be an increase.

    I think Cycle lanes need to be completely segregated from the road, and rules in place such as: if a segregated cycle lane exists, a cyclist must use it and not the road. (segregated does not mean a bit of paint on the road, bollards at an absolute minimum)

    There is good cycle infra close(ish) to where I live (coast road) there are a good few cyclists in the morning, but no where near the number of cars or people on the bus/train. I'd say the ratio is probably well over 1000:1

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,840 ✭✭✭✭Zebra3

    Why would they need ugly bollards to segregate cycling lanes from roads?

    They don’t have these things in Denmark.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,533 ✭✭✭Beta Ray Bill

    Because there's a lot of idiots driving cars and cycling bicycles, it's just a fact of life in Ireland. They need to be kept apart.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,661 ✭✭✭✭Thelonious Monk

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,840 ✭✭✭✭Zebra3

    So do we put bollards up at every location where footpaths and roads meet?

    Maybe we could just remove the licences of motorists who bring their vehicles on to footpaths or cycling lanes. These people are obviously unfit to be behind the wheel of vehicles.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,533 ✭✭✭Beta Ray Bill

    Any area where different types of traffic may mix that ideally shouldn't mix require something to segregate them. This is done in many places (bus lanes, Luas lanes, existing cycle lanes etc)

    I'd 100% agree with you that they look absolutely crap (Sutton cross to Howth looks horrific at the moment, and if I had spent that kind of money on a house on that road I'd be going nuts) but the reality is: Someone in power thinks cycle lanes are the new thing that's going to "Fix traffic". And bollards are the only way to keep the traffic in it's place, as there isn't anyone there to police it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,661 ✭✭✭✭Thelonious Monk

    would you not be happy that your kids would be able to cycle a lot more safely on the road, and also less chance of being hit by a car driving on the footpath?

    if drivers didn't dump their cars all over footpaths and bike lanes we wouldn't need these bollards. they could certainly look a lot nicer than the ones in sutton but hopefully they'll upgrade them to something better in time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,533 ✭✭✭Beta Ray Bill

    100% agree with you. But people are tick (I'm deliberately leaving the "h" out), and that's just the way it is.

    If you want cycle lanes, then this what that has to look like (for now), as there is no one to police cars in cycles lanes.

    Might I add, these type of bollarded cycle lanes are going in on the Kilbarrack/Tonelagee Road, and they're gonna look crap, and there is no plan for the Junctions either Just a note that says "Junction to be upgraded".

    It should be noted that there are rarely cars parked on the road there, but they're putting them in anyway.

    It's interesting that the Original post came to the conclusion, that we need remove parked cars from our towns and cities to make them look better, and that the way to do that was to encourage cycling. This is turn is ruining the suburbs with bollarded cycle lanes.

    It's weird, and in my eyes completely unforeseen.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,839 ✭✭✭gipi

    The outcome of this case might have a say in how cycle lane bollards are used going forward

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,661 ✭✭✭✭Thelonious Monk

    Tonlegee Rd is pretty horrible to cycle on when it's busy though, lots of close passing by cars. Given the amount of schools around there I think it's a good idea, I don't think a few plastic bollards could make the place look any less impossibly drab and dreary anyway (I lived just off that road for years).

    Oscar Traynor is a mare to cycle on and gets a good few cyclists, I hope they do something there as I may have to cycle that stretch daily for my commute when I start my next job in May!

    Also are there lights on the M1 roundabout in Santry these days or do you still have to scurry across as a pedestrian and dice with death? It's incredible they didn't give peds a second thought on that roundabout.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,840 ✭✭✭✭Zebra3

    Nothing will fix traffic so long as too many motorists try to use a limited resource (ie the city roads).

    The alternative is to allow more people to travel by using up less of that limited resource.

    In most countries that’s called common sense. Here the privileged (motorists) see it as an attack on their way of life as they seem to think the world should revolve around them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,429 ✭✭✭thinkabouit

    id say a dedicated hgv or lgv route. A mini by pass if you will.

    Tipperary town is absolutely ruined by trucks, tractors all sorts goings up narrow street’s and places they have no business going.

    + 1 for for getting rid of on street parking in certain streets & areas. Cars are brilliant but they’ve destroyed the high street shops as much as Online retail in my opinion.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,533 ✭✭✭Beta Ray Bill

    In a place like Dublin, the most valuable things are time and convivence. There is nothing privileged about owning a car in Ireland, It's a necessity (unfortunately). The price of cars (and running them) is nuts in Ireland, It's easily one of the most expensive places to own a car in the world given VRT, Fuel Prices, Toll, Tax, Servicing costs, etc. "Most people" would not own a car if they didn't need one. I certainly wouldn't. I'll give you my own example.

    The only reason I own a car is because I need to collect my kid on Friday at 2:30pm and drop him home on Saturday for 4:30pm. I live on the northside of the city and he lives with his mam on the South side near the M50 ring

    On Saturday the over and back trip door to door to door takes approx 1 hour in the car, using Public transport is at an absolute minimum 2.5 hours door to door to door (16km)

    On Friday it takes approx 1 hour 30 mins door to school to door in the car, using Public transport is (again) at an absolute minimum 2.5 hours door to school to door (14.5km)

    I'm pushing it as it is taking an extra 30 mins on lunch to collect him. Public transport is 100% not an option, particularly the Bus. It's incredibly slow in comparison to rail.

    And my situation is not at all unique, I'd argue it's the rule and not the exception. So when someone tell me I cannot use my car without providing me an viable alternative, then yes, that is an attack on me as it's restricting my ability to see my kid. Everyone has a story

    The fly over?

    That's been like that for years (Since it was built)

    In fairness it's rare to see a cyclist on the Oscar Traynor, Tonlegee Road. (They're not good for cyclists turning onto the Malahide road) You might see the odd one on the Killbarrack road.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,661 ✭✭✭✭Thelonious Monk

    yeah the flyover, how are peds supposed to get across safely?

    i cycled from near the fire station in kilbarrack along tonlegee and oscar traynor for years and cyclists def use this route

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,533 ✭✭✭Beta Ray Bill

    Basically you need to be fast if you're pedestrian. 🙄

    It's yet another example of poor infra planning. I think I've walked across that bit of the road 5 or 6 times in my life. It's dodge.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,696 ✭✭✭✭whisky_galore

    Attractive alternatives to the car, and not the usual Irish playbook - hunting cars out of towns and cities and providing sweet f-all, other than bike lanes which only cater for people who are physically able or want to cycle a bike.

    Policing, both visible and effective, on and off public transport. I don't care who does it on public transport, AGS or a separate force, just make it happen.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,840 ✭✭✭✭Zebra3

    Why do we spend so much money on roads when there are so many people who can’t physically or afford to drive?

    Typical Irish playbook, hunting cyclists and pedestrians out of Irish towns and cities.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 15,696 ✭✭✭✭whisky_galore

    Ah the usual cycling extremist spoiling for a fight with a silly argument.