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.