Comments on Balgriffin/Belcamp/Clonshaugh road proposals

I have commented on the new road proposals in the Balgriffin/Belcamp/Clonshaugh areas.  The core of my comment is that a study should be done on all transport modes not just road proposals.

I believe there is an excellent case for a light rail link through this area from the new Dart Station to be built at Stapolin across to join the Metro south of Dublin Airport.

I am concerned that this work was put out to consultants without the terms of reference being agreed by the Councillors.  (If we had been involved I believe that a wider study would have been required.)  I will be putting down a motion at the September Council meeting to require that all terms of reference are agreed by Councilors.

Councillor David Healy
Green Party/Comhaontas Glas
Howth ward / Dublin North East
01 8324087
54, Páirc Éabhóra, Beann Éadair
54, Evora Park, Howth

Ms. Ursula O’Sullivan,
Atkins Consulting Engineers,
Atkins House,
150 – 155 Airside Business Park,
County Dublin

By email to

Re: Comments on display of potential roads in Balgriffin, Belcamp and Clonshaugh areas

A chairde,

Objectives of the Study

The leaflet includes the following

“The prime objectives of the Study are:

• To identify feasible route options for the new routes to provide an integrated transport network to cater for new development and to have minimal impact on the built, human and natural environment of the area and;

• To select the emerging preferred routes on the basis of environmental, traffic and cost criteria.

The new routes are proposed as the Transportation Framework necessary to accommodate extensive urban development in the North Fringe Area. It is envisaged that some 17,000 residential units will be developed within the North Fringe Area to provide for an approximate population increase of 42,000 residents.

There are a number of worrying features of this.  

Firstly it is shocking that with the massive development in the area, it is only at this stage that the transport issues are being considered.

Secondly it is striking that reference is made to an “integrated transport network” and a “Transportation Framework” when what is being studied is a road network and a road transport framework.  I would have thought that the mistakes of mono-modal transport planning had been learnt by now.

Thirdly, the study is being done with no reference to the urban design implications for the new residential areas.  The results are obvious and if allowed to proceed would be disastrous:  in the middle of an area zoned for housing two flyover junctions are proposed to be constructed.

Rationale behind the design – provide for increased traffic

The specific rationale for the design is not given in the public consultation.  This is unfortunate, as it leaves many people speculating as to the intentions behind the design.  
However, from discussions I have had with both local authority engineers and consultants, it appears that the reasoning behind the proposed roads, aside from the obvious of giving access to zoned land, is as follows:

•    To provide a duplicate route to the M50 to reduce congestion on the motorway
•    To facilitate car traffic going from the new residential areas onto the M50, or the new parallel route to access the Airport, Blanchardstown etc.

This is very worrying.  The policy of facilitating increases in car traffic has already been abandoned in the existing urban area of Dublin city for some years now.  Yet the same mistakes are to be repeated in a new high-density suburban area.  The entire justification for new high-density suburbs has been that they will support good public transport networks. Yet in planning the transport infrastructure for the area, the area’s obvious potential for light rail is not even being considered.

Instead a predict and provide exercise is being carried out.

If built, this route would facilitate further increases in traffic in the “edge city” pattern.  It would represent a massive further investment in motor traffic in the area.  The reality of course is that the road network in the existing urban area immediately to the south cannot cope with increases in traffic and will become further congested, with negative impacts on both bus and car traffic.

Multi-modal integrated study should be carried out.

We suggest the current study be dropped in favour of a multi-modal transportation study, obtaining the necessary expertise to carry out an effective analysis of the rail options for this area.  We suggest that the east-west route could be used for a surface metro/light rail.  

This route would go along the proposed new distributor road to join up with the Metro North and Metro West proposals.  It would start from the new Dart Station at Stapolin (Baldoyle), with stops at Hole in the Wall Road, Balgriffin, Belcamp, Clonshaugh and joining the Metro north alignment south of the Airport.  

Trams/metro trains could share the Metro North alignment until Ballymun and then either
a)    continue on the Metro West route,  with interchage to the Metro North Route, or
b)    travel south on the Metro North alignment into the city centre, with interchange to the Metro West Route.

Note that this integration with Metro North means it will be possible to build and operate the route together with the Metro North route.  

The link across the M1 motorway should be available only to public transport, bicycles and pedestrians.  The motorway is already available to facilitate private cars.  Facilitating long-distance east-west traffic on this east-west distributor road will ruin the possibilities of creating a decent residential area around it.

The diversion of the Malahide Road has been explained as primarily to facilitate the east-west traffic predicted. Instead of providing for this traffic by road, we should provide public transport links in the area.  This element should be dropped.

Because of the severe implications of these road proposals for plannng and urban design in the areas, I am copying these comments to the relevant planning officials as well.

Is mise, le meas,

Cllr. David Healy