No, we are not going to discuss here the pro’s and cons of the seemingly crucial Green Party conference next weekend as to whether they will stay the course ( did someone cry –hare, hare?) or not. But rather we look at recent development locally of a more nitty gritty, down to earth ‘green’ issue in the form of the Green routes currently being developed in Waterford. Over the past Summer in particular, we have noticed major footpath improvements in the area as well the installation of traffic lights at junctions at Newtown and Park Road/DelaSalle/Waterpark and redesign of the famous ‘fried-egg’ style roundabout at Passage Road/ DMR junction. Well, is all this random sets of improvement or part of a grand plan? Well it’s the latter my friends.

Dunmore Road Green Route

Notice was posted during the course of last year (08) of the proposed development of phase one of a Green Route on the Dunmore Road – Maypark Lane to the Mall. Here I lay out the key details of these plans in respect of this first phase of the ‘Green Route’- which is being currently rolled out. We were told that they represent the outcome of considerable research behind the plans and point to the urgency/necessity of their implementation. A significant re-design of this and other designated routes will seek to give priority to alternative modes of transport other than the present dominance of the private motor car or at least tilt the balance of convenience/accessibility in their favour eg public transport/buses. Before we look at the specifics of phase one of the Dunmore Road plan let’s consider some of the likely consequences of not implementing the plans as proposed.

Increasing levels of traffic congestion throughout the city; Increased traffic congestion will lead to more delays for buses, thus making them less reliable and desirable as a mode of transport. This is likely to result in fewer people using the bus and consequently switching to other modes of transport such as the car; Continued negative impact on the environment, as modal transfer to the bus is considered an essential aspect of Ireland’s Climate Change Strategy (transport makes up 19% of Irelands CO2 emissions – National Climate Change Strategy 2007/2012). It will also make it much more difficult for Ireland to reach its Kyoto commitments;

Failure to invest in public transportation will result in some people becoming

disenfranchised in terms of transportation accessibility; In addition, the following modes of transport will all lose out: Emergency vehicles (ambulances; fire tenders; garda vehicles etc) Cyclists; Pedestrians; and Taxis.

Waterford City Council identified two Green Routes linking the suburbs to the city centre. Firstly, the N25 Corridor from Belmont to Ballinaneesagh via Ferrybank, The Quay, Parnell Street and the Cork Road. Secondly, the one we are most concerned with in these parts is the Dunmore Road Corridor from Knockboy to the Mall.

Maypark to the Mall –All Go

The City Council outlined for us the following proposals in respect of the construction of a Green Route between Maypark Lane and the Mall, via Dunmore Road, Newtown Road, William Street and Lombard Street. Green Routes are roads which include dedicated or shared facilities for buses and cyclists and improved pedestrian facilities. This scheme provides for:- Throughout the Scheme- Upgraded bus stops, including the provision of Kassel Kerbs to facilitate disabled and mobility impaired access to buses ;Upgrading of road signs and road markings where appropriate; Upgraded pedestrian crossing facilities.

By the way a Kassel Kerbs (according to my research) is a concave-section made for buses kerb stone which is intended for use at bus stops served by modern low floor buses which have improved accessibility for mobility-impaired people. The Kassel kerb guides the tyre of the stopping bus in a such a way as to improve the alignment of the bus’s doors with the kerb and slightly raised boarding platform. It does this because as the tyre rides up the concave surface, gravity pulls it back down and steers the bus into alignment. The Kassel kerb takes its name from the German city of Kassel, where it was first introduced.

Maypark Lane to Passage Road, of this section the plans spoke of advisory cycle tracks in both city-bound and outbound direction (What does ‘advisory’ mean? Great idea if there was safe space to accommodate this?).

Upgraded footpaths to the front of Topaz Service Station and the Sycamore Estate are proposed.

Passage Road to Lower Newtown School

* City-bound & Cycle lane operating between 07.00 – 09.30 and again between 11.30 – 19.00, Monday to Friday.

* Advisory cycle track in outbound direction;

* Passage Road/Newtown Road roundabouts to be upgraded;

* Passage Road/Lower Newtown Road to have traffic signals installed, including the provision of signalised pedestrian crossing facilities (Will the former item here create a new bottle-neck/traffic choker?)

* Upgraded footpaths to the front of Newtown School and the Meeting House;

* Removal of existing all day parking – not all to the liking of some!

Lower Newtown Road to Park Road

* Advisory cycle tracks in both city-bound and outbound directions;

* Newtown Road/Park Road junction (and De La Salle College vehicular entrance) to have traffic signals installed, including the provision of signalised pedestrian crossing facilities. Access to Waterpark College to be altered to facilitate the signalisation of this junction;

* Flat-top ramp provided at existing unsignalised crossing north of Lower Newtown Road

* Removal of two existing public parking spaces, immediately north of Lower Newtown Road.

Many of the above are already completed while others are currently in progress.

Park Road to Mall

* Raised entry treatment (fancy name for ramps!) on all side roads between the People’s Park and the Mall.

I wish the plan continued success, as this column has over the past 10 years advocated the case of public transport and how bold initiatives will have to be taken. The game , however has changed in that we are running out of space, energy, time and indeed options – it’s no longer a question of if but when! The council can draw up plans until they are blue (prints!) in the face but they will not succeed without widespread public support, in deed! Well done on the great work being done on the area’s network of footpaths – having been down-trodden for so long have arisen from their lowly state!

Doing the Business

Continued success also to Dmitrij Brucikovs and his wife Diana who earlier this year took over the popular local shop at Powerscourt from Paul and Gillian Kavanagh who ran a successful and much valued Centra Shop/business here for many years. Dmitrij moved from Latvia to England in 1998 and worked as a carpenter before moving to Ireland in 2002 to set up a paint-contracting business. He later moved into retail, establishing shops in railway stations at Waterford, Kilkenny and for a while Clonmel. He had moved on, fortuitously ahead of the construction collapse, to concentrate on full-time on retailing. They rebranded as Day Today following a refitting and re-painting of their shop – work done by the good Dmitrij himself, no doubt. The place certainly looks well – this column wishes him and Diana every success for their future here on the DMR and hereabouts.

Go Seachtain Eile, Slan.