Notice has been posted of the proposed development of phase one of a Green Route for the Dunmore Road – Maypark Lane to the Mall. It is my intention to lay out the details of these plans as posted in public notices recently in respect of this first phase of the ‘Green Route’. Last week I brought you a report on the thinking and research behind the plan and urgency/necessity of its 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 e.g. public transport/buses. As I said, we outlined these last week. 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, which are:
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 has 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 -Easy Rider
The City Council outlines 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: 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 speaks of advisory cycle tracks in both citybound and outbound direction (What does ‘advisory’ mean? Great idea if there was safe space to accommodate this?).
Upgraded footpaths to the front of Statoil Service Station and the Sycamore Estate are proposed.
Passage Road to Lower Newtown School
* Citybound & 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.
Lower Newtown Road to Park Road
* Advisory cycle tracks in both citybound 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.
Park Road to Mall
* Raised entry treatment (fancy name for ramps!) on all side roads between the People’s Park and the Mall.
Last week, I advised readers that last Friday, April 4th, was the last day for inspection of the maps and details of the proposals at the Bishop’s Palace, the Mall and the final opportunity to submit any observations or otherwise on the proposals as outlined. I wish the plan well 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, indeed!
Memories – What Memories?
And now for something completely different to tell you before I forget it. A couple in their nineties are both having problems remembering things. During a check-up, the doctor tells them that they’re physically okay, but they might want to start writing things down to help them remember. Later that night, while watching TV, the old man gets up from his chair. “Want anything while I’m in the kitchen?” he asks.
“Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?” “Sure.” “Don’t you think you should write it down so you can remember it?” she asks. “No, I can remember it.” “Well, I’d like some strawberries on top, too. Maybe you should write it down, so’s not to forget it?” He says, “I can remember that. You want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries.”
“I’d also like whipped cream. I’m certain you’ll forget that, write it down?” she asks. Irritated, he says, “I don’t need to write it down, I can remember it! Ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream – I got it, for goodness sake!” Then he toddles into the kitchen. After about 20 minutes, the old man returns from the kitchen and hands his wife a plate of bacon and eggs. She stares at the plate for a moment. “Where’s my toast?”
Each year in recent times the excellent Waterford City Library Service brings you the Bealtaine Festival event in the month of May (as the name suggests). It is the Irish national arts festival celebrating creativity in the older age. In the upcoming May based festival which takes place on a nationwide basis hundreds of different events are undertaken in every art form. Taking its name from the ancient Celtic festival it celebrates springtime, renewal, creativity and growth in ageing. In your local Ardkeen library there is a full programme throughout the month from art classes to gardening to bridge to internet sessions to alternative therapies and more besides. Check it out!
Go Seachtain Eile, Slan.