I have the good fortune to pass through the Phoenix Park on my route to work every day. It’s a fantastic resource we have in the middle of our city (along with the rest of our parks) but sometimes it seems like we don’t appreciate or respect it enough.
(Edit: the Park was given an award for being one of the world’s best green spaces today! see Irish Times article here)
Green Ribbon list 8 reasons why city parks are important (click here) and I agree. The Park is the biggest enclosed city park in Europe and does all of those things mentioned in the article.
Having such a great park gives us a great opportunity to improve our physical exercise and so improve our physical and mental health. We can make it easier for people by treating the park better. Here are some ideas as to how we can put nature and people first in the park, and encourage more people to use it to better effect without overcrowding:
- Reduce the speed limit to 30km/h on all roads other than the main roads
- Develop car parking outside the park, and make it easier to get into the park from the Heuston Station car park (which is quieter at weekends when the park is busier)
- Have a Dublin bus route serve inside the park.
- Enforce rules on not parking cars on grass within the park
- Restricting parking to 1-2 hours maximum in smaller car parks and parking spaces within OPW parks.
- More zebra crossings for pedestrians
- Change the priority of where cycle lanes cross roads: pedestrians and cyclists should have priority over motor traffic.
- More cycle paths, including bidirectional paths circling the park to encourage younger people.
Edit (April 2017) Comment from Another Commuter on Twitter (@dublin7commuter):
relief solution needed (bus,cycle) to access zoo/pitches etc when very busy proper bicycle racks needed at all attractions.
Walking-cycling-bus should be prioritised to access large events
Commuter traffic through Phoenix Park is unwelcome and an abuse of the amenity value of the park. If you drive through the park, you are part of the problem. Cycle.
If you put a Dublin Bus service into Phoenix Park, you create the largest free park-and-ride facility in the world. There is enough room to park 400,000 cars for free every day. The bus trial that was attempted by Dublin Bus some years back failed due to poor demand – it went around on a circular route twice per hour.
The Park should be more accessible by public transport: build an underground train station on the existing underground commuter rail line for public access to the Zoo. Extend the Dublin Bike scheme to include a station at every entrance gate.
Limiting vehicular traffic speed is do-able with number plate recognition cameras on each gate. Just set an overall max speed of 20KPH, anyone who makes it from entrance to exit in a time which indicates a speed of more than 20KPH gets a automated fine and two penalty points in the post. No exceptions.
That system could also be used to limit maximum parking time to 3 hours. Residents excepted.
Make ALL roads pedestrian and cycle priority within Phoenix Park by not having ANY segregated lanes or road markings. Enforcing a 20KPH max speed limit is sufficient to allow for safe shared use and to protect wildlife. Avoiding the unwelcome visual intrusion of road engineering paraphernalia is part of the cultural patrimony which must be preserved and restored. Remove all existing intrusions progressively.
Prioritising pedestrian, cycle and public transport over road traffic is a long-standing Green Party policy. Let’s start with Phoenix Park and extend it city-wide.
Thanks for the comment.
I absolutely do cycle!
I think that we could have a bus service through the park, and coupled with parking time limits we can avoid the park and ride scenario you describe, which already seems to be happening at the Parkgate Street end.
A though bus would be better in terms of demand. At present people from Castlenock can “nip into town” in the car, but if they choose bus they have to go around the houses. Having some 37s based around peak park use times, rather than City Centre demand would work. Having a discount for the zoo or The Centre at Ashtown Castle with the appropriate bus ticket would help take cars out of the system too.
I love the underground Zoo station idea, and coupled with using platform 10 in Heuston could move a lot of the zoo parking down to Heuston station, as well as making mass public transport form everywhere in the rail network viable.
I like your ideas of not introducing more clutter and traffic engineering, and fully support them. Perhaps, some of the bicycle lanes need to be wider for two way use, and some raised pedestrian crossings might be needed in the short term as we wait for motoring culture to change!
Ban all private cars entering the park. It’s a park, for fecks sake, not a commuter route. Provide public transport options that are reliable and run regularly.
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