Some words to the Irish Parking Association

Ciarán Cuffe Chair, Dublin City Council Transportation Strategic Policy Committee with Nigel Williams Chair of the British Parking Association Board, Gibson Hotel Dublin, 29th November 2016

Speech to Irish Parking Association lunch, Gibson Hotel, 29th November 2016

Fellow motorists, public transport users, cyclists and pedestrians,

It is an honour to be invited here, and I hope to make it out of alive. I’ve never spoken before a sword swallower before but I will try and impress you with my rapier wit. I won’t run through my parking jokes, but I will make one observation, you never really learn to swear until you learn to drive.

I guess I’m one of those in-betweeners. I’m old enough to remember driving down Grafton Street and getting away with parking with the hazard lights on. It is interesting to note that on this date, 29th November, 34 years ago today Grafton Street was made a car-free zone between the hours of 11am and 6.30pm. However I’m young enough to understand the millennial aspiration of car-free living. Back in the late 1960s the Myles Wright Report on Dublin stated that “As soon as a family man could afford to he moved home to the edge but continued to work at the centre”. Well, I believe that idea is changing, and I know that the inner city’s population has doubled over the last thirty years. I am one of those people. Sick and tired of waiting for lifts, and buses and getting stuck in traffic I made the decision to move to Dublin’s inner city in the mid-1980s and I don’t regret my decision. I am now bringing up my teenage children in the inner city, and I suspect they may well opt not to drive that often.

Bruce Katz a researcher from the Brookings Institute in Washington DC has stated that the future of our cities is walkability, bikeability and liveability. I suspect he’s right. After half a century of flight to the suburbs, young people today are fleeing right back to our urban centres.

In Dublin we’re using our traffic signal programming (SCATS) to coordinate traffic, and we may well use it to give a green wave to cyclists and reduce pollution levels in the years to come. We are managing HGVs to reduce their presence on city centre streets. We are designing a Liffey Cycleway that will provide a high-quality segregated two-way cycleway on the north Quays. We’re building the Luas Cross City project which gives us an opportunity to create a car-free College Green. We’re reducing speed limits in residential areas to 30 km/hr to reduce deaths and injuries from traffic, and provide safer streets for children to cycle and walk to school. We’re granting planning permission to new housing developments that contain hundreds of bed-spaces, yet contain no parking spaces. The word is changing. Our transport hierarchy puts the pedestrian first, then cycling, then public transport and goods vehicles, and then private car journeys. We’re not banning the car, but we want to give cars their rightful place in a sustainable transport hierarchy. It is important to note that according to NTA research over half (56%) of all retail spend in City Centre comes from people arriving on public transport, a further 24% from walkers/cyclists. Car-based shoppers account for only €1 in every €5 spent in town. Ann Graham, Chief Executive of the NTA has stated: : “People coming in by car will always be important – they do spend the most money per head when they are in town (€137) – it is the public transport, walking and cycling communities that deliver the strongest cash injection to the city’s economy as a whole.  After all, they account for over 80% of all visitors, and we will continue to put these people at the centre of our transport planning – for the long-term economic benefit of the city.”

Our newly adopted Dublin City Development Plan states the following:

-We will encourage and support alternatives to on street parking with a view to limiting this approach to parking so as to support family-friendly communities.

-We will minimise loss of on-street parking.

-We wish to discourage commuter parking and to ensure adequate but not excessive parking provision for short-term shopping, business and leisure use.

-We shall control the supply and price of all parking in the city in order to achieve sustainable transportation policy objectives.

-We want to provide for sustainable levels of car parking and car storage in residential schemes in accordance with Development Plan car parking standards (section 16.38) so as to promote city centre living and reduce the requirement for car parking.

-We intend finding new ways of addressing the parking needs of residents (such as car clubs) to reduce the requirement for car parking.

-We shall safeguard the residential parking component in mixed-use developments.

It is also an Objective of Dublin City Council to progressively eliminate all ‘free’ on-street parking, both within the canals and in adjacent areas where there is evidence of ‘all day’ commuter parking, through the imposition of appropriate parking controls, including disc parking. We shall renew restrictions on the use and cost of on-street parking and change them, as necessary, in order to discourage commuter parking, and to facilitate short-term parking for shopping, business and leisure purposes at appropriate locations.

Looking to the future, we shall put an emphasis on safety and reducing emissions. I believe that car clubs like GoCar and Yuko will expand. We will focus firmly on low carbon goals. I look forward to seeing automated vehicles on our streets that will move safely around vulnerable road users. We are not doing this alone. We are simply getting in line with other cities such as Oslo, Rome, and London that wish to reclaim the streets for all road users, and not just those travelling in motorised vehicles.

In Grangegorman the Dublin Institute of Technology is planning a new university campus that is largely car-free. I was in Rotterdam two weeks ago. A large underground bicycle park was thriving, and I was told that the new underground multi-storey car park is not as full as was planned. This I believe is the shape of things to come.

There is space in this vision for profitable busy car parks, but they will be part of comprehensive mobility management plans for our urban centres which will become more attractive places to live, work and relax in, in the years ahead. These car parks will increasingly be part of mixed-use buildings, with retail units on the ground flow, and offices and homes above. The Irish Parking Association has a role to play in creating successful urban centres in future years. We need your expertise and knowledge to create thriving towns, and I have no doubt that we can work together to create a Living City.

ENDS, page last updated 6th December 2016

Green Party welcomes Phoenix Park Tunnel opening, calls for further stations

phoenix-park-tunnelThe Green Party has welcomed the opening of the Phoenix Park Rail Tunnel to scheduled passenger services for the first time in its 139 year history. However it has also called for further stations to be opened on the line in order to improve rail services in Dublin.
Green Party Transport spokesperson Ciarán Cuffe said today:
“Today is a good day for Irish Rail, and I watched with delight as the 0835 from Hazelhatch passed under the Conyngham Road and into the Phoenix Park Tunnel. However it is also a lost opportunity to give commuters in West and North Dublin the opportunity to commute by rail to and from their place of work.

“Irish Rail must now consider opening up stations in Ballyfermot, Inchicore, and Phibsborough to serve passenger demand. They should also consider opening up Platform Ten at Heuston and adding a new eastbound platform. Thousands of commuters will welcome this new service, but there are thousands more living and working beside the rail track who would take up the opportunity to leave the car at home if we opened up further stations along the route.

Pages last updated, 21st November 2016

Green Party Welcome Luas U-turn on Broadstone Wall

bCuffe calls for more space for nature in City

The Green Party has welcomed the decision by the Luas Cross City team to remove the upper portion of the mass concrete wall which has been erected in front of the former Broadstone Railway Station. Speaking at a well-attended rally of more than one hundred people at Broadstone on 19th November 2016 local Councillor Ciarán Cuffe said:

“This is a victory for common sense and people power. I am pleased that Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Dublin City Council have now committed to railings rather than concrete for the upper part of the wall. I look forward to the removal of the upper wall and a landscaping plan for the Broadstone Plaza. Why is it that when other cities put in new infrastructure such as tram lines they prioritise nature rather than concrete in their plans? Look at the tram lines in Freiburg in Germany, Bilbao in Spain and Rotterdam in the Netherlands. In all three places they put grass rather than concrete between the tram tracks. That is what we should do in Dublin. I am concerned that the Luas Cross-City Team is focusing too much on concrete, and not enough on Green Infrastructure. The Light Rail Order specified railings, and TII must now remove their expensive mistake.

“Maurice Craig, Author of Dublin 1660-1860 said that Broadstone Station is “the last building in Dublin to partake of the sublime…. It stands on rising ground, and the traveller who sees it for the first time , so unexpected in its massive amplitude, feels a little as he might if he were to stumble unawares upon the monstrous silences of Karnak or Luxor… In architectural terms it is hard to praise it too highly…” It deserves to be revealed in all its glory rather than hidden behind a mass concrete wall.

“Looking ahead, I hope that Luas Cross City will ensure that they provide quality green infrastructure in the form of trees and planting at stations such as Dominick Street and Phibsborough. They also need to provide improved facilities for pedestrians and cyclists. I will work hard to ensure that Dublin City Council works with the Luas team to progress this.

The Broadstone Wall fiasco and similar projects such as the Clontarf Flood Relief Scheme show that we need to design more with nature, rather than throwing concrete at the problem. Where in Dublin are the living green walls, and wildlife spaces that are popping up in other cities? It is time we made more space for nature in the city.

The CIE Group needs to reconsider the inappropriate use of city centre lands that they own. It is unacceptable in this day and age to use this amazing 10 hectare site in the inner city for the storage of buses and bus drivers’ cars. It is wrong that waterfront sites in Ringsend, Conyngham Road and Clontarf as well as well located lands at Summerhill and Donnybrook are simply used as bus storage. CIE needs to rethink their use of land and give space for mixed-use development with a focus on quality housing for people who have been squeezed out of Dublin on these sites.

“We also need to ensure that Dublin City Council provides vision and leadership in the design of projects like these. I am concerned that the posts of City Engineer and Dublin City Planning officer are currently vacant. I also believe that we need to create a post of Head of Urban Planning and Design in Dublin City Council so that mistakes like this don’t happen again.

Page last updated 19th November 2016