Friday, April 8, 2011

Transport Blues

It was only a matter of time I suppose, but it is disappointing to read in today's Irish Times that only one of the three big public transport initiatives in Dublin will now proceed in the medium term. Each of the three projects brings different benefits to the city but only through their combination would we end up with a truly integrated public transport system in Dublin.

From the noises that are being made it seems like Metro North will be the most likely to proceed. I have previously blogged on MN and still believe that it is fundamental to the proper future development of the city. Just to reiterate there though, it is NOT just a link to the airport. It is a corridor connecting Swords (40,000), the Airport (20 million passengers), Ballymun (25,000), DCU (15,000 students and staff), Mater Hospital (site of Children's Hospital) with the City Centre and interchanges with Luas and Dart.

The second option is the Interconnector, or Dart Underground as it is being marketed. This line which would join Heuston station with the northern Dart line through a tunnel via Christchurch, Stephen's Green and Docklands, bypassing Connolly, is actually the most important project in my opinion. The current bottleneck at Connolly cannot be remedied by signalling or other incremental improvements. The only way to improve services is to bypass the station and end up with one line running Malahide to Sallins and the other from Greystones to Maynooth with a crossover at Pearse.

The third option is the LUAS BX-D project from Stephen's Green, via O'Connell Street and Grangegorman to join the Maynooth trainline at Broombridge. While it makes sense to finally join the two existing LUAS lines, this should not be done until the central section of MN has been built as that construction will most likely result in tearing up the BX section of LUAS along Westmoreland and O'Connell Streets.

Of course, the really galling thing about all this is that none of these are new projects. All have been mooted in some form or another since the mid 70s in the DRRTS in the case of MN and the Interconnector or the mid 90s plan for LUAS. Successive governments have tinkered around with the plans, sat on reports, commissioned new studies and all other possible time wasting activities rather than just going ahead and building the infrastructure. Now when we need to throw all our spare cash into the banks, it comes as no surprise that worthwhile infrastructural investments are the first to be sacrificed on the altar of the EU/IMF.

No comments:

Post a Comment