Phoenix Park report looks at new bus service and speed limit reduction

by Rachel Darcy

A new bus service and a 30km speed limit are just some of the new measures being considered for Phoenix Park in a new report.

The Phoenix Park Transport and Mobility Options Report was published on Monday, with politicians welcoming proposals made in the document.

In the report, the Office of Public Works is aiming to introduce a series of changes to road access, and is examining closing the side gates to the park. They are also looking to improve walking, cycling and public transport in the park.

A new bus service is expected to be an orbital route that will connect with other public transport including the Luas, rail services at Heuston and Broombridge stations, and other bus routes.

The report follows a campaign last summer to reduce the number of cars in the park and give more space to pedestrians and cyclists. A Green Party petition in May 2020 on the issue received over 7,500 signatures.

Speaking following the release of the report, the Green Party’s Neasa Hourigan said it’s ‘a good starting point with many positives’.

TD Hourigan said: “There are many positives in this report in terms of both the core principles and key recommendations. That said I’ll be pushing for improvements including a firmer commitment to reduce commuter traffic and an explicit commitment to ensure access for all including the elderly, disabled, etc.”

Other recommendations in the report include a network of improved walking and cycling facilities, a new parking control strategy, and a review of the 95-year-old bye-laws of the park, as well as a reduction in the speed limit of the park from 50kph to 30kph.

Her colleague, Green Party councillor Michael Pidgeon, said that the OPW shouldn’t ‘shy away’ from ambitious proposals for the park.

TD Pidgeon said: “This could be the most transformational project for the Phoenix Park in nearly a century. The OPW shouldn’t shy away from embracing the most ambitious proposals.

“Reducing car dominance would not only be good for nature in the park, but help make it the calm, quiet place it should always have been. A lot of this is stuff we should have done years ago.

“When the park’s side gates closed last summer, we got a glimpse of how fantastic the park could be with fewer cars. This study builds on that and resolves some of the teething problems we had from the gate closure.

“The exact approach on how it’s done will need public consultation and I look forward to making a submission. From an initial read, the plan to end all through-traffic and divide the park into pods seems best.”

A public consultation phase will commence on January 29 for six weeks, with the aim of publishing a final report in April 2021.

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