Autumn News - Stoneybatter & Grangegorman
21 September 2020
The last few months have certainly been very difficult for communities across the country. Here in Stoneybatter, we have seen great community spirit and local volunteers rallying to assist their more vulnerable and self-isolating neighbours and supporting our wonderful array of local businesses. We have shown what a great, resilient community we have here in Stoneybatter.
Over the past few months Dublin City Council has taken a number of initiatives, some welcome and others which have created divisions across the community. The main lesson learnt from the impact of these initiatives is the absolute necessity of proper community consultation with all stakeholders in introducing major changes. The City Council continues to meet at the Mansion House and we hold meetings of the Central Area Committee and other Policy Committees through Zoom. Below is an update on some of the issues we have been discussing in recent months. I would be interested in your views on any or all of these matters. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Filtered Permeability Scheme at Grangegorman
At its meeting on 8th September, the Central Area Committee of Dublin City Council discussed the Filtered Permeability Scheme at Grangegorman which was trialled over the months of July, August and September. There was much concern expressed at the manner in which it was implemented by Dublin City Council without proper communication and consultation. Together with my Labour colleague, Cllr Declan Meenagh, I tabled the motion below which was agreed by the Area Committee.
A full consultation with all communities and stakeholders impacted by the changes will now be conducted by Dublin City Council.
Motion: Cllr Joe Costello & Cllr Declan Meenagh
That the Central Area Committee agrees to extend the trial period of the Filtered Permeability Scheme at Grangegorman until 31st January 2021 so that an informed assessment can be made of the scheme at the January Area Committee. During that time the Traffic Department and Covid Mobility Team would undertake the following community consultation and reporting process:
- A leaflet to be distributed to all households and businesses in the Grangegorman, Stoneybatter and Phibsborough areas, as agreed at the Area Committee meeting in July;
- All the major stakeholders to be consulted including residents’ associations, the business community, each of the primary and secondary schools in the area, TU Dublin, the Grangegorman Development Agency, The HSE Primary Care Centre, the HSE Phoenix Care Centre, the DCC Bring Centre;
- The Covid Mobility Team/Traffic Department to liaise with BusConnects to determine the proposals for the Blanchardstown QBC which will cover all of Stoneybatter and Grangegorman
- The Covid Mobility Team/Traffic Department to produce a comprehensive traffic modelling report indicating the full impact of the scheme on the wider area;
- The issues raised by residents, businesses and institutions to be addressed fully in the report;
- The Covid Mobility Team/Traffic Department to give serious consideration to alternative proposals such as segregated cycle routes, time restrictions, speed limits etc. & report on these.
The Covid Mobility Team/Traffic Department to circulate a comprehensive report to Councillors at least one week in advance of the January Area Committee meeting for discussion and decision.
Cycle Lane on Manor Street
The erection of paddle-barriers at the Cycle Lane on Manor Street is a further example of Dublin City Council failing to consult stakeholders. There was no consultation with the businesses affected prior to their installation. While cyclists reported huge satisfaction with the additional safety of the barriers, businesses reported losses in trade and some had to let staff go. The issue was discussed in detail at the last meeting of the Area Committee. It was agreed that a barrier should remain in place but that the large barriers will be replaced by the more flexible mini-orca paddles. The operating times of the cycle lane will be strictly enforced while at the same time provision will be made for deliveries and collections.
Over the past year, the Dublin City Council Stoneybatter Greening Team has conducted an extensive consultation with local residents’ groups. The team has now published its report which identifies a substantial number of environmental projects. Funding and local buy-in for the ideas presented here will be key to moving the projects onto the next stage. The report can be viewed at http:/bit.ly/greeningstoneybatter
I would be interested to receive your feedback on the ideas presented in the report. You can also email your views directly to the Greening Stoneybatter team email@example.com
One of the central problems with the initiatives taken under the umbrella of the Covid-19 Mobility team was the failure to take account of the NTA proposals for BusConnects. I made a comprehensive submission to BusConnects in June (http://bit.ly/BusConnectsSubmission) in which I highlighted the issues of concern to residents in Stoneybatter and proposed constructive solutions to these issues. The engagement with the NTA has been largely positive and I have found the NTA willing to listen and make changes in certain areas. However, key concerns remain on a number of issues.
Moreover, the Covid-19 crisis has impacted greatly on thinking in relation to public transport, cycling and footpaths. What is essential is that we retain the character of Stoneybatter as an urban village and that we do not become merely a transport corridor for commuters.
The NTA inform me that they will present their proposals, based on the submissions received during the last public consultation, in October and hope to go for planning permission in March/April 2021.
Phoenix Park Gates
During the COVID-19 lockdown, residents in Stoneybatter felt particularly lucky to have the wonderful green lung of the Phoenix Park on their doorstep. The decision to close the perimeter gates to traffic was viewed as a very positive development and enabled people to fully enjoy the amenity of the Park in a safe and secure way. There was genuine anger and upset by the manner in which all the gates were reopened to traffic without any prior consultation and indeed just after a commitment was made by the OPW to keep them closed. The Minister with responsibility for the OPW promised a full consultation on traffic management in the Park with all stakeholders in September. Unfortunately, that consultation has now been deferred until a future unspecified date.