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The report found ‘experimental, temporary or pilot changes’ to restrict vehicular use and allocate more road space to bicycles and other forms of active travel ‘should be encouraged’. Photograph: Tom Honan
Further study of the impact of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown’s new coastal mobility route has been recommended by report from the Technological University of Dublin.
The report, which is supportive of efforts introduced to restrict space for private cars and increase space for walking and cycling, considered Covid-19 “temporary” traffic measures in Blackrock Village, as well as the local authority’s changes to traffic on the coast road from Blackrock to Sandycove.
It found “experimental, temporary or pilot changes” to restrict vehicular use and allocate more road space to bicycles and other forms of active travel “should be encouraged”.
Referring to the coastal mobility route which reduced road space for cars from one lane in each direction to one lane in a one-way system, the report said new travel patterns , modes and habits “would evolve over time” .
It recommend connecting “the missing links of the coastal mobility route from Blackrock Village to Seapoint Avenue, and from Old Dunleary Road to Queen’s Road” as this would increase “the network effect of the route”, as well as more immediate improvements to pedestrians crossings at strategic points.
But it said more study was needed this year and next to monitor these changes.
In relation to Blackrock village the report claimed 72 per cent approval from the business community for the traffic changes which resulted in assigning more road space and more of the public realm to active travel such as cycling and walking.
The report recommended that a new, permanent, public realm regeneration plan for Blackrock Main Street, and adjacent streets as considered necessary “on the basis of the success of the Covid-19 temporary public realm interventions”
The report said the temporary measures, introduced in the summer of 2020, brought about a reduction of 40 per cent in number of detected car trips on Blackrock Main Street. It also said after the measures were introduced more bicycles than cars were observed on the street.
In terms of stakeholder engagement it said some 72 per cent of businesses in Blackrock approved of the new arrangements, while the same number would like the changes to Blackrock Main Street made permanent .
TU Dublin said it was was commissioned by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council “to independently examine the impact and reaction to the changes initiated during the pandemic”.
The research team, led by Dr Sarah Rock of the The Sustainable Transport and Mobility Research Group, at the School of Transport Engineering, Environment and Planning in TU, noted that Dun Laoghaire Rathdown’s approach to stakeholder engagement was “ atypical within an Irish context through its focus on speed, direct on-the-ground engagement and collaboration”.
During the study timeframe, “traffic patterns have changed dramatically, shifting away from traditional morning peak commuting towards higher levels of more locally based journeys during the day and evenings”, the researchers said.
The study suggests that traffic patterns will continue to evolve as Covid-19 restrictions lift and change, and further research is recommended over the coming months to monitor these mobility changes.
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