Dublin’s street signs are not looking so good

We must stop treating our cities as glorified car parks and focus more on quality streets

Dublin street signs compare unfavourably to those in Paris, which often tell you who or what they are named after. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Dublin street signs compare unfavourably to those in Paris, which often tell you who or what they are named after. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Having lived in Dublin’s inner city for much of my life, I tend to get upset about the little things, like street-signs for example.

You go to Italy and signs are carved from stone and highlighted in black paint so that they’re visible from across the street: “Piazza della Scala” or “Via Monte Napoleone”.  In Paris they’re printed on blue and green enamel, and not only do they tell you which postal district you’re in, they often tell you what they’re named after: “Avenue Victor Hugo 1802-1885 écrivain, Poéte et Homme Politique”.  

Here we’ve got “Sráid Uí Chonaill. O’Connell Street”,  and the sign itself is almost unreadable due to a poor paint job.

Wouldn’t it read better as “Sráid Dónall Ó Conaill, Daniel O’Connell Street, 1775-1847, An Fuascailteoir, The Liberator”?

But really it is way past time we bit the bullet and planted more street trees

We could also rethink the typeface, but that’s another day’s work.

Trees and seating also come to mind. There’s lots of research out there linking human health and happiness to the presence of greenery but in our cities trees mean wealth, and their absence indicates poverty. Inner city streets often have parking on both sides, and not a single tree. There’s lots of reasons not to do it – underground services, loss of parking revenue, and maintenance – but really it is way past time we bit the bullet and planted more street trees.

The good news is that Dublin City Council hired an arborist recently. While we’re at it we could put in more public seating so that if you need a rest you can put your feet up without having to buy a drink.

We’ve had a public realm strategy in Dublin for the last few years, but when you see what cities like Amsterdam are like, you realise we’re in the ha’penny place. It is time we stopped treating our towns and cities as glorified car parks, and focused more on quality streets.

  • Ciaran Cuffe is a Green Party Dublin City Councillor
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