Restrictions to stop SUV drivers mounting south Dublin footpath to be introduced

Traffic measure between Ranelagh and Donnybrook go into effect on Sunday

Traffic restrictions will come into force between Ranelagh and Donnybrook in south Dublin from Sunday to stop motorists, particularly SUV drivers, from mounting the footpath on a narrow residential road.

Dublin City Council has decided to block entry from Sandford Road into Belmont Avenue where motorists frequently drive along the footpath as the road is too narrow for large cars to pass each other.

Bollards will block access to vehicles, except bicycles and emergency vehicles, into Belmont Avenue from Sandford Road in Ranelagh. A one-way system, westbound only, will be in place between Belmont Gardens and Sandford Road.

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This will effectively end rat-running from Ranelagh to Donnybrook along Belmont Avenue, and will prevent direct car access from Ranelagh to St Mary’s National School, but will allow residents access in both directions for most of the road’s length.

Fine Gael Cllr Paddy McCartan said he was “very much in favour” of the scheme.

“The road is too narrow for the size of vehicles people are driving today — SUVs and people carriers, and there are a lot of aggressive road-rage incidents with people refusing to back up. What happens then is they illegally mount the footpaths to pass each other.”

Almost 800 cars turn from Sandford Road to Belmont Avenue during the morning peak of 7am to 10am, Mr McCartan said, acknowledging the restrictions would inevitably result in greater levels of traffic on parallel routes.

“There will be knock-on effects on Marlborough Road and Eglington Road, but we have to prioritise safety. There needs to be a change of mindset with people choosing alternative modes of transport because I think this type of intervention is going to become more common,” he said. “Many of those 800 cars have one person in them or have children being dropped to school. People have to think of a better way of getting around.”

‘Fear and dread’

Belmont Avenue resident Hilary Ryan said motorists regularly drove for an extended distance along the footpath.

“We live in fear and dread of a child, or even an adult being fatally injured from people driving down the footpath.”

She had seen trucks performing the manoeuvre, but most commonly it was drivers of large cars.

“We seem to have got very American; everyone is driving these big SUVs — big tractors of cars. I’m a teacher myself and there’s some people who would almost drive their kids into the classroom! In a way, it’s hard to blame them because they feel it’s too dangerous for their children to walk or cycle.”

The council will monitor traffic volumes in the area over the next six months before deciding whether to make the scheme permanent.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times