Sandymount residents call for traffic calming on Strand Road

Traffic volumes on coast road damaging environment, health and safety

Strand Road, Sandymount: Dublin City Council is appealing the  rejection by the High Court of a cycle path on the coastal route. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

Strand Road, Sandymount: Dublin City Council is appealing the rejection by the High Court of a cycle path on the coastal route. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

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Residents in Dublin’s Sandymount area are appealing to Dublin City Council to implement traffic calming measures on Strand Road, following the rejection by the High Court of a cycle path on the coastal route.

The road had in recent years seen significant increases in commuter traffic from the south of the city and county, and had become a “rat run” for Dublin Airport, residents said, with traffic volumes and speeds now at dangerous levels.

The High Court last month ruled the council could not go ahead with its proposed six-month trial of a cycle path on Strand Road without seeking planning permission. The council is appealing the court’s decision.

The challenge to the cycle path had been taken by local resident Peter Carvill of the Serpentine Avenue, Tritonville and Claremont Roads group and by Independent councillor Mannix Flynn.

Residents living on Strand Road said it was carrying volumes of traffic for which it was never designed, resulting in significant negative safety, health and environmental effects.

The residents, who were in favour of the council’s cycle path trial, said they were glad to see the council was appealing the court’s decision, but said action was urgently needed to reduce traffic on the road.

“The council’s own surveys show Strand Road experiences amongst the highest levels of nitrous oxide and other carcinogenic air pollutants,” resident Simon Coyle said. “In addition, the council’s measurements show the road to be among the noisiest in the entire city. In terms of traffic natures, volumes and speeds, the council’s own surveys point to these being way in excess of the levels which should be associated with a road of its size and construction.”

Office development

Mr Coyle, who represents the Strand Road Pro Trial Group, said office development in the docklands had increased commuter traffic with the council’s surveys showing significantly higher levels of traffic on Strand Road, than on the far wider Merrion Road.

“The diversion of less than half the traffic on Strand Road would result in an increase of 114 per cent of the traffic on the Merrion Road.” Mr Coyle noted this figure had been cited in Mr Justice Charles Meenan’s ruling. “This implies that less than half the traffic on Strand Road constitutes more than the traffic on the Merrion Road, a road which is in excess of twice the width of Strand Road.”

The development of the Glass Bottle site and the expansion of Dublin Port would only exacerbate the traffic on Strand Road, he said. There was also the problem that heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), prohibited from using Strand Road from 7am to 7pm without a permit, were abusing this system, he said.

“A significant number of HGV and truck movements which should be using the Port Tunnel and M50 to access south county Dublin and the southeast in general are, in fact, opting instead to use Strand Road.”

Mr Coyle, who has lived on Strand Road for 32 years, said both lorries and cars did not obey the 50km/h limit, let alone the reduction to 30km/h introduced by the council ahead of the planned cycle path works.

“What is required to effectively deal with the position is a 24/7 ban on HGVs and trucks over a specific weight from using the roads.” Ramps should be installed to reduce speeds, in addition to pedestrian crossings, he said.

The council said it was “aware of the issues with speeding and the illegal use of this road by some HGVs accessing the port” and “it is our intention to consider a number of options to reduce speed and illegal HGV traffic, as well as pedestrian safety measures”. Proposals would be brought to the South East Area Committee for discussion, it said.