Cars and the Phoenix Park
Sir, – It is welcome to learn that the OPW has decided keep most of the gates to Dublin’s Phoenix Park closed, at least for the present (Olivia Kelly, “OPW reverses Phoenix Park gate opening plan”, News, June 5th).
I have been a frequent visitor to the park since my childhood, and I have never seen it so clear of cars and so full of people since the travel limit was increased to 5km.
Many people have called for a ban on traffic through the park but, while this certainly would be beneficial, we have to be practical.
The park’s main road, Chesterfield Avenue, is a major traffic route from the west of the city to the city centre, and so it is most unlikely to be closed off any time soon.
But with all the other gates shut to traffic, the number of cars in the park has been dramatically reduced. Cyclists, walkers, skaters and families have all moved to the spaces once occupied by cars. The park is so quiet, with little more than the sound of birdsong and the conversation of people enjoying themselves. It must be heaven for the wildlife.
The OPW is going to keep the situation under review.
There is no earthly reason to open the gates currently closed, and no reason why the present wonderful arrangement isn’t allowed to continue. This would cause hardship for no-one and bring huge benefit to many people and to one of the greatest open spaces in the city. The OPW should seriously consider the addition of a shuttle bus so those without cars would also be able to enjoy the remoter areas of the park.
Other than that, there is no need at present for change.
I am aware that consideration is being given to development of the visitor centre and the magazine fort, but these are matters for another day. – Yours, etc,