Submission to DLRCC

May 2002: S2S Submission to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council


Mr T McHugh
Senior Executive Officer
Economic Development & Planning Department
Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council
Civic Offices
Marine Road
Dun Loaghaire
17 May 2002
Re Coastal Plan
Dear Sir

S2S is an independent voluntary group which has been formed to promote the construction of a combined seafront promenade and cycleway extending from Sutton to Sandycove and linking to the city centre. We enclose a copy of our brochure which summaries the proposal. We wish to make the following submission to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council in relation to the Draft Coastal Plan.

1. Draft Coastal Plan

We welcome the draft plan and commend the Council for having taken the initiative in having it prepared. In particular, we are grateful to the Council for having consulted the community by way of public meetings and requests for submissions, which in part were instrumental in bring about the setting up of the S2S group.

2. Particular Proposals in the Coastal Plan

We welcome the specific proposal of the Draft Coastal Plan to provide a seafront promenade from Booterstown to Blackrock with the objective of extending it to Dun Laoghaire. We also welcome the proposal to extend the provision of cycleway in the relevant area. We believe that these proposals are very similar to those put forward by S2S and with a relatively minor adjustment could be extended to achieve significantly greater benefits for the community, which would derive from the S2S proposal.

3. S2S Proposal

The proposed promenade and cycleway would extend approximately 22kms from Sutton to Sandycove, linking and upgrading where appropriate, existing walkways and cycleways. Where these do not exist, it is proposed to construct a combined promenade and cycleway, each of which would be about 3 metres wide.

On the north side of the bay, much of the facility already exists and needs only to be upgraded, made continuous and better protected from the elements. On the south side, proposals for a seafront walkway by the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council could be enhanced to provide a continuous and level promenade, wheelchair and cycleway on the sea side of the Dart line from Dun Laoghaire to the Merrion Strand. A sea wall, similar in proportions to the existing wall protecting the railway line could be finished in granite. The facility should be provided with high quality seating, waste bins and dog scoops, eco-friendly lighting and steps or ramps onto the beach at appropriate locations. New bridges at The East Link Bridge and the Grand Canal Gut would link the facility across the Liffey and along the quays to the city centre.

4. Access

The viability and success of the promenade and cycleway for everyone, including disabled persons, cyclists and pedestrians, require easy access at reasonably frequent intervals. Specifically, we believe that the there should be ramped access across the Dart line at Blackrock and Booterstown, in addition to those that would be available at Merrion Gates, Seapoint and Dun Laoghaire. Such new accesses might be developed in conjunction with CIE, who are also required to provide disabled access to the east side of the DART stations in the same locations. Existing steps and bridges over the DART line should also be retained.

5. Attractions and Benefits of Seafront Promenade

It would provide a quiet, safe, level, pollution and traffic free walkway serving a large catchement area.
It would provide an attractive new amenity for the citizens of the city and visitors, linking the north and south suburbs and the city centre to the bay.
Many more people would be encouraged to use it for exercise or to walk to work or school.
By encouraging more people to walk to work or children to walk to school, a reduction in the number of cars on the roads will be achieved.
There would be significant benefits to community health arising from the increased walking activity and the reduction in stress associated with gridlock traffic.

6. Attractions / Benefits of the Cycleway

The proposal would provide 22kms of level, safe and virtually traffic free cycleway.
It would form the backbone of an extended cycleway reaching into the inner suburbs.
It has the potential to persuade large numbers of commuters and school goers to switch from private cars, or public transport to bicycles.
It would have a significant positive effect on the current traffic and transport problems in the area and benefits to public health.

7. Synergies

The combination of a cycleway and promenade will distribute the cost across two facilities bringing significant economies.
Combining the two will increase their use and thereby improve security and safety for users.
The combination of ramped access to the cycleway will also provide wheelchair access to the DART stations and the promenade.
A number of existing and proposed cycleways terminate at the DART stations. These would be linked together and on into the city, by the proposed facility.
The cycleway is likely to attract grants or subsidies from National and EU sources which would not be available to the promenade alone.

8. Other Authorities

S2S has in the recent past discussed the proposal with technical officers in Dublin City Council, Fingal County Council, the Dublin Docklands Development Authority and the Dublin Transportation Office. While these authorities have not formally adopted the proposal in the short time since they were presented, the response from all of them has been positive, without exception. We believe, given a little time, all of the authorities will adopt the proposal as part of their development plans. The DDDA has already commenced construction on a promenade and cycleway along both north and south quays from the Custom House to the East link bridge.

9. Environmental

Part of the importance of Dublin Bay as an amenity is its natural and historic heritage. Any proposal to construct a seafront promenade and cycle way must be subject to a detailed design study and careful analysis of its impact. The layout, design and choice of materials should be of a high quality and such as to enhance the environment and respect the natural or historic heritage. The reasonable concerns of residents living alongside the route in respect of security or other matters should be taken into account. A well-designed and constructed promenade would become, like the Halfpenny Bridge or St Stephen’s Green, something that is both useful and attractive, a source of pride to Dubliners that would encourage a better appreciation of Dublin Bay, ensuring its continuance as an amenity into the future. Most of all, it will be recognised that the overall benefits to the environment of a continuous safe and level promenade and cycle way are likely to be very significant.

10. Summary

We believe that this proposal is environmentally friendly, sustainable, relatively inexpensive and achievable. It is one that would have significant benefits for the citizens and visitors alike. We request Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council in its review of the Draft Coastal Plan to include a combined seafront promenade and cycleway as an objective, subject to the completion of a detailed design study and environmental impact study and the availability of finance. We believe that in doing so the Council will be taking a lead in the accomplishment of a facility that would transform our perception and use of Dublin Bay in a manner that will benefit citizens and visitors for generations to come.

Yours sincerely