Calming Ringsend Traffic
The council should keep planters, bollards and a mini-roundabout on Pigeon House Road, put in as a trial to stop rat-running and other dangerous driver behaviour, councillors said at a meeting of Dublin City Council’s South East Area Committee on Monday.
Seventy-three percent of 538 people surveyed in January said they wanted the scheme to be permanent, said Andrew Duff, the council’s neighbourhood transport engineer for the southside, at the meeting.
Local residents and businesses around Ringsend Park had been sent leaflets to tell them about the consultation, he says.
Of those who responded, 91 lived on Pigeon House Road, 147 lived nearby, 133 passed through on their commute, and 152 had an unspecified use of the road.
(Part of the conversation around public traffic changes has been about whose voice should be prioritised – those who live closest, or anyone affected by issues around safer streets and less polluted air.)
Some of those who submitted responses asked for improvements, says the council’s report on the consultation, like reducing traffic on surrounding roads, repairs to the road’s surface, and addressing the issue of cars doing U-turns outside the Poolbeg Quay apartment complex.
The report says the council recommends that the scheme be made permanent and that the infrastructure would be worked on more too.
At the meeting, Mannix Flynn, an independent councillor, said: “There’s no doubt that this has been a very good success down there, particularly for the local community who live on Pigeon House Road.”
Said Claire Byrne, a Green Party councillor: “It’s great to see the overwhelming response was to be made permanent because there were concerns raised initially, understandably enough.”
It shows that trials are valuable, she said. “Through the trial process, those concerns were appeased.”
Flynn asked that improvements be made to the grass verge that runs alongside Pigeon House Road. “It’s all well and good to have a walkability and indeed a cyclability, but also there’s a massive grass verge there that needs to be treated.”
Danny Byrne, a Fine Gael councillor, asked that the roundabout at Sean Moore Road be urgently looked at. “It’s sinking and sinking and sinking.”
Duff, the council’s engineer, said he would talk to the external consultant and senior management about the issues outside of Pigeon House Road. “We want to work with the people down on Pigeon House Road and the surrounding areas.”
“We’re gonna talk to the residents down there and the businesses to see if we can come up with the best solution going forward to make this trial a permanent structure down there,” he said.
A Tearoom for Palmerston Park
The council is pressing ahead with plans to refurbish an old 1970s parks depot building in Palmerston Park into a tearoom and public toilets, learnt councillors at Monday’s meeting of the South East Area Committee.
Bernard Brady, a senior executive parks and landscape officer with the council, said that the council’s planning application has been working its way through the process known as Part 8. The next step is a vote by the full council.
If it gets built as planned, the new tearoom would have east- and west-facing windows, a kitchen with a hatch, a canopy, public and staff toilets, and space to store outdoor chairs, says the notification of approval.
The council will have to clear hedgerows behind the tearoom, replace tarmac with granite, and add new bike parking, it says.
The council received three observations to its planning application, it says, about the condition of the park, operation of the tearoom, and concerns about anti-social behaviour, litter and traffic.
Dermot Lacey, a Labour Party councillor, said he met with residents recently and was shocked by the state of Palmerston Park. “I thought it was a really, really poor condition.”
“Trees just seemed to be chopped down rather than pruned, the bushes around the edges were just butchered,” he said. “I mean it was appalling.”
Hazel Chu, a Green Party councillor, said people are happy with the playground, but there needs to be more work done to the park before the tearoom opens.
It’s a poor cousin when compared to nearby Ranelagh Gardens and Belgrave Square, she said. “Even though it’s a great spot, it seems fairly decrepit.”
The tearoom will bring more people to the park, she says. “With increased footfall, there needs to be increased maintenance.”
Brady said the council plans on meeting residents since people wrote in about the park maintenance. “The conservation management plan is due a review.”
The Future of a Coffee Kiosk
Councillors talked about a new arrangement for the leases for a council-owned coffee kiosk – the distinctive small red-brick building with striped canopies – on the junction of Adelaide Road and Leeson Street, not far from the Grand Canal.
Half of the kiosk was leased from December 1986 for 35 years. The other half, which held the former public toilets, was leased on 9 September 2005 for 35 years.
The leases are currently held “on assignment” by Perch Coffee Limited.
With the first lease expired, the council now wants to renegotiate the set up and lease the entire premises on a single 20-year lease.
Mannix Flynn, an independent councillor, said that he was concerned about the leaseholder flipping the lease. “I’m not comfortable in terms of this particular lease, you know, the length of the lease.”
Also, Flynn said that the toilets inside the kiosk are now gone. “I would much prefer to see public lavatories here.”
Claire Byrne, a Green Party councillor, said the lease refers to the building as having public toilets, but she’s not sure if they are still there. “Which is very unfortunate given the level of demand that we have in the city.”
Danny Byrne, a Fine Gael councillor, suggested that reduced rent or rates be offered to the operator if they open the toilets to the public.
“That might be a very good idea, because it would mean that we don’t have to go spending whatever it is on public loos,” he says.
Dermot Lacey, a Labour Party councillor, said he would support reduced rates or rent.
“While there may be outstanding issues, they are issues perhaps at the fault of the executive, rather than the lesser,” he said. “So let’s see if we get the answers and take it from there.”
Councillors agreed to discuss the issue at the next monthly council meeting.