Citizens’ agenda
Local elections 2019

Paddy Monahan

 

Dublin is a very low density city and the supply of homes needs to increase dramatically. These must be not just high-end luxury homes – we need a mix of cost-rental homes, apartments and accommodation suitable for older people trading down. There are over 700 local authority and Housing Agency-owned sites (1,700 hectares). This land should be brought into use immediately to deliver homes with good social and tenure mix. Targets for the Dublin housing plan need to be increased.

 

Again it's about supply. Local-authority house-building targets need to be increased. In the meantime tenants’ rights need to be strengthened.The Social Democrats' policy is to have a rent freeze until enough supply is back in the system. And a transparent register of rental amounts in the council area. Security of tenure via indefinite tenancies – which are widespread in mainland Europe – is required.

 

We need to drastically increase the number of affordable and social housing units built. We must simplify the very complex set of housing bodies, charity provision and council provision. As with many of these questions on housing and homelessness we need to ensure vacant sites are put back into use through proper use of the vacant sites register.

 

Dublin City Council needs the resources to properly maintain and update the Vacant Sites Register. As a councillor I will support motions to prioritise development on vacant sites. Business owners and site owners must be actively incentivised to rent out empty spaces for local businesses, community groups and recreation. Empty overshop floors should be used for residential rental which offers more choice for young renters and brings life back to empty urban streets.

 

I am a huge advocate for public transport. It’s more efficient and more eco-friendly. For decades we have encouraged private-car use in Dublin city centre through very cheap on-street parking and very little in the way of cycle lanes and decent public transport. Public transport should be made cheaper to incentivise use. Much of the road space in the city that is currently dedicated to cars must be given over to safe, segregated cycle lanes and better bus lanes.

The BusConnects redesign may go some way to addressing these issues, particularly in the suburbs. As a councillor I will facilitate sensible changes to road layouts under BusConnects, redesign of junctions to help ease congestion for all road users while ensuring that the public consultation process continues.

On the council I will advocate for sensible and simple measures like transfer tickets between buses, reduction in fares, local link services for the elderly.

 

I’m a daily cyclist and my bike is my primary mode of transport. I am an active campaigner to improve Dublin’s very poor cycling infrastructure. In short, we need to Copenhagenise. That means we need to have an over-arching policy to prioritise cycling as a major transport solution. First, last and always we need safe, segregated cycle lanes throughout the city.

There was no consultation process on allowing cars to dominate our city over the decades – so why did it take eight years for the Liffey cycle route to be approved. We need to end these ridiculous delays in cycling planning throughout the city. We need to be experimental in our approach to changes throughout the city centre to discourage car use and encourage bicycle use. We must measure the success of these measures and adapt as necessary.

Specific measures include segregated cycle lanes as the norm, the roll-out of more bicycle parking spaces, priority green lights for bikes, left turns on red for bikes and so on.

 

The local council level is a great place to tackle climate change. Microgeneration, renewable energy schemes and better municipal recycling can be driven locally by the council. While I welcome the city council climate action plan I believe it could go further. Public lighting and building upgrades need to be rolled out across older suburbs as well as new developments. Council policy should be to take the energy saving and transport initiatives to the people through schools, community groups and online. We can't rely on just promoting within council buildings.

 

Illegal dumping is a big issue in parts of the ward and the laws are in place to deal with it. What we are missing is consistent enforcement and the Garda resources to deal with the problem. Council sweeping and cleaning services are inadequate and we need to provide those resources based on need and population – to help people living in "black spot" areas. We need more litter wardens, active on the street.

 

Parks and green spaces are one of the easiest ways to improve people’s quality of life. We have some very good examples in Donaghmede and Raheny like Father Collins Park and St Anne's. New developments must be planned with sufficient "high quality" green space, which includes amenities and furniture, not just empty greens. This is something that the council can control. As stated above, we are in the midst of a housing crisis but building on our community park lands is not the answer. I’ve set out above many ways in which the housing crisis based around policy change but, for example, allowing the sale of the school lands within St Anne’s Park for luxury apartments will do next to nothing to address the housing crisis. St Anne’s, the lungs of the north side, is an example of the type of green space that must be protected.

 

The availbility of quality public spaces is vital to keep our communities connected and to attract art, life and business to our streets. We need to draw on international best practice for design and maintenance of our public spaces. Proper investment in street furniture, traffic management and designing with the pedestrian and the public in mind. We need to ask experts and to only make changes to good plans when we have evidence that the change will have a positive impact on the space, not based on who shouts the loudest.

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