M50 plan breaches fundamental policy

8th August 2001

You couldn’t have missed the advertisements for the consultation about the upgrade of the M50. We’re all invited to participate. Isn’t that nice?

But before you rush out to get a pencil and paper to design your own M50, you should know that it has already been designed. What is being asked of you is to endorse the plans the National Roads Authority (NRA) already have.

If I was a cynical type I might be tempted to call this window-dressing and that this type of ‘consultation’ is only there to meet EU regulations.

And there’s an element of that in it. But it is good for the little stuff and people who live next to the M50 should get the facts on what is happening and suggest changes.

If you want the M50 rerouted – forget it. If you want extra trees planted to reduce the noise – you might just get it.

In the case of the Dublin Port Tunnel, local residents in Santry managed to have the portal moved a kilometre up the M1. So don’t despair.

But I digress. The essentials of the M50 plan is to increase the carriageway to six lanes and to upgrade the interchanges.

I happen to live a stone’s throw from one of these exchanges, the junction of the M50 and the Galway Road (N4), and as I have spent a considerable portion of my life at this junction I’m glad to see there’s going to be something done about it.

What is proposed is a spaghetti junction. A very clever piece of design given the limited space available. No matter what direction you are heading there will be a dedicated road to bring you there.

A lot of people would say that this is the way they should have been designed in the first place.

Indeed. But to do it now breaches one of the fundamental policies that is supposed to inform transport policy in Dublin.

This is that no new road space should be provided heading into town. The M50 plan effectively dismantles a whole series of barriers at rush hour.

When you consider that these junctions might be complete before the proposed metro system you can see that the M50 plan is a complete reversal of policy.

This is at a time when the corporation is cutting down on commuting parking places in the city centre to keep cars out. This is at a time when the city centre is as damn near gridlock as you can get. This is at a time when every road in the city centre is being squeezed to put a bus lane on it.

So who is going to use this additional road capacity into town? Where are they going to park?

And how far are they going to get? At rush hour these cars are only going to get half a mile up the road before they stop anyway.

As I say, it’s nice of the NRA to consult with us, the public. Now perhaps they could consult with the DTO whose job it is to prevent Dublin sliding into total traffic chaos and see what they have to say about it.

As well as that…

Caught again

ANOTHER fine arrived for speeding, the second this year. This time I wasn’t driving the car. ‘Nuff said there.

The last time it was for speeding on the Lucan dual-carriageway on a stretch of road which has had its speed limit increased. This time it was for speeding on the Chapelizod Road down by the Phoenix Park.

This is the widest piece of road in the west of the city. Any time of the day you will find people breaching the 40mph limit.

If you want to.

What is going on with the guards? Are they interested in road safety or are they interested in filing statistics and collecting money?