Brennan’s intervention was scandalous

ISN’T it absolutely bloody typical that when someone does something bold about transport in Dublin, someone higher up just has to meddle.

It really doesn’t matter whether Seamus Brennan didn’t like the signs the Dublin Transportation Office (DTO) wanted to put up or not some weeks back. What matters is that the signs should have been given a chance.

The DTO was set up to manage Dublin’s traffic. It’s been there for years. Seamus Brennan has been Minister for Transport for the past two months and now he’s an expert on traffic in Dublin. Give me a break.

I have to say that after years of writing about transport in Dublin and years of writing submissions to various bodies I am truly weary of the whole subject.

The fact is (and now we know for sure) that there is no one in charge of traffic in Dublin. No person or body has the executive power to do anything about our traffic disaster.

If Owen Keegen was given the job (we were all misled) then he should have been given the power to go with the job. Then if the new traffic system had turned out badly we could have given Owen the boot. That’s actually the way executives are supposed to be treated.

What we have now is a total dog’s dinner. All the leaflets showing the new system complete with orbital routes and junction numbers have been distributed but now there are no signs on the streets.

The basic objection to these signs, it seems to me, is that people are stupid. In fact, people are actually very adaptable and would have gotten used to the signs over time. Road and junction numbers are used in many countries, especially by those who are unfamiliar with the local layout. For those who know Dublin well, the signs would be of no hindrance.

We’re told that some sort of redesigned signs will be put up. But the whole episode leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

Meanwhile, the basic strategy is dead right. The city centre can’t be used as a motorway. At some point in the future we should pedestrianise O’Connell Street, O’Connell Bridge and College Green. Then we will have a real living city centre.

As well as that…

Just like old times

THE latest fiasco brought back to me the evening that Bertie Ahern, Mary Harney, Charlie McCreevey and Mary O’Rourke decided on where the Luas was going to run.

Years of debate went down the drain as the four stooges drew out the Luas lines on the back of a cigarette packet down at Leinster House.

That was the evening my heart sank into my shoes and I knew that Dublin would never get anything approximating to a decent transport system.

People will make a fair point about providing an alternative before banning cars. The reality is that until we exclude cars, surface public transport (ie, buses) is never going to work.

If Seamus Brennan wants to help Dublin’s traffic problems he should figure out some way of getting more money for the day to day running of public transport. That would be time better spent than butting in on someone else’s job.

So much for local democracy

A LOT of people in local government in Dublin must be wondering why they bother going to work in the morning. A traffic plan that has taken months of work by officials and councillors can be thrown in the garbage can by the whim of a minister.

Local government has been accused of being basically about the three Bs – Bogs, Bins and Burials. This latest gratuitous intervention by Seamus Brennan won’t have done anything to change that impression.

I suppose the next time Leitrim County Council want to fill a pothole outside Dromahair Seamus will want to be consulted. He’s that kind of hands-on guy.

Concern for outsiders

LOTS of people in Dublin were suddenly hugely concerned about outsiders not being able to find their way around the city. The words ‘An Lar’ would only confuse them, they said.

What? What are they talking about?

This city has always been brutal for signs. Actually, there are no signs to guide people around the place. Suppose you put a foreigner in Artane and told him to drive to Rathfarnham? What would he do?

He’d have to look up a map or ask someone, that’s what. And that’s the way it’s always been.

Of course, if he really wanted to get there he’d have to ask a culchie!