THE introduction of a bus service, a near doubling of cycle routes, a blanket 30km speed limit and the gradual deterrence of private cars are among plans to overhaul access to and transport within the Phoenix Park.
o permanent gate closures are proposed but one, Cabra Gate, is to be for buses, cyclists and walkers only; Ashtown Gate is to be for entry only and Knockmaroon Gate would lead to a cul-de-sac.
Several other cul-de-sacs would also be created to allow visitors use cars to reach amenities but deter through-traffic.
Buses would serve key attractions, including Dublin Zoo and the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre, and provide commuter services for the 2,800 people who work in the park, with links to other services in the north city, as well as to Heuston and Broombridge rail stations and the Luas Green Line.
Chesterfield Avenue would continue to be open to traffic but with extra cycle lanes and with bus priority at junctions.
In total, 3km of internal roads would be traffic-free under the plans, while 13.5km would see reduced traffic.
An extra 14km of cycling routes would be provided and the 17km of existing cycle lanes would be upgraded.
Upgrades for 7.2km of existing walking routes would be carried out and pedestrian crossings would be installed throughout the park.
The plans are contained in a study drawn up in a joint exercise by the Office of Public Works, National Transport Authority, Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council.
OPW Minister Patrick O’Donovan ordered the study after a temporary ban on cars in the park during the first Covid-19 restrictions last spring and summer prompted calls for a permanent prohibition.
The group examined ten separate traffic and road option packages and three public transport plans before arriving at their preferred strategy which is to be published late on Tuesday,
They say the strategy would need to be supported by new parking controls and by-laws to further deter private vehicles from using the park where not strictly necessary.
A phased introduced of the changes is advised, beginning within months with an interim bus service and the piloting of cul-de-sacs at North Road, Upper Glen Road and the Upper Glen Road car park.
Other changes would be rolled out over five years with a review and update of the strategy to take place then.
The working group say data collection from the start will be essential in monitoring how the changes are working and whether they are having the desired impact.
More extreme changes, such as full gate closures, were rejected as the group said private cars would continue to have some role in providing access to the park and its amenities although they would be discouraged by all the other measures.
The group said their clear ambition, however, was that cycling and walking would be prioritised, that the park’s historic landscape and biodiversity would be respected and that any changes or new infrastructure cause “no net loss of trees or green space”.
Source: Irish News