Residents must be consulted about changes to traffic management in the Phoenix Park including the ongoing closure of gates which is causing access problems, Fine Gael Senator Emer Currie has said.
The Dublin West Senator raised the issue after the Office of Public Works (OPW) said that it will maintain the closure of the peripheral gates to the Phoenix Park in order to facilitate an increase in use of the park by walkers and cyclists due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as signalling further measures to address traffic volumes.
Senator Currie said, “While efforts to curb traffic volumes, reclaim the natural landscape and prioritise cycling and walking are very much welcome, residents in Castleknock, Ashtown and surrounding areas have expressed concern that a transport strategy has not been put in place to deal with the millions of car journeys that take place in the park each year.
“This is an issue that I have raised with the OPW and have commented on in the Seanad.
“As well as a worrying build-up of traffic on roads leading to Chesterfield Avenue, some people who depend on access to the park such as the Phoenix Park school, Ashtown Stables, Zoo goers, employees at Garda Headquarters and regular park visitors have experienced significant tail backs. Local businesses that have just reopened have also been adversely affected.
“During the maximum restrictions when all but essential workers were required to stay at home, car traffic fell by 70% in Dublin City. Volumes are now at 75% of what it was before Covid-19 hit. I worry what impact the closure of these gates will have when more commuters are using the roads by the end of the summer.
“Last year the OPW advised they would conduct a Mobility Study of the Phoenix Park and gave a commitment to me they would consult local communities and stakeholders so a wider transport strategy can be developed for the area, with hopefully more public transport links. I hope the OPW will deliver on that commitment.”