A Cherrywood Luas to Shankill Walkway, Cycle Way (and Busway)

As the crow flies, Cherrywood Luas Station is 1200 meters (that is three quarters of a mile and a brisk 10 minute walk) from Saint Anne’s National School in Shankill. However if you were to walk it the only way possible, it would be over three kilometers.

Not only this, but a major accident and emergency hospital, Saint Columcille’s in Loughlinstown is a mere 600 metres as the crow flies, from the terminus. That is a six minute walk  – but again the long way around is over three times that. This is illustrated on the right.

The problem is, of course, that the Shanganagh river valley is in the way and the only way to get to the other side, assuming you are not a crow, is via Wyattville bridge.
You may well wonder how we managed to build an an expensive piece of transport infrastructure all the way to the edge of a cliff, without at least considering the possibility of making it a bit more accessible to the far side of the cliff and a major hospital such as Loughlinstown, and a major population centre, such as Shankill. However, while you are wondering this, I suggest you also ponder how we managed to build the same Luas to within 600 metres of a Quality Bus corridor without going the extra six tenths of a mile to connect them up. (You may even conclude that what is missing is Joined Up Thinking.)

But anyway. Enough bemoaning where we are at and on with a rather elegant solution. The Shanganagh Valley Viaduct, built many years ago for the Harcourt Street line, is still intact, and elegantly bridges the Shanganagh River Valley. So why not create a busway, cycleway and walkway, from the Luas terminus over the viaduct as far as the hospital and then create a walkway and cycleway along the alignment of the old Harcourt Street Line all the way to Shankill village – or at least Stonebridge Road. This last part will require a new footbridge over the M11. The resulting walk from the Luas to Stonebridge Road at Rathmichael School would be 1.3 kilometres which is about 300 yards less than a mile. The hospital would be 700 or so metres walk which is comfortably less than half a mile. All of this is illustrated below.

So what are the objections. I must say that I find it hard to see many, but there is one that is worth considering and that I will propose an innovative solution for. That objection is the view that may be taken that a walkway and cycleway such as that proposed may result in anti-social behaviour. The proposed walkway and cycleway will indeed pass by the rear gardens of a number of houses. However, speaking as someone who lives near a similar walkway, that at the back of Shankill Dart between Corbawn Lane and Shanganagh Cliffs, incidents of anti social behaviour are quite rare. In any case, I would suggest the following approach to essentially eliminate any chance of this.

A part of this plan, encourage the development of mews houses in the gardens of those houses with back gardens backing onto the proposed walkway and cycleway. In order to do this, the walkway and cycleway would also be a cul-de-sac road to facilitate vehicular access. In this way objections from landowners will be minimised if not eliminated as they are unlikely to object to a plan that gives them a site at the end of their gardens. If you look at Google Earth, you will see that most of the gardens are fairly substantial and have plenty of room for a mews house at the end. I must say also, that the houses in question have all had their value adversely impacted by the criss-crossing of two motorways in the vicinity, so a bit of good luck on the planning permission front by the owners would probably be appreciated.

In any case, the Dun Laoghaire County Development Plan calls for the development of Mews Roads to be encouraged, as indeed for the general densification of development in the county. Densification is particularly encouraged near to good public transport.

My own view of allowing Mews developments on the walkway, is that it is likely to make the walkway and cycleway more pleasant and indeed safer and I think it is to be encouraged.

So to a little more detail on the busway. I would suggest that Bus Trams, similar to those in Figure 3, be used.  A bustram is basically a Luas on rubber wheels with similar carrying capacity. If you are interested in reading more about bus trams, I suggest you go to wikipedia and search for articles on Curitiba, the Brazilian city where the concept was pioneered.

I can envisage a bus tram running from the Luas terminus, over the viaduct and into the hospital, and from there via the Loughlinstown roundabout and Commons Road to Shankill Dart station. Thereby joining up two very expensive pieces of transport infrastructure.  Other buses could run to other points in Shankill, Bray, Greystones and beyond.This would of course give us a Joined Up transport system and indeed  – joined up thinking.

So what to do next. Well I suggest the simplest thing to do is to leave a comment of support, and of course, petition your TDs and consellors.

Depending on the reaction I might organise a public meeting or some such.

Shane Hayes

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About sjkhayes
Exploring the best tools and methods for SAP implementations.

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