CRA: North Bull Island Action Plan | Access to the Island
Yesterday we posted our first in a series of pieces on the Dublin City Council’s (DCCs) Action Plan for Bull Island (full report can be downloaded here). That post covered DCCs proposal in relation to Dogs on Bull Island as set out in their report. If you missed it you can read it here. Today we are looking at Accessing the Island. As always, we would welcome your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accessing the Island
In recent weeks both the Causeway Road and the Wooden Bridge were closed to vehicular traffic. As the restrictions have been eased both of these roads have now been reopened. The benefits from the lack of cars have been felt by many walkers and cyclists. Equally the lack of access to the beach for older people, those with mobility issues and parents with young children have also been felt. While the chaotic situation that often exists on both access points needs to be addressed, we have to find a solution that works for all members of society.
Vehicular Access to the Beach
Vehicular access to the beach was restricted in2005 to boulder enclosed areas at both the Wooden Bridge and the Causeway Road. The removal of cars from the beach has had a major impact on the dune system which has significantly recovered from previous damage caused by cars.
While access to the bouldered area at the Wooden Bridge remains in place access at the Causeway Road was removed in 2015.
CRA position: The CRA has long believed that vehicular access to the bouldered area at Causeway Road should be restored, even if only in a limited way at off-peak times for older and less able-bodied people who are unable to walk or cycle to the beach. The existing 2009 Management Plan for North Bull Island recommended that this restricted car parking continues on Dollymount Beach and the rationale for its removal has never been explained by DCC.
The Plan makes no mention of the Wooden Bridge.
CRA position: During the recent closure of the Bridge we had asked DCC to operate a one-way system on the walkways so that people could physically distance as much as possible during the current crisis. DCC has yet to respond to that suggestion.
The Plan refers to the 2016 Part 8 application for changes to the Causeway Road. These changes, approved by DCC in late 2017, if and when they are implemented will see:
- removal of one carriageway in either direction
- a reduction in the width of the remaining carriageways to 3m each
- the provision of chevron parking along both sides of the road, and
- the provision of then-new disabled parking spaces on the southern link road that leads from the roundabout to the beach.
CRA position: We posted about this planning application at the time and based on the feedback we received we welcomed the proposals apart from the fact that they did not include any provision for cyclists to continue from the cycle track on the coast road on to the beach.
Sutton to Sandycove cycleway
This lack of a cycle track linking the coast road track to the beach is noted in the Plan and while the plan says it will be addressed as part of the proposed new Discovery Centre, no details are provided.
CRA position: We welcome the fact that DCC has now taken on board the need to complete this missing link of cycling track. It is regrettable that it wasn’t included in the previous planning application as, if it had been, we would have an already designed solution that could be put in place on a temporary basis to deal with the current need to provide physical distancing between cyclists and walkers on Causeway Road.
The provision of beach wheelchairs on Dollymount is simply mentioned in the Plan.
CRA position: The beach wheelchairs were originally provided by DCC in 2016. Full details of the arrangements for accessing the same can be found here http://www.dublincity.ie/main-menu-services-recreation-culture-dublin-city-parks/whats-new. This is a wonderful service for less able-bodied and we would welcome the further promotion of the scheme.
We would welcome your views on any of these matters but in particular, we would like to have your thoughts on:
- the lack of access to beach parking at Causeway Road;
- the lack of cycling facilities on the Causeway Road;
- whether the walkways on the Wooden Bridge should be made one way; and,
- the suggestion from some that the Wooden Bridge should be closed to traffic.