To whom it concerns,
Riverwood Residents Association are delighted that electrification of the Maynooth line is finally in planning. We are, however, deeply concerned at the outrageous so-called “emerging preferred route” as a replacement for the level crossing at Coolmine. We are disappointed that 6 years after this was first disclosed, this suitable proposal continues to be Irish Rails preference.
We fully understand that this consultation is not a statutory one and we appreciate the opportunity to explain how misguided this proposal is. By doing so we can likely save you lots of time and money.
Throughout this consultation process residents have been repeatedly frustrated by Irish Rail. Questions have gone unanswered or replies have directed people to documents that do not contain the information requested.
Webinars were almost secret events with access only by-request. Members of the public had to take on the responsibility to spread the word about them.
During the presentation to the Fingal County Council Area Committee it was explained that Covid prevented the distribution of leaflets at Coolmine train station. It was not explained why posters, a safe method of notification, were not erected.
We fully understand that the Covid pandemic, and especially the escalation to Level 3, has complicated things, but residents have managed to host online information meetings and discussions. Irish Rail were simply disappointing in their almost non-existent efforts to inform local residents.
Incorrect MCA conclusions
The two rounds of Multi Criteria Analysis (MCA) appear, on the face of it, to be a thorough examination of each of the proposed 8 options. On closer examination we see the flaws.
For example, Option 8 (lowering the rail line) is dismissed immediately without further examination. Of course lowering the rail line is a disruptive option but we have found that in August 2015 Network Rail in the UK took only 6 days to lower over 1.5km of track to allow freight trains fit under an aqueduct. Where there is a will, there is a way!
In MCA1 for option 7 (pedestrian/cycle bridge with no provision for motor traffic) the cell that indicates the Geographical Integration (2.3) reads that “There is a significant development planned in the vicinity of Ashtown”. Ashtown is over 4km away so this is irrelevant.
Furthermore, the cell corresponding to Noise and Vibration (3.1) compares dwellings impacted within 50m for Option 7 with dwellings but within 100m for all the other options. This really feels like deliberate tweaking of data to fit an agenda.
Conflict with Corporate Social Responsibility Statement 2016
This document is filled with wonderful stories and statements. In the section about the company’s responsibility to the community is the following laudable statement:
We commit to operating our services and maintaining and enhancing our network while respecting the interests of those who live or own property close to our stations and our network.
This appears to have been forgotten by those that have massaged option 3 (bridge connecting St Mochta’s Grove/Stationcourt to Riverwood Court) to be the emerging preferred option.
Leave the level crossing
We do not accept that the closing of Coolmine level crossing is a prerequisite for the electrification of the line. We all know that the DART line has a number of level crossings along its length and this has not prevented the DART service from thriving and even being extended.
Reasons why the proposed flyover is a terrible idea
Let us detail a number of reasons why the proposed flyover between Station Court and Riverwood Court is a terrible idea:
- Your own traffic data showed that Dr Troy Bridge already carries a lot of traffic. This route is attractive because drivers will never be stopped by a closed level crossing. At peak times the noise and air pollution along that bridge is high. The air stinks of vehicle exhausts.
- A new flyover will be attractive to drivers that may otherwise choose a different route, imagining it to be a free flowing option to Castleknock and Chapelizod. This is “induced demand.” The level crossing and its frequent closures acts as a disincentive to increased car use. The impact of climate change demands that we stop making vehicle use attractive and instead work to increase take up of alternative modes of transport. A new flyover will run counter to this.
- Riverwood estate has open space areas throughout the estate. It is one of the best estates in the Carpenterstown area in this respect. Riverwood Court, the first phase of the development, is the exception within the estate as it has two small open space areas despite having the largest number of houses. Both of these open space areas would be destroyed by the proposed flyover.
- Station Court has a long, narrow open space area. It is the only open space area in that estate. The entire open space area would be built on by the proposed flyover.
- When a TD,Taoiseach Michael Martin said of the “Ready, Steady, Play” national play policy: “Parental fears of traffic and other possible dangers have led to children having fewer and fewer opportunities to play.” A flyover will remove those opportunities for children of Riverwood Court and Station Court
- In 2016 Riverwood estate was one of the first estates in Fingal county to have the speed limit within the estate reduced to 30km/h, to make a “Safe Zone”. Station Court has more recently had its speed limit reduced to 30km/h. This lower speed results in a lowering of noise pollution and less danger to pedestrians. The proposed flyover would see the speed returned to 50k/h, a regressive step and a loss of those positive gains.
- In late 2013 Irish Rail proposed closing Porterstown level crossing. A significant concern was the creation of a quiet cul de sac which would be a magnet for anti social behaviour. This is the same concern that we have for the proposed closing of the Coolmine level crossing. The loss of passing traffic and the passive surveillance that it provides will make the train station and any pedestrian bridge intimidating and unsafe. Furthermore, if the sides of the bridge are opaque like the current footbridge in the station or the footbridge at Adamstown, a pedestrian or cyclist will not be able to see through the sides to evaluate the safety of the bridge before using it.
- The drawings of the proposed flyover appear to involve closing the walkway through Riverwood Hall apartments. This is a very widely used route by pedestrians and cyclists. It is a quiet route to and from the train station. When walking and cycling should be encouraged Irish Rail is proposing making both more difficult.
- The old hedgerows alongside the rail line at Riverwood Court are natural animal habitats. Bordering the Royal Canal, we see foxes, rabbits, hedgehogs, badgers, rabbits, birds and bees.
We understand that the signalling along the Maynooth line is made up of long sections and this causes unnecessarily long level crossing closures. As the signalling will be upgraded as part of the DART+ project, we ask that it be done so to minimise closure time.
Riverwood Residents Association