Minister Ross launches public consultation by NTA on ambitious proposals to tackle Merrion Gate bottleneck

26 October 2016

The National Transport Authority is today opening a process of public consultation around proposals that will address the transport needs along the Sandymount/ Merrion – Blackrock corridor.

The study being published began as a fresh assessment of the possible layout for a cycle way and walking route around Dublin Bay South, and to re-evaluate the environmental issues and cost factors. Because the route effectively overlaps the Rock Road and Merrion Road, we thought we should also take the opportunity to consider in more integrated terms, the full transport needs along this corridor.

Today we are identifying our Emerging Preferred Scheme which seeks to provide a comprehensive solution to a complex set of transport needs, in a way that will deliver real benefits to bus and rail passengers, cyclists, pedestrians, and all road users. The benefits of the scheme include:

  • Improved safety for all road users, especially cyclists
  • A cross-city cycling and pedestrian amenity for use by locals and visitors alike
  • Improved travel times for buses and for cars
  • Improved rail service by eliminating risk caused by accidents and near-misses at Merrion Gates
  • Protection and enhancement of the local marine environment

Features of the scheme include:

  • Continuous pedestrian and cycle route from Irishtown to Seapoint
  • The completion of the Blackrock to City Centre Pedestrian and Cycle Route, as part of the East Coast Trail
  • Closure of the Merrion Gate level crossing
  • A realignment of the Strand Road incorporating a new bridge over the rail line, about 250 meters to the north of the current level crossing
  • Provision for significantly improved bus priority measures, particularly along the Merrion Road
  • A fully renewed road corridor with road surfacing, lane markings, pedestrian crossing and signage, benefitting all road users

Minister Ross said:

“As the pace of economic activity continues to pick up, there are more people coming and going to work, more people moving about, and more people visiting the city for business and pleasure.

“This is all very positive, but it does place a strain on our transport infrastructure.

“The area around Merrion Gates, is a case in point and the document that the NTA is publishing today, not only presents a detailed analysis of the transport needs along this stretch, but also lays out a framework for tackling the situation once and for all.

“It includes provisions such as:

  • A safe segregated cycleway as part of the East Coast Trail for both amenity and commuting purposes,
  • The closure of the Merrion Gates level crossing, improving rail safety and reliability,
  • Faster and more reliable bus movement along the Rock Road and Merrion road.

“But the objective here is not impose a solution, or to foist a particular outcome on commuters and communities. Far from it.

“Today marks the beginning of a consultation process  and the NTA is anxious that as many people as possible engage in that process.”

NTA CEO Anne Graham said:

“Traffic and congestion at Merrion Gates has become more and more acute in recent years. What we are putting forward today is an ambitious and forward-looking set of proposals that we feel will deliver real benefits to commuters, road users and local communities all along the route.

“But while the NTA has looked at this in great detail, what we are putting forward today is an Emerging Preferred Scheme and nothing more.

“To ensure the plan is as good as it can possibly be, we are from today, actively consulting with the public. If members of local communities, or public transport users, or cyclists, or road users or the business community have suggestions as to how we can do this better, we will certainly reflect that in the finalised plans.

“The Scheme we are bringing forward today is imaginative and far-reaching and I believe that it will deliver real benefits to people, not just in the immediate vicinity but across the city and beyond.

“We have examined very closely, a vast array of options and alternatives. The Emerging Preferred Scheme would seem to us at this stage, to be the one that offers the best range of solutions, but other people will undoubtedly have different perspectives, and we would like to take those on board.

“We are very anxious to get as wide a range of views as possible, and we want to engage with as many people as possible in the consultation process that gets under way today, so that we can be confident that final plan maps out the best way forward.”

Written submissions and observations may be made