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Congestion charges and canal parking… Dublin seeks ways to reduce traffic congestion

DUBLIN: Alternatives to reducing traffic congestion in Dublin are being discussed. Congestion charges and canal parking in major cities in other countries are being discussed, and they may be adopted here as well. Discussions on this are progressing at various levels.

Prof Brian Caulfield, of the School Of Engineering at TCD, says car congestion charges, similar as those in London, Singapore, and Stockholm, may be considered in the capital at some point in the future. He considers this to be one of the key proposals for making cities busy free.

“Stockholm is pretty similar to Dublin. What they did initially was rolled out extra bus services and increased the capacity on their rail networks. They did that over six months prior to introducing the congestion charge, and it was brought in there as a trial and people wanted to keep it and it is quite successful,” Mr. Caulfield points out.

Congestion charges and canal parking

“I think after 2027, when the Metro will have been delivered, as well as BusConnects, that’s when we need to start to consider congestion charges”, says Caulfield.

“I think people need an alternative and it’s not just BusConnects. It’s not just the Metrolink. There are other projects that can deliver mobility for the city, but without these in place, I do think it would be unfair and inequitable to expect motorists to be charged. But with those projects in place and the amount of money that the state is spending on them, I think a congestion charge is inevitable,” he added.

He also mentions that it is possible to check whether parking is accessible “within the city centre, within the canals”.

Prof. Caulfield also emphasized the importance of thinking big and imaginatively. There is a large amount of space given up for parking in the city center, and you should consult with architects and other engineers about what you can do creatively in that area, he said. It is hoped that there will be more apartments if private car parks are transferred over to other uses.

There should be public alternatives like Metro

Faughnan believes that providing alternatives is the best approach to alleviate traffic congestion. He says that there is no need to force people out of their cars when there are alternatives. “If you look at the Luas, for example, the lines that do run, or the DART system in Dublin, they provide an excellent service and nobody has to be persuaded to leave the car at home.

“The public transport options are packed. We’re 30 years talking about the need for Metro in Dublin. We still haven’t delivered it. And once you do have a quality public transport system to offer people, you suddenly find you don’t need a congestion charge,” he said.

“The best time to start doing this was probably in the 1960s. If you provide serious mass transit in that form, then if you have residual car use, you can look at it as taxable. But between now and then, it is a fantasy to pretend that our congestion problems, let alone our emissions problems, are caused by motorists who won’t do the right thing. It’s a fundamentally flawed diagnosis,” Prof. Caulfield added.

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