June 23, 2023

DART+ Coastal North

Ciarán Cuffe, MEP for Dublin
Green Party Comhaontas Glas
The Tara Building
11-15 Tara Street, Dublin 2

Community Liaison Officer (DART+ Coastal North)

Iarnród Éireann Via email: DARTCoastalNorth@irishrail.ie 

Inchicore Works, Inchicore Parade

Dublin 8, D08 K6Y3

Dear Madam/Sir,

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the second round of consultations for DART+ Coastal North. I support this project, which promises to provide high quality, sustainable public transport options to some of the most rapidly growing urban settlements in Ireland. In particular, the increase in frequency at stops beyond Malahide will be a game-changer for many households who currently feel they must rely on car journeys via the M1 motorway for reliable transport into Dublin. I suggest the following measures to ensure the success of this project.

  1. Measures to avoid reliance on a shuttle service from Howth to Howth Junction/Donaghmede should be taken as far as possible. Any shuttle service should be in addition to, rather than instead of, a direct line to/from Dublin City.
  2. However, a shuttle bus service from the airport to Clongriffin station would facilitate connectivity between the DART+ Network, the airport, and the forthcoming Metrolink. This in turn would alleviate some of the parking challenges currently being faced by the airport.
  3. Upgrades to Howth Junction Station should prioritise accessibility and the comfort of passengers and should be sufficient to allow for the smooth passage of large numbers of commuters from one platform to another. This station should be manned at all times to prevent anti-social behaviour and to provide assistance where needed. Wayfinding throughout this complex station is also of some importance, and adequate signage should be provided.
  4. Upgrades to other stations along the line would also be worthwhile. A survey of station amenities such as information displays, adequate seating, rain cover and bathroom facilities should inform potential upgrades.
  5. In particular, ongoing lift upgrades through the “Big Lift” initiative are essential. New lifts should be sufficient in size to contain two bicycles or a large motorised wheelchair. Once upgrades are complete, a strong emphasis must be placed on maintenance. 
  6. Where upgrades are taking place at bridges and stations, liaison officers should be in regular contact with the local community during periods of construction. All efforts should be made to monitor and minimise noise and other disruptions. 
  7. Furthermore, increased frequency corresponds to an increased importance of minimising noise pollution from the service itself. The potential for improving noise screens and installing long-welded rails and rail noise absorbers should be considered. 
  8. Modifying existing overbridges to raise the parapet height to 1.8m will have a negative impact on the visual amenity afforded to those who pass over those bridges. It may be appropriate to use a toughened glass or railings rather than an opaque material in the upper parts of those parapets.
  9. As upgrades to the telecommunication systems along the route are being provided it would be appropriate to provide infrastructure that will improve the wi-fi network for DART and mainline train passengers users along the route.
  10. Every opportunity should be taken to retain and conserve historic buildings and infrastructure that are within or adjacent to the proposed works and under control of the railway authorities. As an example of this, the image showing the View at Sutton Level Crossing shows an attractive railway signal box that appears poorly maintained and that could benefit from conservation. It is all very well to have a Heritage Constraints Report, but ultimately, a clear commitment to heritage is needed.
  11. The amount of advertising structures controlled by the railway authorities should be reduced within the scheme. The addition of illuminated advertsing structure on the railway bridges at Amiens Street and elsewhere in recent years have had a negative impact on the urban environment and it is hoped that this scheme will result in less advertising along the route.
  12. The conceptual image of Modified Howth Junction & Donaghmede Station Entrance includes a ‘DART+’ logo but no writing. The opportunity should be taken to introduce branding and lettering  that makes it clear that this and other stations are in fact railway stations. Such branding should be easily understood by both Dubliners and visitors to the city, and should link together a common branding and well-designed typography  for all rail-based public transport in the metropolitan area. 

Thank you for taking these comments into consideration.

Sincerely yours,

Ciarán Cuffe

Ciarán CUFFE

MEP for Dublin

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