November 3, 2023

Royal Canal Greenway Phase 4

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

Executive Manager,

Planning and Property Development Department

Dublin City Council,

Civic Offices,

Wood Quay, Dublin 8,

D08 RF3F

Royal Canal Greenway Phase 4 - Part 8

Dear Madam/Sir,

Thank you for this opportunity to express my support for this phase of the Royal Canal Greenway upgrade. This project taps into the Royal Canal’s enormous potential for introducing nature into the daily lives of tourists and commuters.

In particular, I welcome the emphasis on widening and resurfacing the greenway. As cycling becomes more popular in the coming years and decades, vulnerable pedestrians and inexperienced cyclists must not be crowded out by more confident travelers. This upgrade will deliver the sense of safety and capaciousness needed to make the Royal Canal greenway a truly public good, accessible to all. However the plans appear over-engineered in parts, and a less invasive approach may be required to fully take on board the concerns of residents and others.

Every effort must be made to ensure this development is as sensitive as possible to the needs of local communities and ecosystems. I hope the following suggestions contribute to the success of this project on those terms.

  • Where possible the works should minimise the use of concrete and impermeable surfaces. It should be possible to go further to significantly reduce the need for carbon-intensive materials and surface water disturbance. As an example a Danish urban park at Grønjordssøen (Ørestad Nord, Vejlands Kvarter) close to the Bella Conference Centre in Copenhagen has several gravelled paths that are shared between walkers and pedestrians, and these are worthy of examination to try and minimise disturbance in this sensitive habitat.
  • I note that the  Joint Bay Typical Cross Section shown on Sheet 02 Of 02 of Drawing Number RCP4 RODA HML 4B_AE DR CH 400101 appears to show a significant concrete duct c. 2m by 2m. This duct (according to the drawings) will consume at least 1.24 m3 of concrete per linear metre. Might a less carbon-intensive alternative be possible? If the dimensions and suggest materials shown are required can a concrete with a lower carbon content be chosen. Might several smaller circular ducts made out of a recycled PVC or another material be possible or feasible? I do however welcome ducting as these works should facilitate expeditious and unobtrusive cabling works in future.
  • Otters are found in this section of the canal, and it is imperative that anyworks do not unduly disturb them or other vulnerable species. The comprehensive effort to examine potential ecological risk as a result of this project is appreciated, but this must continue in parallel with the works themselves. Surveys of biodiversity impacts should take place while works are ongoing to ensure that unforeseen impacts are minimised. Any hedgerows which are removed during construction should be replaced with diverse, native species to ensure no overall loss of biodiversity.
  • Likewise, local communities and community groups such as Cabra 4 Youth should continue to be consulted while works are ongoing to ensure that any concerns arising at this stage can be optimally addressed. In particular, communities who use the canal for recreational purposes such as kayaking (and perhaps swimming in designated areas) should be accommodated as far as possible. The commitment to undertaking certain works outside of navigational periods represents a positive start in this regard.
  • Towpath design should allow for future improvements to pedestrian and cycling permeability with local areas along the canal for humans and fauna alike. Particular attention should be paid in this regard to prospective developments around what is now the Dublin Industrial Estate/Ballyboggan
  • Tactile paving features or unobtrusive signage could signal for cyclists to take care of pedestrians along those portions of the canal where space is shared. 

Thank you for taking these comments into consideration.

Sincerely yours,

Ciarán Cuffe

MEP for Dublin

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