March 28 2014

Extending and Connecting Dublin’s Luas Tram Service

According to the 2011 census, 55% of commuters in Dublin travel by car or motorbike. The significant remainder of commuters use a variety of modes offered by public transportation.

In 2004, the Luas, a light rail tram running through the city, was added to the already complicated Dublin public transport network. The network was previously made up mostly of a large fleet of buses and the heavy rail DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) line running for about thirty three miles between North Dublin and North Wicklow.

Luas Lightrail Dublin, Ireland

The Luas consists of two lines, the red line operating on the north side of the city and the green line on the south side. It was originally planned that there would be a connection between the lines on O’Connell Street and St. Stephen’s Green, however, this connection was missing from the service when it was originally launched. This meant a fifteen-minute walk across the city for anyone needing to use both lines.

Now, however, after ten years and a €150 million ($207.6 million) investment in the project from the European Investment Bank, the process of linking the two lines has finally begunThe decision to link the two lines is not without its difficulties. The connection will run through the historic College Green area of the city and up the busy, and often chaotic, Dawson Street. Work commenced on the line running along Dawson Street in early March  2014 with the one-way road being reduced to a single lane in some parts. This has of course put extra pressure on the traffic flow in the city, with blockages leading to buildup of traffic entering the city center from the south.

Dawson Street Dublin, Ireland

Dawson Street is a favorite with Dubliners, but it’s also popular with tourists visiting the Lord Mayor’s mansion and a number of businesses located along the section currently occupied by construction. Although the connection is welcomed in order to bring more people to the area in the future, it is undeniable that for now the noise and construction are causing inconvenience for businesses, especially those located on the East side of the street which is blocked with a large metal barricade.

The loss of business to those affected at this time of year, when thousands of tourists visit the city for St. Patrick’s Day, has the potential to be hugely damaging and it’s hard not to question whether enough planning was done to consider the specific concerns of those directly affected by the construction along the street. It remains to be seen if the connection of the two lines will provide enough of an incentive for Dublin commuters to leave their cars at home and travel on public transport like many of their European counterparts.

How have other cities managed to improve their transport network with minimal impact to commuters and businesses in the area?

Credits: Images by Rebecca Mullen. Data linked to sources.

Rebecca Mullen

Rebecca is a 3rd year Political Science and Geography student in Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. She has always lived in Dublin and thinks that it is a beautiful city with many hidden treasures. She hopes to pursue a Masters in urban planning after she graduates and hopefully work in the field following that. She has a particular interest in the contrast between old and new and how towns and cities established hundreds of years ago manage to develop but at the same time preserve original design and infrastructure. She loves to travel and hopes that a career in urban planning will allow her to work all over the world.

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This entry was posted on Friday, March 28th, 2014 at 9:32 am and is filed under Infrastructure, Rebecca Mullen, Transportation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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2 Responses to “Extending and Connecting Dublin’s Luas Tram Service”

  1. Richard Hall Says:

    Finding so much data, to be published shortly on the dreadful impact of an over fixation on fixed guideway systems. Article to be posted on planningforreality.org shortly.

    In summary:
    - equivalent mobility can be achieved for just 5% of the cost of rail using buses
    - rail sucks up transit dollars causing decreases in cost effective services
    - rail pushes up the cost of transit hitting those on lower incomes the most
    - rail makes trips that used to be direct or just 1 connection take 2+ connections! driving people away from transit

    This is all substantiated in an article to be published on planningforrealityreality.org via a long term case study of Los Angeles where this all plays out.

    It’s sad to read this article where people are putting up with the light rail construction as they believe it will help. Perhaps things are different in a mono centric employment center. But the evidence from LA over a 30 year study is pretty stark.

    We need to end the fixation on fixed guide rail systems.

  2. Rebecca Mullen Says:

    I think that the reason people are putting up with disruption from construction of the line along Dawson Street is the immediate access to the already operational red and green lines. The connection will take a relatively short amount of time and will bring easy access to a huge amount of the city. Perhaps if there was less certainty about the success of the line business owners would be less inclined to put up with the disruption.

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