An interim report based on a study by TU Dublin has found that the COVID-19 mobility and public realm works have generated high levels of support from business, elected members and the community for the temporary redesign and reallocation of road space along Blackrock Main Street.
TU Dublin was engaged by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to independently examine the impact and reaction to the changes they initiated during the pandemic. The research team, led by Dr Sarah Rock of the School of Transport Engineering, Environment and Planning, have released interim findings today focusing on the 2020 works completed along Blackrock Main Street and the Coastal Mobility Route from Seapoint to Sandycove, Co. Dublin.
The findings demonstrate that:
- There are high levels of support from businesses and the community for the temporary redesign and reallocation of road space along Blackrock Main Street and a strong desire to retain the public space gains in the future.
- Considerable improvements in the provision and quality of cycling infrastructure within the study area have been realised, leading to a significant increase in the number and range of people cycling.
DLR’s approach to stakeholder engagement is noted as being atypical within an Irish context through its focus on speed, direct on-the-ground engagement and collaboration, and also one where lessons for the future have been learned. The research welcomes an evident willingness to experiment and innovate.
During the study timeframe, traffic patterns have changed dramatically, shifting away from traditional morning peak commuting towards higher levels of more locally based journeys during the day and evenings. This finding is reflective of regional as well as international trends associated with COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The study suggests that traffic patterns will continue to evolve as Covid-19 restrictions lift and change, and new arrangements of working life and school travel emerge. Accordingly, further research is recommended over the coming months to monitor these mobility changes, particularly in the vicinity of the Coastal Mobility Route.
TU Dublin also advises that safe and connected walking and cycling facilities will remain particularly important as we move out of COVID-19 to facilitate the modal shift from vehicles to sustainable modes, such as public transport and active travel. The study recommends greater development of the network of protected routes to further increase participation among women, teenagers, children, older people and those with additional needs; and the maintenance and development of a strong public transport network in the area.
Based on the success of the temporary works, the researchers at TU Dublin recommend that a permanent regeneration plan be developed for Blackrock Village in consultation with residents, businesses and other stakeholders.
Read the interim report - TU Dublin & DLR COVID-19 Mobility Review.