A month ago or so I had the opportunity to visit Dublin an old city that in recent years has reinvented itself as a modern, cosmopolitan metropolis. While I didn’t have the opportunity explore the country by rail (somewhat thankfully considering that a bridge collapsed the week after my visit) I was able to experience Dublin’s new transport system. Some highlights are presented below.
Ireland, like the United States, once boasted a relatively complete rail network. Today, Ireland national rail network is about 1/3 the size it was in its peak in the 1920’s. Like many US cities, Dublin once boasted an extensive tram network, with over 30 routes along 60+ miles of track. The fully electrified system, one of the largest in the world, was dismantled and fully replaced by bus service by 1949. The map below depicts Dublin’s tram system at its peak in 1922.
Today, Dublin features five suburban rail lines, the most famous of which has been branded the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit), and operates with near Metro-like frequency (15-20 minutes off peak.) The first light-rail/Tram line of the system dubbed LUAS, opened in June 2004, providing local service from St. Stephen’s Green to Sandyford (10km). In September of 2004 the second LUAS line, the red line, commenced operation linking Connolly Station to central Tallaght, a 15km route. The two lines operate independent of each other and feature minimal intermodal connectivity with the suburban rail. As such, the tram system still garners 90,000 daily riders while DART attracts approximately 80,000 more.
It’s important to note that Dublin’s Transport system is privately operated and fully profitable. The city’s former growth, dense and mixed use, is well suited for public transportation. Meanwhile, the city is working to curb sprawl and the destructive growth that has taken place since the dismantling of the tram network. Highlighted below are some of the new municipal planning initiatives that have been undertaken to revive Dublin. You’ll notice that much of the work is oriented towards reclaiming street space by curtailing the vehicular environment.
Above, notice the traffic calming measures implemented along this street. The use of chicanes lowers vehicular speeds in pedestrian areas. A truncated street serves dual purposes, opening up street space for pedestrians and as a loading zone in the early morning hours. The painted pavement (under the delivery truck) serves as a reminder to motorists of the pedestrian zone.
Above, a perfect example of how traffic flow should be restricted by truncating streets to divert traffic from a popular pedestrian thoroughfare. The end benefits are twofold: Traffic is slowed in pedestrian spaces and public space are established in neighborhoods without vacant land on which to work with.
A typical avenue in Dublin allots tight space to a number of modes. Dublin’s extensive bus network operates largely along a dedicated bus lane system throughout the city center. While the sidewalk space is narrower than what would be ideal, bollards are utilized to protect pedestrians from motorized activity.
Slated to open this month, I was able to get a “sneak peak” at many of the new bicycle sharing facilities popping up all over the city. The city already has a decent bicycle lane network a requisite compliment for any sharing system.
National: Streetfilms covers the technologically advanced Seattle streetcar, and the investment it has attracted along its route (*ahem, Miami).
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood makes it official, DC’s Metro is expanding to Dulles Airport.
Oregonian columnist and Pedaling Revolution author, Jeff Mapes, tell us of a plan to tax bicycle ownership in Oregon. What?!
Local: Just over one year in, the recession economy slows the Miami Mega-Plan.
Riptide 2.0 stumps for building the Marlins Stadium at the Miami Arena site…a win-win-win for straphangers, the city, and the county.
Also, what happens when you don’t miss the bus, but the bus misses you? Well, we’re not sure either…
Finally, click here to learn how Jeb Bush helped derail, literally, high speed rail from Miami to Tampa Bay. Thanks Jeb.
Streetcars, Trams, Light Rails. Call them what you may, but these devices resolve the simple task of effectively moving people around densely populated urban centers. In the spirit of keeping the Miami streetcar alive (which I assure you will not resemble the picture below) this week with a swift defeat of Norm’s frivolous lawsuit against the Miami mega plan, we bring you today’s Pic o’ the Day. Can anyone name this city?
I was scanning through images on Flickr, when I came across the Tram which transports visitors to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. I couldn’t help imagine what Miami’s Museum Park would look like if our planners would integrate the existing (currently closed) metromover station with the upcoming structures. Unlike the Getty’s mover, ours would connect the museums directly to the public transportation system rather than a parking lot at the bottom of the mountain. Do our Museum planners have this type of foresight? Or will metromover users disembark in an unsightly and inhospitable delivery bay?
Via artbabee’s Flickr…
To Learn More about the Getty’s Tram, Click Here…
The Freiburg Straßenbahn line 4 running in an early October snowfall in southern Germany.
Freiburg, a town of just over 200,000 boasts 4 tram lines and over 21 bus routes, far more than most cities it size…Check out the map of the routes…
We rented a car to experience both the joys and hazards of driving on the wrong side of the road and headed north to witness the natural beauty of Glen Coe. While driving along a precarious single lane road (with a few haphazard passing bays) which serviced only two small (~500 people) towns, we pulled off the road to allow the daily public transit bus to pass. Remarkable! This wasn’t the only instance where we encountered this, in fact every town we passed through had a bus stop with schedules attached listing the daily regional bus service which passed through the area, even in towns where sheep seemingly outnumbered people 50 to 1.
It was August in
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