Councillors get the run-around over roundabout

By Mary Dennehy

COUNCILLORS have been “frozen out” of a major study on the Walkinstown roundabout, despite calls being made for briefings and community involvement since 2013.

Funding was approved more than two years ago for a study on the roundabout, which is one of the country’s busiest local junctions, with tens of thousands of cars passing through everyday alongside heavy industrial traffic, cyclists and pedestrians.

A study was commissioned and carried out by consultant engineers to upgrade the roundabout.
However, councillors were angered this week when it emerged in council chambers that the study was complete and the project in its final planning stage.

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Independent councillor Dermot Looney told The Echo: “Councillors have been asking for briefings on this project for the past two years and, personally, I raised questions on this study more than ten times in that period.

“As far as I understand there were 12 options at the start which have been narrowed down to one, with no consultation with local councillors, the community or traders in the area.

“This has really angered me, I’m angered over the lack of transparency and accountability by anybody in the council – every time we asked for a briefing, we were fobbed off.”

He added: “This is probably the busiest junction in the country that is not on a national route, and there is a possibility, due to an ill-thought-out plan and lack of consultation, that it’s future development could be messed up.

“A hames was made of the Spawell roundabout and there will be major implications if the Walkinstown roundabout is not done right.

“There is a culture of late in the council where only the opinion of experts is sought, but that’s all well and good until real-life problems arise.

“The way this project has been approached is a real two fingers to councillors. We, and the community, have been frozen out of this process.”

When contacted by The Echo, Eddie Taaffe, Director of Services in the council’s department of Land Use Planning and Transportation, said: “Proposals are currently being examined by the National Transport Authority and South Dublin County Council regarding improvements to pedestrian and cyclist safety at Walkinstown roundabout.

“A design report is currently being prepared and when completed will be presented to South Dublin and Dublin City councillors.

“The proposals will include cycle lanes and enhanced pedestrian crossing facilities. A public consultation process will then be initiated and views sought on the proposed safety improvements.”

The council, which will be the lead local authority on the project, added that the National Roads Authority will be in a position to fund works under the 2016 sustainable Transport Measures Programme, which will be confirmed in early 2016.

The council was unable to confirm what an upgrade to the Walkinstown roundabout will cost, if it goes ahead.

 

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