I’ve spent a lot of time in Islandbridge during the lockdown. It’s a great part of the city – with close access to the Phoenix Park, War Memorial Gardens, the Liffey, and town.

Its population has grown a lot in recent years – most recently with nearly a thousand new homes in Clancy Quay.

It’s still pretty clearly a space that is treated as a through road, though. Car traffic gets absolute priority, with the many pedestrians and cyclists squished over at the side.

It’s time to recognise that Islandbridge is increasingly a village, not just a road off the bypass.

With that in mind, I put forward this motion to the April meeting of the local council.

To ask that Dublin City Council will devise a traffic calming plan for Islandbridge. The area is seeing huge footfall due to the nearby parks, and the new residential build has made it more into a village in its own right. The stretch of road is treated as an arterial route, with limited opportunities to cross the road. Greater provision for pedestrians and cyclists is needed.

The motion aims to start a conversation and get council officials to report back with some ideas.

In the meantime, here are some #IslandbridgeIdeas to improve this part of the city. (Many of them are stolen from smarter people – you can check out the conversation on Twitter here.)

1. Protected bike lanes

I’ve been working on this for a few months and it seems likely that we’ll get trial bollard protection (and traffic lane changes) in late April 2021. If they go well, we can get in some prettier permanent lane protection. That’ll calm the traffic and make it safer for people to cycle through the area, to the gardens, or to either of the schools.

2. Extra pedestrian crossings.

There’s funding for a new pedestrian crossing on at the SCR /Conyngham Rd junction (east-west). Great!

But there should be new crossings, preferably with ramp/raised platform crossings near the school and War Memorial Garden entrances too. Again, it’ll help calm the traffic. The current one is placed in a location which suits few.

3. Resurrect dead space

There are some fenced-off pieces of hard surface, on the side of the council flat buildings. You can see what I mean in the pics below.

I’m not sure this space is doing anything for anyone. Remove the railings and you could do a nice combination of footpath widening and have some space for planting. Could soften the area nicely.

I suspect all the land is already owned by the council, so it shouldn’t be too difficult!

4. Replace parking with loading bays

Residents’ parking is generally well or over provisioned already. There is surface parking in the council flat complexes, and many spaces are unused under Clancy Quay. There are also two car parks in War Memorial Gardens.

Despite this, you’d regularly see illegal footpath loading, particularly on the Clancy Quay side.

If not possible to put loading bays on that side, perhaps we could take some of the existing car spaces out, convert them to loading bays, and add in more pedestrian crossings. Here’s the space I mean:

5. Fix the Conyngham Road junction

The junction of the South Circular Road and Conyngham Road is a mess. It’s clearly aimed exclusively at getting car traffic through at speed. But it’s unsafe and threatening as a cyclist and lots of hassle as a pedestrian.

The big problem there is the broad sweeping corners. These narrow the footpaths, force pedestrians to cross more road, and encourage drivers to take the turn at speed. It needs to change!

Below I’ve done a rough sketch of what I mean. The red lines would be the new path area. They may or may not include cycling slip lanes, but they should slow down traffic at the junction and make the space much more pedestrian-friendly.

6. Stop illegal parking in the War Memorial

War Memorial Gardens are a real gem. There are two car parks and parking on one of the roads. Despite this, destructive illegal parking on the grassy verge is tolerated.

This not only wrecks the verge itself, but forces pedestrians onto the main road.

Replace these cars in the above picture with some nice, historically sensitive black metal bollards. On top of that, pave the path to make the footpath more accessible.

7. Improve the river path to Chapelizod

While we’re improving things in the gardens, we should widen and tidy the beautiful walking and cycling path from the War Memorial Gardens to Chapelizod.

Photo courtesy of @ClaireWhyTed on Twitter

At the Chapelizod end, we should ditch the kissing gates, which block universal access.

It’s such a great route for walks and cycles – just needs a bit of TLC and space.

8. Drop the speed limit

To calm traffic, we should drop the speed limit from 50kph to 30kph.

We know that a lot of people break speed limits anyway, but it would allow us to traffic calm a bit further with raised crossings, narrower carriages, and eventually enforcement.

This has already been proposed by the council, but will require a majority of councillors to vote for it. (Lobby your councillors for 30kph!)

These are just some intitial ideas on improving Islandbridge. Have some further thoughts? Drop me an email at michael@pidgeon.ie or join the Twitter conversation here.