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Sustainable transport Ireland

category dublin | environment | press release author Wednesday April 13, 2005 17:33author by Sustainable Transport Irelandauthor email stirl05 at yahoo dot com

'Comprehensive Alternative Plan for M3 Toll Scheme Presented at Sustainable Transport Conference'

An integrated solution to Dublin's congestion problems and a sustainable alternative to the controversial M3 toll road
One of 44 monuments in the Hill of Tara archaeological complex to be bulldozed
One of 44 monuments in the Hill of Tara archaeological complex to be bulldozed

An integrated solution to Dublin's congestion problems and a sustainable alternative to the controversial M3 toll road, which could used as a model for other parts of the country, were presented yesterday at a conference by Sustainable Transport Ireland (STI) working group at Buswell's Hotel, Dublin. The comprehensive three-part proposal was presented by:

- Transportation Specialist Cormac Rabbitt, who presented his Dargan Plan proposal for Dublin transport
- Transportion Researcher, Brian Guckian, who presented his NTC3 proposal for Meath
- Environmental Lawyer, Vincent Salafia, who detailed the unsustainability of the M3 project.

The propoals envisaged:

(1) Adopting the 'Dargan Project', a revolutionary integrated rail and bus system for Dublin city, developed by Cormac Rabbitt.
(2) Upgrading the existing N3 in Meath to a ' 2+1 scheme', with bypasses of Dunshaughlin, Navan and Kells, which would be a more cost-effective, efficient and free alternative to a tolled motorway.

(3) Re-opening the Dublin to Navan and Kells railway line, supported by expanded coach services and a network of feeder minbus routes in Meath.

Among those present at the conference were; Progressive Democrats Senator Tom Morrissey; Green Party Transport Spokesperson, Eamon Ryan TD; Labour Party Tranport Spokeperson Roisin Shorthall' TDs assistant, Paul Cassidy; Ian Lumley of An Taisce; as well as representatives from The Railway Procurement Agency, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, and SIPTU.


At the conference, a practical vision for integrating Dublin's rail and bus network, using exisiting infrastructure, was presented by Cormac Rabbitt. The Dargan Project - named after William Dargan, the 19th century railway entrepreneur who built almost the entire Irish rail system, - would incorporate a south inner city tunnel and under-used rail lines in the north inner city to form the core of a new cost-effective metro system, which would also feature a link to Dublin Airport and new lines to Templeogue and Blanchardstown.

A new inner metro loop - which would connect the existing radial rail and bus routes into Dublin, and also allow for through running of mainline trains from Connolly Station to Heuston Station - together with the airport line would cost 1.5 billion initially, and the overall project would cost 3.5 billion to implement. Tunneling costs were based on reliable data used in the Dublin Port Tunnel project.

The proposal also features integrating existing radial and orbital bus routes on existing roads, providing an integrated transport 'web', united by a common ticketing system.

Mr Rabbitts expertise has been recognised by the Oireachtas Committee on Transport when they endorsed their recent reports that, "In our view, it would be useful if Rabbitt's extensive knowledge could be harnessed for the development of the Dublin Metro System".


The conference heard in a paper, presented by Brian Guckian, that the Dublin to Navan and Kells rail line could be re-opened in a viable manner by including a deviation to Ashbourne and Ratoath proposed by Meath County Council. Interconnected with a quality coach and mini-bus system, using smartcard technology, the scheme could reduce traffic on the existing N3 by up to two thirds annually and would cost less than two thirds of proposed motorway with later public transport improvements . The paper outlined how the reduced traffic load would eliminate the need for the motorway altogether and would facilitate upgrading of the N3 to "2 plus 1" format, which is a new pilot programme of the National Roads Authority based on the the latest European road technology from Sweden.
From 2004 NRA cost estimates, the 2 plus 1 road type costs 03.6 million/km. In contrast, a wide motorway costs 10.7 million per kilometre. The massive savings could be spent on rail and other improvements, and obviate the opportunity for tolling. The paper also indicated how rail capacity in Dublin could be increased by re-opening the former Broadstone terminal in addition to the currently-proposed new terminal at Spencer Dock.
Mr. Guckian said: "This balanced approach to road and rail development could be applied nationally in the form of Transportation Corridors identified under the National Spatial Strategy, and would significantly reduce the negative effects of car dependency such as pollution, congestion, oil consumption and inappropriate development."


Vincent Salafia, gave a presentation entitled, 'The M3 - A Case Study in Unsustainabe Transport'. He discussed how the M3 toll scheme does not meet Irish and EU legal and policy requirements of sustainable development, and willl be challenged in the courts.
According to Mr Salafia, the M3 toll scheme fails all three pillars of sustainable development:

(1) It is unecessarily bad for environment, damaging the natural and built heritage of Meath, particularly the Hill of Tara.

(2) It is bad for society and transport users, with two tolls and no viable public transport alternatives available.

(3) It bad for business because it will only add to Dublin traffic gridlock, and tolls will discourage business in Meath.

At the conference, Mr Salafia said: "Ireland is required under EU law to deliver sustainable transport and development. Mr Rabbitt's and Mr Guckians's propsals present exciting new opportunities. They will not fall foul of the courts, since it complies with Irish and EU law."
STI will present the proo-poalso Minister for Transport Martin Cullen, and Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Dick Roche.
The aim of Sustainable Transport Ireland is to highlight the emerging crisis in transportation policy in Ireland, by detailing the major challenges and growing problems facing our policy-makers and ordinary people in regard to transportion.

Contact: Sharon O'Farrell: 087-419-6195 / 087-132-3365 or email for conference papers

* For NRA information on '2 plus 1' schemes see:

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