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Does This Estate Look Like A Race Course To You?

category dublin | housing | news report author Wednesday June 21, 2006 21:03author by James Rauthor email antrophe at yahoo dot com Report this post to the editors

Maryland Residents Enforce Their Own Traffic Management System Around Their Estate

Residents in the vicinity of the construction being undertaken on the site of the recently demolished Fatima Mansions today protested at the entrance of their estate over the inadequacy of a long time promised traffic management system which had been promised to them prior to construction work beginning. Two simultaneous blockades were mounted at either end of Lorreta Road, residents joined and left with a fluctuating prescence of anywhere between ten and fifteen maintaining the line on either side of the estate. Marylands is an estate located close to the canal, just off Marrowbone Lane beside Cork Street. Traffic on any given day on Marrowbone Lane is hectic, with cars using it as a route to cut through the Liberties to reach Cork St, leaving a very narrow artery dangerously clogged with passage for cyclists generally untenable at peak hours without using the paths.
Maryland's Residents Hold Blockdade At Marrowbone Lane Entrance
Maryland's Residents Hold Blockdade At Marrowbone Lane Entrance

The road also carries a heavy load of council trucks coming to and from any of the depots and construction sites located along it. With road closures resulting from construction work under way at Fatima, these traffic problems were amplified with negative knock on effects for residents in Marylands. At a residents meeting last night, the decision was made to blockade the road from today, allowing local traffic through while diverting traffic seeking an non-existent short cut back on to Marrowbone Lane.

With a large number of childern, demands for a childern at play sign were highlighted in the past year when local Sinn Fein types constructed their own sign from old election posters and mounted it on a pole before being replaced by an official council one. Being a mixed estate it also is home to more elderly residents, one of whom is wheelchair bound and facing hassle due to increased traffic in the area. With many of the paths unsuitable for wheelchair usuage, she is forced to use the road to visit friends and local amenities, with congestion this is an impossible prospect. Today residents seemed determined to make this blocade a daily occurence until an adequate response was put in place to address their concerns.

Siobhan Salinger of the Marylands Community Residents Association explained how:

“People are out today is because of the Fatima re-development, they've closed off James' Walk so Maryland is being used as a racetrack basically as the traffic doesn't realise its only residents as there's no access out onto Cork St, so with the result they are going into Maryland and because its a circular estate they are just flying around like there's an entrance out, then realising there's not and backing up Loretto Road and the two arteries off here with the result the residents can't get out, if there was an accident or a fire an ambulance can't get into it and the children could just walk out in a car that comes flying from no where. There just two weeks ago another residents father died and the funeral car came to pick them up and was sitting at this junction for 15 minutes on the night of the removal of the father because cars wouldn't let them out.

“That'll show you that if there was an ambulance or something you are not getting the respect from passing traffic and people do live here. So we approached Fatima Redevelopment and they basically don't' want to know, and don't want to work with the local community. The same thing has happened on Rubins Street which is another artery off Fatima, they said they were closing the road for six weeks and six months later its still closed. So unless they are willing to work with us and ensure that the people of the area are going to be looked after. You know the work thats being done no one has a problem with it no ones objecting to it, we think its a brilliant idea and it will benefit the area but while this work is being done we need to have some kind of quality of transport, they just have to acknowledge that live still goes on and the likes of this closing off a road between James St and Rialto is a major road closure and its to facilitate the builders and the work men going in there. Then a couple of weeks ago we had a double decker bus driving around Maryland full of children, as you can see its not built for double deckers. Because of the traffic building up here the main entrance for the bottom which is the Weaving Mills on Cork St, they are coming through there.

“There is access through Maryland, but its not the main access and they were never meant to use it so with the result we are now getting trucks trying to prevent themselves sitting in the traffic also coming through there. So in the past couple of weeks, there's been a fair amount of traffic coming and going and flying around so we just had a residents meeting last night so we decided enough is enough, until somebody does something about it we are going to take action. Its peaceful enough we are asking people do they live here, if they live here there's no problem they can get access into James' Walk because Mallin Avenue is affected as well. We are not being unreasonable by any stretch of the imagination but we are not letting cars that think they have free access through to come in and use it and its basically for the children. If they're crossing the road they are frightened, stepping out in front of cars. Now because its blocked off its quite, but if you can imagine without the blockade, I mean its already backed up into Pimlico now because of this. Its not going to benefit them coming through here. When they come through its a full circle at the top of this road so they go around there, they can't get out till the canal where the LUAS is because that's blocked off so they are coming back up Loretto Road, but then the traffic is branching right the way back around so we're blocked in, no emergency service can get into us.

“So that's what were doing today, so hopefully the builder and Dublin City Council are going to take notice of us. The committee have being in negotiations, but I mean its not just the committee and the people on it, its the residents of Maryland that have decided as you can see people are only realising we are doing something so we have this entrance blocked and the one at the top. The decision was made to direct traffic onto Forbes Lane and to Marrowbone Lane and even this, this road isn't built for it, so they do U-turns and end up back where they were anywhere. So we're the ones having to live with it anyway. We don't want to cause aggravation but there wasn't anything put in place they knew this was going to happen for a long time, but they put nothing in place. From a residents point of view it looks like bad planning."

Jerry Colins, one of the supervisors of the redevelopment project at Fatima was out in person diverting traffic as a result of the residents' actions, when asked why residents were blockading traffic coming into their estate he admitted himself that

"Traffic has become more congested because James' Walk is closed off so people in Maryland residential area started diverting traffic going through there. What we're doing here is a short term measure, a barrier advising motorists to go further down thereby avoiding Maryland by using Forbes Lane reducing traffic going to Maryland helping the situation. We have to look at it again tomorrow as there's also problems down on Marrowbone Lane again. At the moment I'm dealing with the developer here, and basically if I let go off this sign it'll blow over so I'll try get something more sturdy.”

Colin Waldren, chair of the Maryland Community Residents Association who was involved in the protest at the end of the Marylands closer to the canal expanded on the concerns being expressed by the blockades.

“There's a 150 euro million development going on up there that Fatima Regeneration Board is involved in and there's been very little consultation with the residents of Maryland since St James walk has been closed and there's excess coming into an area that was built over eighty years ago that's more or less only wide enough for horse and carts. So we have our own problems with our own traffic never mind the traffic that's coming up here and its clearly very poorly signposted like its taken the residents coming out and standing on the road to stop them coming through to make this happen and all of a sudden we have no traffic coming through, as the sign down there is a result of us doing this. The developer as fair as I'm concerned couldn't care less about what goes on on the outside of that site up there. He's more interested in getting the work done, as you can hear he's working away up there and they couldn't care less what's going on outside.

“I don't know how to describe this to you, there's been no communication between the developers and ourselves until this week. Yesterday I had a meeting with him and he said he was going to bring around diversion signs and whatever else, but basically what he did this morning was put up signs sending cars into Maryland instead of stopping them back on Forbes as is being done now. Now the developer has promised to have a man standing there at half three tomorrow sending traffic to Forbes Lane and out on to Marrowbone lane. So hopefully he'll stick to his plan and have somebody there from half three until six o'clock tomorrow or otherwise we'll be back out here tomorrow. We had a tour bus up here trying to get through Maryland, which he had to do a three point turn in an area that you can just about do one with a van. That goes to show the sort of signs they put up, absolutely ridiculous.”

Damien Farrell, a member of the Construction and Demolition Working Group and a resident elaborated on problems with dialogue between the community and the developer:

"The road closure is a result of an application put in by Elliot which is the private part of the Public Private Partnership in the Fatima Regeneration Board. Now its for work that needs to be done, and on that basis we went along with it, but as with the Maryland residents we did flag requirements that needed to be put in place in the area of traffic management. The road closed on the 8th, basically two weeks ago tomorrow and there was no traffic management system put in place. One of the developers representatives, Fergal Duffy maintained he had meetings with the local guard responsible for the traffic department but it didn't seem to have materialised and the only guards to have materialised were two guards that responded to an emergency on the site. Basically the road was closed in the afternoon and we knew what was going to happen. The implications were widespread, there's a lot of kids here in the avenue behind us which is a closed in avenue, its not a through road so the kids play in there from a very young age and there not used to traffic. Any traffic that would be in there would be use to them and know they are there. The consequence of closing the road with no management system put in place is lorries, securicor vans, a queue of traffic literally from the gates as far as you can see waiting to see what the hold up was and then turning around in the middle of the street, narrowly missing cyclists both children and adults. Motorcyclists were mounting the footpath and using it while women were walking down it with buggies and children, it was a complete disaster.

"Now in fairness to the CEO of the Fatima Regeneration Board, John White, when I contacted him by phone he came around immediately to put an interim arrangement in place but unfortunately affected traffic going into Maryland, leading to one occasion where there was two double decker buses caught in Maryland and its a very small road. Since then we've had several meetings of the Demolition and Construction Working Group which is empowered to make decisions by the Fatima Regeneration Project, but we still have no adequate traffic management system in operation. In the area of signage, we asked for signage well in advance of the roads that lead to the roads that are closed hoping it would affect cars coming up altogether and causing congestion in the vicinity and the residential area in particular. The signs went up yesterday, and most of them have blown down already."

While sharing the same concerns over traffic congestion as a result of construction on the site and a lack of promised traffic management, Damien went on to expand on a set of other issues which arise from the regeneration of Fatima and may negatively affect the community despite its own definite support for the project.

"There are other issues of common interest also, issues of dust, noise, working hours, planning conditions that have been breached and bent in relation to pedestrian and cycle routes through the site. The problem we have is marrying it to the acceptance that the project is a good thing, its a good thing for the people that live in there, for the people that live around it and a good thing for the area in general. So its difficult to object to things that impact on you negatively and still come across from a positive aspect. The most important problem we're facing is that these houses are nearly a hundred years old, and there's going to be excavations and pile driving to twenty five and thirty feet in there it might hit the rock that these houses are founded on. There's already been possible damage caused to the interns of some of the houses by the demolition process. We were guaranteed a dilapidation survey on all the houses and it hasn't been done yet. There's also one road that we feel is every bit as close to the project and the developer is refusing point blank to survey that area, the survey costs anywhere in the region of €250-€350 per house, we feel its a small house for the developer to pay but a big price for a household to pay especially on the basis that it's a project outside of their control and its not as if they asked for it to happen. On the basis of the cost, the good will and piece of mind we'd all gain is worth it.

"Another main concern is that at the most recent meeting, the Fatima Group United representative, that the group and the residents are seeking a formal application that the working hours be extended beyond seven o'clock. We feel that if they do that our residents, and most likely the residents of Maryland will be objecting to it as opposed to integrating and uniting the communities it will create problems among them. Fatima Groups United represent all the residents of Fatima, and if they formulate a proposal to extend the working hours beyond six o'clock we wouldn't want it. As it is it impacts on us enough, and that gate will be a site entrance with construction traffic coming out. Coming into the summer months with the children we're going to have to find activities for them during the day to put them out of harms way. We asked for a health and safety audit to be done on this area, and it hasn't been done yet. We know this project is good for everyone but we can't risk dividing the community over it. However we move forward we can't create divisions.”

Some links of note: Earthquakes in D8 Problems with dialogue between residents and Fatima Developers | Housing activists meet to discuss redevelopment & privatisation of their homes | A local community rejects Public Private Partnerships | Elliot Constructions Portfolio on Fatima | FFF vs PPP: Fight For the Flats or Public Private Partnerships? | All Eyes On Upcoming PPP Conference | Noise Hacker's New Place, Same Faces community art | People Before Profit Public Meeting expresses concerns on land value from Fatima | Living with state dereliction in St Michael's: local community rejects privatisation of their homes

Checking That Drivers Are Residents
Checking That Drivers Are Residents

Diversion Onto Forbes Lane
Diversion Onto Forbes Lane

Daily Traffic Congestion On Marrowbone Lane
Daily Traffic Congestion On Marrowbone Lane

Entrance To Fatima Site
Entrance To Fatima Site

Finally, The Council Erected A Kids Sign
Finally, The Council Erected A Kids Sign

James' Walk Closed
James' Walk Closed

After delvering a concrete block to stop diversion sign falling over
After delvering a concrete block to stop diversion sign falling over

Inadequate Signage put up yesterday
Inadequate Signage put up yesterday

author by d'otherpublication date Wed Oct 04, 2006 02:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Met Eireann promised heavy winds last week in parts of the country and for some odd reason RTE found itself in a strangely emphatic mood with its choice to stick on blockbusting action movie by numbers Twister to chime in with the September storm that took place on Friday, September 22nd.

According to the AA, St James Walk is closed until 20th October to facilitate ongoing works relating to the Fatima Regeneration Project. However waking on the Saturday morning after heavy winds, residents living in and around Fatima faced yet another serious irritation in a series of problems with construction company P Elliot. This time the severe winds managed to completely poleaxe a substantial lenght of hoarding along the Luas lines on St James' Walk completely blocking pedestrian access and forcing walkers and cyclists out onto the Luas line.

It might be easy to make excuses and atttribute this to high winds, but there must be some standards when it comes to construction hoarding that prevent this sort of thing happening?

Collapsed Hoarding Blocks Path To Luas Stop
Collapsed Hoarding Blocks Path To Luas Stop

Pedestrians Forced onto Luas Lines
Pedestrians Forced onto Luas Lines

Imagine Being Under This?
Imagine Being Under This?

Some Kind Advice On Walking On Tramlines
Some Kind Advice On Walking On Tramlines

Oh Yes - P Elliot Have Pedestrian Interests In Mind.
Oh Yes - P Elliot Have Pedestrian Interests In Mind.

author by Tobie*publication date Thu Jun 22, 2006 17:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A few of the residents were out at half three to see if Jerry Byrne* would follow through on his promise. They directed traffic for about about half an hour then moved on to the bottom of Lorretto Rd adjoining Marrowbone Lane when Jerry Byrne put a worker out to direct traffic at the other end. The picket continues as the residents monitor to see if the systems works.

*Jerry Byrne is mentioned as Jerry Collins in the article . . . James R got it wrong initially.

author by anarchaeologist - GrassrootsDissentpublication date Thu Jun 22, 2006 01:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No offence taken at all. Your points are good and well made.

My advocacy for direct local action against the developer/construction company was based on an immediate reading of the piece, my familiarity with the area (I cycle through there twice a day and have had two near misses with cars doing quick u-turns to get out of the madness) and moreover a knowledge of the way ppps are being used to justify the regeneration of areas such as the Liberties and Inchicore. It makes me quite cross sometimes.

Direct action will hit Elliott's where it hurts and maybe make them reconsider their deep rooted arrogance directed at those unfortunate enough to live in what Environmental Impact Assessments call the 'receiving environment'.

If the reopening of James' Walk makes Marylands a safer place for the kids who play on the streets, other pedestrians and cyclists in the general area and yes, for several of my friends and comrades who live there, it should be reopened. As I understand it, the decision rests with Elliott's. Why shouldn't they suffer some inconvenience while they're considering the issue. Because surely they'll have to now?

You're dead right though. The issue is one of democracy. For local people to decide what's best for their neighbourhood. For local people to have the right to deny capital and business ripping them off and comprimising their safety.

So if anyone's reading this in the area and has a working printer, perhaps they could print off a few copies of this thread tonight and post them up on the hoarding on James' Walk. That's what hoardings are there for!

The SP idea sounds good and details should certainly be posted here.

author by D'otherpublication date Thu Jun 22, 2006 00:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't want to offend, but I'm not sure how useful the idea of just shutting down Elliot construction is in the context of both the regeneration of the area as some of the locals in the report above have outlined they are in broad agreement with the over all project of regeneration in their area and at this stage shutting down Eilliots will simply impede this work. Equally, shutting them down does little to tackle the broader ideological issue at stake here and that wider problem in all this is the use of Public Private Partnerships on projects like this. In my opinion both once as a mechenism to draw community groups into large scale projects of re-development, in effect giving them a gloss of approval that covers over the continuous burden of problems like those raised above on the day to day level. And secondly on the level of a huge transference of responsibility away from what elements of the welfare state we have here to the private sector. Effectively this can be read as a shoring up on behalf of capital - where economic structures and projects from hospitals to housing and roads are moved out of immediate democratic control under the parlimentary facade. This is a shift in control from the technocrats in the pocket of the nominally democratic state to the corportatist non-democratic structures of private capital. The issue in all of this is democracy, and where private capital is concerned and intersects with community groups and projects it is clear whose interest will prevail. Interestingly, someone in the SP recently told me that they were involved in a project of seeking local referanda in housing estates to remove control of maintenannce from property management companies and return it to the councils. Some details of this would be welcome on Indymedia, as such endeavours are undoubtedly sketching where tensions will emerge in the near future. Anyway - what am I on about? Now to the pub.....

author by anarchaeologist - GrassrootsDissentpublication date Wed Jun 21, 2006 23:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

P. Elliott are treating people unfortunate enough to live close to their developments with the utmost of contempt.

The closure of James' Walk was going to have obvious traffic implications for the residents of Maryland, but it doesn't seem to have been considered by the wily Cavanmen. They need the extra space to increase the size of their compound, so they just took a good portion of the public road with the connivance of the City Council and by the sounds of things, with no local consultation.

The extension of working hours and the failure to carry out structural surveys are other indicators of Elliotts' being a negative presence in the community. Have the residents considered blockading the compound entrances on Reuben Street and James' Walk?

Pulling a wider focus, the redevelopment of the area north of Cork Street, apart from closing off the streets mentioned above, has effectively extinguished an ancient right of way leading from Dolphin's Barn up to James' Walk. The 'Back of the Pipes' (as it was known) was a pedestrian walk along the top of the old city watercourse, which originally brought the city's water supply in from the Dodder to the City Basin at Basin Lane.

The site has been redeveloped over the past 12 months, seemingly without the right of way being legally closed. I believe this is wide open for a legal challenge, but, hey you know, maybe we should be concentrating here on what's really achievable.

The only way to really solve the Maryland traffic problem is to ban all traffic which isn't local or visiting. Obviously, that isn't going to work. However, by re-opening James' Walk, it will at least bring the situation to what it was 2 weeks ago. And the only way to do that is to put pressure on Elliott’s.

Elliott’s aren't in Fatima for the good of their health. They're making millions out of the redevelopment. You know where they are. They're in your neighbourhood. Close them down.

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