BusConnects Projects Corridor 5 - NO removal of trees

Local Area Public Observation: BusConnects Dublin Core Bus Corridor Projects Corridor 5 – Blanchardstown to City Centre – M50 (East) Section to the Halfway House (and specifically that section along The Old Navan Road which provides Direct access to St Brigids GAA Club).

We write to you in connection with the above plan and would make specific reference to the proposed layout changes to the existing Navan Road Dual Carriageway which would see a large majority of the existing trees, plants and shrubbery removed from along the length of The Old Navan Road (section from St Brigids GAA club up to Auburn Avenue). We would represent that these trees and plants provide an important amenity to the existing adjacent dwellings, the local community and the wider resident community as a whole.  We believe we would have the support of the vast majority of our neighbours and the wider community in making this representation. We would make the following points in support of our representation:

Safety With the further development of the N3 a number of years ago there has since been a significant increase in terms of volume and speed of traffic on the dual carriageway. The existing trees and shrubbery provide a barrier between the dual carriageway and the adjacent dwellings providing a visual and physical barrier between this exceptionally busy national route and the immediate dwellings in the vicinity.  The plantation line also goes some way to providing a noise barrier between the dual carriageway and the residential area.  Far from removing this barrier we would in fact lobby for additional planting along this line to strengthen and reinforce the delineation between dual carriageway and the residential amenity.   The plantation line provides a safety barrier between this busy dual carriageway and the residential area. We would note that the Old Navan Road is the main access point to St Brigids GAA Club, a focal point of the local community and that the club is accessed by thousands of children and young adults on bicycle and on foot almost each and every week of the year.  The club is also used by the local schools.  To suggest that there is any improvement in the quality of life to the local community provided by the removal of this barrier is at best questionable.  Adding lanes to the dual carriageway and removing the plantation line brings the proximity of this busy dual carriageway significantly closer to the residential area and changes what is currently a point of safe access and egress from the local GAA club to a dangerous thoroughfare.  It would seem from an inspection of the proposed plans at present that the tree and shrubbery removal is mainly required to accommodate a new footpath and cycle lane. Surely it would be possible to accommodate these amenities on the existing Old Navan Road by utilising the existing footpaths on the road and providing sufficient delineation and markings to provide for the proposed cycle lane. Indeed, with additional planting and the erection of sound barriers the cycle lane may become a welcome addition to the existing area and provide for increased pedestrian and cycle traffic to the existing sports facilities suitable for both young children and adults alike.  The provision of additional planting and sound barriers would offset the noise created by increased traffic volumes.

Environmental This particular section of the proposed Bus Connects route borders a densely populated residential area and the tree and shrubbery line provides a green break with the busy dual carraigeway beyond. The local residents have spent some time maintaining this tree and plantation line with additional planting and shrubbery being cultivated and cared for through the local residents groups own funds.  The local residents have also been active in encouraging wildlife propagation including providing bird sanctuaries and providing flowers for insect propagation which in turn has attracted squirrels and indeed there is evidence that a family of foxes has established a den within the plantation.  The local neighbourhood groups intend to continue with these activities and have in recent years begun to engage with The Greener Communities Program as promoted and supported by Fingal County Council with a view to developing the local area to an extent which would see robust and competitive engagement with the program over a consistent period of time.  In that regard considerable effort and resources have been put into this particular tree and shrubbery line as it represents a significant boundary to the local area and its removal in part or in whole would be without doubt detrimental to the local environment and the residential amenity as a whole. In addition, a green barrier helps to block, absorb and disperse pollutants that are harmful to health, especially of children, teenagers and vulnerable individuals.  

Privacy & Security The tree and shrubbery line along The Old Navan Road provides a barrier between the residential areas which face directly onto or back directly onto the Old Navan Road and the dual carriageway beyond. The trees provide a necessary privacy barrier between the residential amenity and the busy national route behind the tree line.  These trees and shrubs also provide privacy to the homeowners in the vicinity and removing the these would mean direct views from vehicles (specifically buses and trucks) into the rear gardens and rear of houses adjacent.  This would also represent a significant loss to the visual amenity enjoyed by the wider community by allowing increased visibility to a major national route and thoroughfare.  Currently the tree line forms a protection against the headlights and streetlights from this motorway, and loss of this natural barrier again would also mean increased interference from this stretch of road on daily life in the local community.  The tree line is a physical boundary between the immediate residential area and the Castleknock community at large.  

Summary In summary, loss of these trees would have a significant impact on the immediate environment and residential amenity enjoyed by the residents bordering this road and the wider area and we would voice our strong objection to the proposed plans as they stand and to the removal of any trees and shrubbery from the plantation line. We voice these objections in tandem with our suggestion that a win-win compromise is available.  This would take the form of utilising the existing Old Navan Road to provide the proposed enhanced pedestrian path and the proposed cycle lane along with the installation of enhanced sound barrier protection and additional planting.   The above represent our initial response to the proposals as set out and we look forward to positively engaging with Transport Infrastructure Ireland as the plans are progressed and more detailed proposals become available.  

We look forward to your response and acknowledgement of our concerns and we remain available for further discussion and meetings as required.

Phoenix, Pecks Lane and Castleknock Manor Residents Association    Contact the author of the petition

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