Increase the number of people walking, cycling and using public transport and reduce the need for car journeys, resulting in a more active and healthy community, a more attractive public realm, safer streets, less congestion, reduced carbon emissions, better air quality, and a positive climate impact.
Movement is essential to how we live our lives and for society to function both socially and economically – for commuting to work, travel to school, social and leisure trips, and for the supply of goods and services. The private vehicle will always have an important role to play in how people move around South Dublin. However, in recent decades traditional layouts with low density housing, distributor roads and cul-de-sacs have resulted in people having to choose to drive for the majority of their trips. This has created environments which are dominated by the car and where distances to shops, bus stops, schools and workplaces are excessively long. This, coupled with the lack of adequate provision for walking and cycling has resulted in an urban environment dominated by motorised traffic and often hostile to cyclists and pedestrians. The dominance of car-based transport also has many adverse environmental and social impacts including traffic accidents, congestion, noise, and emissions with negative implications for air quality, health and climate change.
Recent thinking in relation to development of sustainable towns and cities involves the ‘10-minute neighbourhood’ or the ‘connected neighbourhood’ concept, whereby the services people need in their daily lives are located a short distance from their home by walking or cycling. This concept facilitates active travel modes (walking and cycling) and the use of public transport resulting in more compact, vibrant and walkable urban areas. This approach is echoed in national planning policy (the National Planning Framework) which has Compact Growth and Sustainable Mobility as key National Strategic Outcomes and regional planning policy (the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy) which promotes more compact, higher density neighbourhoods focussed on public transport nodes. In areas designed in this manner, people of all ages and abilities can choose to make short and medium length trips by walking and cycling and it is easier and more economical for public transport to operate to cater for medium and longer trips. More pleasant urban environments are created where social and economic activity can thrive. The County Development Plan reflects national and regional policy and incorporates compact growth, sustainable movement and the connected neighbourhood concept at the core of its approach to placemaking.
Travel data for the County indicates that one quarter of trips under 3km and almost half of trips under 6km are taken by car. There is significant scope for a shift to walking and cycling for these shorter trips. However, to make this shift attractive to people, changes to the environment are required to make walking and cycling easier – these changes include designing new development areas around active travel modes and public transport and building at higher densities. In existing areas, measures to promote active modes and public transport include improving pedestrian facilities by implementing measures such as widening footpaths and enhancing surfaces, removing obstacles such as walls and railings in order to create better permeability, and providing a network of safer cycle lanes. This County Development Plan contains policies and objectives for healthy placemaking and sustainable movement that over time, will achieve an increase in walking, cycling and use of public transport and a decrease in use of the private car.