'We need Christmas traffic measures all year round', say FF
More cars on the roads and fears of gridlock caused by the new Luas Cross City service mean Operation Freeflow-style traffic measures are needed in the capital year-round, Fianna Fail has argued.
"Traffic chaos in Dublin is not just a Christmas phenomenon," said the party's Dublin spokesman, John Lahart.
He is calling for Operation Open City - Freeflow's successor - to be made permanent.
Traffic levels have been rising steadily as the economy has improved.
Mr Lahart pointed to the €350m cost of traffic congestion and estimated that commuters are spending the equivalent of eight days in their cars, stuck in traffic, every year.
In recent years, Operation Open City has operated in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
It includes highly-visible garda traffic patrols, rapid- response towing to move broken-down vehicles and monitoring of bus lanes and Luas lines to minimise obstruction by other vehicles.
"We need active Garda Traffic Corps intervention every day in the city and along the M50," said Mr Lahart.
He claimed that promised traffic management measures for the M50 have not been delivered, and there needs to be an increased garda presence on the motorway to penalise speeding and help minimise collisions that are "causing mayhem for commuters".
Mr Lahart also raised concerns about the impact on traffic of the new Luas Cross City service, which is due to begin operating within weeks.
It is expected that trams will cross O'Connell Bridge every three minutes at peak time, taking up to 90 seconds to clear the intersection, with potential knock-on effects for traffic elsewhere.
Mr Lahart added that some bus lanes in the city are clogged with cars at peak times because of a lack of consistent enforcement of the rules, and this dissuades people from using public transport.
He said that, in the absence of infrastructure to alleviate congestion, "the only short-term solution is for direct intervention by the Traffic Corps on a consistent basis".
He said this should be done "in conjunction with the four Dublin local authorities, the National Transport Authority and all other stakeholders in the city".