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New development in Ballsbridge

Mountbrook: A Vision For Ballsbridge is the video about the urban development planned for Ballsbridge, which is about 10 minutes walk from where I live. There are also some nice pictures of the proposed development.
It’s interesting to look at the way the project is presented and the way that people are reacting to it.

The presentation (this video, and the display that is currently on show in the area) makes a fuss of the fact that the buildings look good. I suppose they don’t look too bad in the pictures. They’re certainly better than the old ones. Still, I don’t like the video much. It doesn’t really put the development in its context for the local people and it doesn’t sell the benefits that local people will get from it.
The presentation makes a fuss of all the cultural facilities like galleries and theatres, and family features like a creche that will be part of the development. In reality, a lot of these facilities are flannel – it will be difficult to keep them viable in the longer term when the initial subsidies have run out. However, the nice open spaces and shops should be viable and should be a real amenity.
A lot of local people are unhappy with the height of the building. It’s proposed to be 37 storeys. In reality, I don’t think the height will have a really big impact. The site is big enough for the height not to have too much impact.

The big issue for me though, and the one that isn’t addressed comprehensively is the issue of traffic. My estimate is that the development will bring at least 20000 people movements to the area (4000 movements by the 2000 residents; 440 movements by the occupants of the 220 hotel rooms; 8000 movements by the 4000 people working on the site and 10000 movements by the 5000 people who visit the site every day to shop or have fun. This is triple what came from the site as a hotel, at least. It’s unclear how all these people are supposed to come and go.
It’s certainly possible to handle this amount of people; but it will require a real transport plan. There isn’t evidence that this has really been done in the presentation I saw.

Still, I hope this goes ahead, and that the problems are remedied by building new infrastructure to meet the needs of the site, rather than by slimming back the project.

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