The-Sunday-TImes

I hope that Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council reads this article; we have plenty of our own “eyesore” poles.

From the Sunday Times (3rd of October 2010).

Council vows to remove ‘eyesore’ poles

by Niall Toner

DUBLIN city council has pledged to remove more than 100 signage poles in an attempt to clear the capital of the “eyesores”.

The council said this weekend it would take away the mostly galvanised poles within three months, prompted in part by Kevin Duff, an environmental activist, who posted photographs of each of them on Archiseek, a planning, architecture and environment forum.

Duff, an officer with An Taisce, the national heritage trust, also lodged an official complaint with Frank Crowley, the council’s traffic inspector.

In a letter to the council, Duff criticised the 2011-17 City Development Plan and its objectives of “seeking to uphold the quality of the city core as the premier cultural, social and business district” and the “provision of a first-rate public realm”.

He said the plan was “almost laughably removed from the reality on the ground” and that “a massive cull of poles and other fixtures from the streets” is required.

Duff’s photos show quirky and embarrassing urban eyesores. At the junction St Nicholas Street and Back Lane in Dublin’s Christchurch, for example, there are four empty galvanised steel poles within a stretch of only a few metres.

Another image shows a set of parallel poles blocking the footpath in Marlborough Street near the Department of Education. Others are to be found close to City Hall.

Duff says the city would need just a third of the number of poles on the streets if it streamlined and combined signs while removing unnecessary and redundant items.

He referred to a new signage system being put in place to direct pedestrians to historical and cultural sites at a cost of €4.1m, which will involve more poles.

“They are putting in a new wayfinder system against a background of years of appalling clutter,” Duff said.

Dublin city council defended the new infrastructure: “It is the intention of the city council to rationalise the level of clutter in the public domain. This will be achieved by the removal of existing signs and poles that are in the vicinity of the new systems’ infrastructure.”

Zombie poles are not just an issue in the city centre. Barry Ward, a Fine Gael councillor, is a veteran campaigner for their removal in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown and moved a motion aimed at cleaning up the borough’s poles over a year ago. The motion was passed unanimously,” he says. “But I think it was misinterpreted. The motion and the response was to set up an email address for the reporting of ”unauthorised poles’, which is a different thing.”

Ward reckons the council has the potential to save thousands of euros by doing an audit of all signage poles.

Tom McHugh, director of transportation in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, said the council would remove any unnecessary poles. “It is our policy and practice to remove signage and poles that are unused.”

Duff says he could have found more than 100 poles for his survey in the city centre. “You could have easily kept going and there could be twice or three times that amount.”

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