Fluffy links – Wednesday 30th April 2008

You heard they’re digging up part of St. Stephen’s Green for that transport link thing? Campaign to Save the Green.

There’s a whole lot of steampunk gear for sale on Etsy.

Pat points out a handy device to unlock phones via the sim card. Pretty much what turbo sim does for the iPhone but cheaper.

Peter Donegan’s landscaping blog. Read about the pink boat and the garden show.

BT did a bundle offer of a linux laptop and a copy of Microsoft Office. Not epic, but a fail.

Via El Rick, an Irish Doctor Who blog.

Haydn’s started an art social network.

I really love watches, this F1 watch is something else.

Miller are running what basically is a gossip blog about Bud. Love the idea.

DomainTools.com using dodgy links.

What mischief could you do with one of these. Here it was for Bud Rising but what would you change it to and what building or place would you project it on?

Onyx and Biohazard – Slam (Gotta love the camera posturing)

22 Responses to “Fluffy links – Wednesday 30th April 2008”

  1. Anthony McG says:

    That savingourgreen.com one seems to be down.

  2. Cian says:

    Damo Damo Damo… basically, they can’t built the metro without taking up part of Stephen’s Green, and similar has been done in every other city with a metro built in the last century (as opposed to the one before). The plazas in Munich were lifted, the parks in Sydney, etc. Its going to be reinstated anyway.

    Site doesn’t actually load for me right now anyway.

  3. Damien says:

    The City Council owned property off the Green where they had the option of digging down and under via there so the park would not be disturbed. Like they do in most cities for things like this.

  4. Cian says:

    Theres not enough space for the dig + associated siteworks without disrupting part of the Green. We’re not putting a little underground station in there, its a terminal and an interchange between two modes. If its built too small it’ll become dangerously overcrowded very quickly, like Kings Cross in the UK.

    It also needs to be at that corner/side to interchange with the third mode – Luas. There really is no other option. Also its not the Council that’ll be doing any of this!

    Campaignig to ‘save the Green’ with no alternative and generally no knowledge of whats actually going to be done is horrendously narrow minded, although I’ve not come to expect more from Frank McDonald (the main proponent at the moment it seems)

  5. roosta says:

    The original version of “Slam” is better…a hip-hop classic


  6. Noel Rock says:

    I’ll respond to this comment, since it seems to encapsulate all of them pretty nicely:

    “Theres not enough space for the dig + associated siteworks without disrupting part of the Green.”

    I won’t get too emotive with the language here; but there are several alternatives even around the green itself.

    1. The roads to the North/West of St. Stephen’s Green could be closed to accomodate this build instead. According to current plans, there are no views to this. Given the relatively light load of traffic on this street, this would seem fairly easy. Of course, it’s anti-business or anti-taxi or something.

    2. As proposed by Dr. Fitzgerald (the Taoiseach, not my GP on Collins’ Ave.), the interchange could be further up the Green Line around either Harcourt St. or Ranelagh – various areas available there where it could be done.

    3. Compulsory land purchase: we did it for the LUAS, why can’t we do it for the Metro? “Ah sure, there’s a park there, nobody can object to us digging up a park”. Or closing the only urban civic space which gets any real relative use, in another set of words.

    If there was a viable alternative park in Dublin City, this wouldn’t be much of an issue at all of course – then it would be just a park. But this isn’t just a park, this is the park. And when there are no alternatives to that, yet a plurality of alternatives to the as-yet-unstarted Metro, I really fail to see how such thoughts could be considered narrow-minded. Indeed, they seem to show the imagination that has been all-too-lacking in our transport ‘plans’ to date.

  7. Cian says:

    Moving the interchange requires making the Interconnector a lot longer – massive cost increase we can’t afford. Garret Fitzgerald has voiced opposition to virtually every rail project in the city in the past decade, so I’d take his suggestions with a massive pinch of salt.

    Removing the road, while a good idea as the traffic is minimal, still won’t leave enough space to get the entire station/siteworks in – the park will still be affected. Plus, the station needs ventilation shafts to above – these can’t be provided in the reinstated roadway!

    If the city council sorts out CPOing out Noel O’Gara in Dartmouth and investigates getting Fitzwilliam Square we’d have other public parks, unfortunately this hasn’t happened… but you’re also forgetting the nearby Merrion Square as an open public park. And its not as if the Green isn’t going to be reinstated (with the exception of a few vent shafts)

  8. Cian says:

    Additionally, it’d require far longer distances of potentially damaging tunnel boring under the remaining Georgian bits of the city to bring the Interconnector and Metro further south to another interchange point, forgot this.

  9. Noel Rock says:

    If by ‘opposed’ you mean he wanted to see higher capacity in general as he called the Green Line ‘inadequate’ as far back as 2002, then you’d be right. And what have we found now on the Green Line? It’s a very liberal meaning of ‘opposed’ you’ve taken there, so we ought to sort that out first.

    Nobody has objection to going under the park necessarily Cian, it’s the digging up of the park and the three years of effective closure that I’d contend with. Indeed, digging up the Northern and Western roads would give them the sufficient access to get under – thus bypassing both problems.

    And then there’s still the viable alternatives of CPO’s.

    RE: Merrion Square, it hasn’t been forgotten, it just isn’t necessarily central and certainly isn’t used in any great volumes by the youth of this city.

  10. Cian says:

    CPOing *what* exactly? The Stephens Green Centre? Possibly listed buildings on the north side? First would bankrupt the project. Latter just wouldn’t happen. Very difficult to reinstate a full building, far easier to reinstate an arch made of stone blocks and some ponds.
    If they are not listed it still adds massive cost to the project. We’re entering very poor economic times right now, so anything which makes what is a vital infrastructure project unnecessarily more expensive is a majorly bad idea.

    Tunnelling the station under the park can’t be done safely due to the sheer mass of the dig, the entire operation needs to be cut/cover, and it won’t fit under the roadway/car parking spaces/taxi rank as it stands. It would be unsafe if not impossible to remove all the spoil this way, as well as causing serious problems if unknown/unexpected sewers/water mains/etc are found – or hit. Look at what they had to do, utilities wise, for the relatively minor digs for the Luas!

    And who’s fault is it if everyone uses one park? Not the councils. As a “youth of this city” I haven’t been through Stephen’s Green in years, I do however use Herbert Park – also owned by the council.

    In the end of it all – what is three years of less than 1/4 of the park being disrupted compared to having a metro system built that’ll last well over 100? Very little. And its not like we’re the first country to have had to take on the same burden to get their systems built.

  11. Noel Rock says:

    “CPOing *what* exactly?”

    The Eircom building that is about to be sold, for one example completely off the top of my head? That gives you more land to the West. Its already, incidentally, been a given that trees of that age can’t be restored. That should be put on the table too now, as opposed to being “an unforeseen occurance” further down the line.

    And as for “the entire operation needs to be cut and cover”, well, not according to the current planning – with shows the turnback loop and about 200 metres of two tracks going under Stephen’s Green without any further digging. If this isn’t the case, and it is in fact cut and cover all the way, then that elevates the project to roughly 2/3 of the park being dug up/shut… so which one is it?

    As for “everyone using the park” – well – that’s hardly a point any one person can deal with. It’s the only central (yes, central, you know, not Herbert Park, not Merrion Square – in an area that actually has foot traffic) part of Dublin with green space.

    We may not be the first country to have such a burden Cian, I accept that; but Dublin isn’t Munich or Sydney, and a bit of imagination to get around this problem shouldn’t be too much of a stretch.

  12. Cian says:

    Trees ‘of that age’ are approaching the end of their lifespan and would possibly be destroyed by digging under them, anyway. Not being a biologist I haven’t got a clue how deep their roots/water sources are going to be, though.

    You can bore tunnels. You can’t bore out the ticket hall/interchange space – its too large. The majority of the tunnels on the entire project will be bored – did you think they were going to cut a hole in the middle of the airport?

    Try what you’re suggesting with a sandbox (of wet sand so it doesn’t fall to bits. You can push a pencil through and the tunnel stays intact. Cut out a massive chasm and you don’t have the structural integrity to put shoring up in time. Add to that the problems of getting all the spoil out via a significantly smaller hole to one side and it becomes impossible. Basic engineering.

    A ‘bit of imagination’ will end up costing us billions we don’t have. We’ve never been the leaders in anything when it comes to infrastructural planning and I can’t see us ever becoming them – pessimistic as that may sound. Whats being planned here is what the planners in any other city would do. Its also, coincidentally, the cheapest option – precisely what we need with the economy on the skids, as paying building owners to move doesn’t put money back in to the economy…

  13. Noel Rock says:

    “A ‘bit of imagination’ will end up costing us billions we don’t have. We’ve never been the leaders in anything when it comes to infrastructural planning and I can’t see us ever becoming them – pessimistic as that may sound. Whats being planned here is what the planners in any other city would do. Its also, coincidentally, the cheapest option – precisely what we need with the economy on the skids, as paying building owners to move doesn’t put money back in to the economy…”

    Nobody tried to fix the roof when the sun was shining. Should we plough ahead with something now that we’ll end up regretting in 2012, should the economic climate improve and we find ourselves able to build it in another way? Should we have another half-arsed measure, like not connecting the two LUAS lines the last time out? Indeed, it seems foolhardy to undertake such a large-scale project at a time when we’re trying to cut costs.

    Should we essentially betray an original agreement that vested the trust of this park with the OPW so that it could be kept and held for the public interest? We seem to be selling out for perceived ‘progress’ on a project which has an almost negative cost/benefit ratio according to the latest estimates at this stage – but we haven’t even touched on that aspect of it yet.

    “You can’t bore out the ticket hall/interchange space – its too large. ”

    That’s right Cian. You seem to be selectively quoting me here. That’s where the road and Eircom/other CPO space to the West, or the road to the North, would come in. Or Ranelagh. Whichever really. My point stemmed from your erroneous quote on “the entire operation needing to be cut and cover” in Stephen’s Green, which was just factually off the mark.

    Have you sent your sandbox suggestions to OPW and DCC? Perhaps they wouldn’t’ve sold off land around Stephen’s Green so recently then, as Damien pointed out here in the beginning.

  14. Cian says:

    The existing measure is in no way ‘half arsed’. Its the most sensible to reduce the amount of tunneling and have the lowest cost.

    Moving the interchange a mile down the line is half-arsed – it’ll require miles more tunnelling for both Metro and the Interconnector and demolishing buildings on the surface for construction/access/vent shafts rather than putting them under an effective void.

    Moving the station to the other side of the green might work but this would require putting the entrance tunnel under buildings, not the road – far more expensive – and putting the turnaround tunnels under buildings rather than the park – far more expensive. You’re going to need to tunnel around services, basements, etc; which you don’t with the current location. So moving it the eircom site is half-arsed.

    How is something factually inaccurate when it wasn’t? You introduced another facet, which I never mentioned. I was speaking solely about the cut/cover operation to build the ticket hall. You introduced the tunnels. Not me.

    And why would I sent my suggestions to the OPW and DCC? I’m agreeing with what they’re suggesting. I was using it to illustrate that your idea of digging down the roadway and moving in under the park was impossible. I’m absolutely positive their engineers know this already – considering they’ve never been suggested.

    If there’s anyone selectively quoting here, its you, not me. I’ve repeatedly said that using the roadway isn’t large enough to build the station. You keep saying it as if I’m suggesting it is.

    However, preaching to the deaf is basically useless, as I’m finding out.

  15. Noel Rock says:

    “How is something factually inaccurate when it wasn’t? You introduced another facet, which I never mentioned. I was speaking solely about the cut/cover operation to build the ticket hall. You introduced the tunnels. Not me.”

    So when you said the entire operation, you didn’t actually mean the entire operation? Oh I can see how I selectively quoted that. Yes.

    How, exactly, is a ‘more expensive’ solution equating to half-arsed when it doesn’t interfere with a vital civic artery of the city? That makes no sense. You’ve decided to equate the term ‘half-arsed’ to whatever you deem fit personally, it would seem. My point was that more expense doesn’t preclude any solution at this stage, thus rendering the argument of ‘more economic’ as half-arsed. We’ve seen poorly developed infrastructure come back to haunt us before – with the airport, the LUAS and now potentially the Metro. And the simple fact that people are shooting down proposed alternatives with such blatant arrogance, while we’re getting such support despite only being running for 4 days, would suggest that others feel the same.

    But time will tell Cian. And perhaps preaching to the so-called ‘deaf’ is indeed useless when you’re blind yourself.

  16. Cian says:

    *I never mentioned the tunnels*, at all. The “entire operation” of what I was talking about – the station – needs to be done cut and cover. Stop putting words in my mouth.

    How is Stephens Green a ‘vital artery’? How is the most cost effective and least disruptive to buildings plan ‘poorly developed’? How do any of your alternative plans make sense when they all require far more expensive and dangerous construction works? Your propositions are based on quick assumptions and have no basis in feasibility – that is why they’re being shot down.

    You’re suggesting things which are impossible – digging under the Green from the roadway; things which would add billions to the cost of the project – bring the Interconnector south, placing the station (and hence the runoff tunnels, etc) under buildings; things which would be horrendously unsafe now – digging under the green from the roadway again; and unsafe in the future – any description of station reduced in size to fit under a smaller site, such as the eircom building.

    Of course others are going to feel the same – although I don’t call 73 people ‘such support’ on a widely used social networking site where people join groups at the drop of a hat, to be honest.

  17. Noel Rock says:

    Vital civic artery. We’ll start there. The most cost effective plan isn’t necessarily the best plan. The most cost effective plan gave us the LUAS in the first place – and while it has been successful, had it been built on a proper scale; perhaps we wouldn’t have had to have been adding on pieces now during our current downturn. Indeed, it seems as though the plans for Knocklyon (circa 2002) have just gone out the window. But enough on that.

    The least disruptive to buildings? Once again, you’ve managed to discount the value of St. Stephen’s Green Cian, and this is what it comes down to: you place a value on one thing, I place it on another. I find it unacceptable to have three years of the heart of Dublin to be shut down (and with a train station being built in one-third of it, the other two-thirds are effectively shut. Who goes to a park that shares a construction site?) – with no guarantees of length (and I wouldn’t believe the three years estimate) and permanent damage being done to the Green that was entrusted to the Government by a private individual. This was not ever meant to be redeveloped. This was not meant to be touched. This, for all effective purposes, should be treated like a building, whether or not it’s more or less cost effective.

    I’m suggesting things which other architects and urban planners have also suggested; and will be suggesting over the coming weeks, all of which will appear on the (properly launched) website and in the Times. There is far more to these proposals than what you’re saying here Cian and what you’re claiming to be ‘impossible’ is very very doable (re: the northern and western roads plus the eircom site) – albeit, at a cost indeed. But I would prefer a financial cost to a social cost. And this is just one of the myriad points where you and I radically differ.

  18. Cian says:

    What people go to a park thats shared with a construction site – ask anyone that used Fairview Park, which was divided in two for many years. Still got a huge amount of use.

    By the way – the park was given to the people of Dublin. Not the Government. Its entrusted to the City Council as representatives of those people. Again, not the Government.

    Are the pieces in the Times going to be as hysterical and factually inaccurate as McDonald’s previous piece? With Junior Cert pass-level mathametical errors – claiming a single tunnel would be cheaper than two despite a single tunnel being approximately double the size, and also explicitly banned by the Railway Safety Commission – I don’t see what else we can trust there.

    Lets not even get on to the insane suggestion of putting the Grand *Central* station in a suburb.

  19. …. for the times they are a changing

  20. Noel Rock says:

    Fairview Park – 49 Acres
    Stephen’s Green – 22 Acres

    Completely the same. Probably best you don’t criticise the Irish Times for making silly comparisons just quite yet.

    Sorry, yes, the people of Dublin. Entrusted to the people of Dublin for their use. Hard to use it when it’s shut for three years to plough a bloody train station into it.

  21. Cian says:

    I thought you said you weren’t going to use emotive language? “plough a bloody train station” comes in under that.

    The land-take in Fairview Park for the Port Tunnel was proportionally the same if not more as for the Green, and lasted longer. The park was actually divided in two, making it impossible to pass from one side to the other except at the edges. However, it was for the greater good, and the park has been reinstated.

    If you can look through the red mist which clearly descended for a while, you’ll see that closing 1/4 of the park for a limited period of time to build desperately needed transport infrastructure is also for the greater good. 3/4 of the Green will remain open and entirely usable for the time period.

  22. ah jasus lads! self praise and all that jazz [i hear you both] and i’m sure you’re both fine citizens of society and good standing – however – thoughts aside the muppets we elected will ensure it is done in fine ‘oirish’ style to be sure to be sure…?! port tunnel, luas, tara hill etc… the clarence [for good measure!]…

    also very entertaining!
    slán – p.