In the best scheme of things, at 7 on a Friday, it usually takes about 15 minutes to get from my house to Saint Stephen’s Green carpark. It’s not my favourite carpark (actually do I even have a carpark I actively like in Dublin – probably not) but it’s handy enough for the National Concert Hall, I don’t have to figure out how to get to it indirectly because of the oneway system, and it probably doesn’t cost me too much time versus trying to find my way to the carpark at the Conrad.
So the National Concert Hall gigs on a Friday start at 8. I left hope at 10 past 7. Mostly, you’d think that’s more than adequate time to get to the National Concert Hall for 8pm.
I made it in the door of the National Concert Hall at 1 minute to 8. And this happened because I spent a lot of time on the south quays between Matt Talbot Bridge and O’Connell Bridge going nowhere. And that was after two frustrated drivers had tried to kill me on the Matt Talbot bridge by changing lanes in front of me without looking to see whether there was anyone actually in the lane already.
Initially I figured the cause was probably bridge works for the new bridge. It wasn’t.
The only explanation I can see was that someone had parked in front of a bar not too far from O’Connell Bridge, partially blocking one lane. It caused chaos back as far as the Matt Talbot Bridge. I’m sure they were facilitated by having the car right outside the pub they were darting in and out of but it caused chaos for many, many other drivers.
I’ve long been of the view that many of the problems with traffic in Dublin could be alleviated if drivers stopped doing things like this. When I was coming home from the National Concert Hall, having elected to avoid Dawson Street as it has works on it at the moment, Georges Street was a symphony of cars parked in clearways and on double yellow lines. They were parked in bus lanes as well but as it was after 10 o’clock, and most of the bus lanes are not 24 hours that might be probably slightly more forgivable.
I’m not a fan of clamping cars. I think it’s wrong but in any case, clamping is not a solution for people parked in the wrong place.
I used to live in Brussels and there was a bus I used to take to and from work that had a junction which was notoriously difficult for the buses to get around and which was a clearway/tow away zone. Some talented driver of a Volvo parked one day and the bus could not clear the junction. It was a tow away zone, as I said, and the car was taken away as soon as the tow truck arrived.
Maybe we need to consider this in Dublin at this stage. I’m sick of hearing people in Dublin criticise driving in other cities when Dublin is second only to Athens in my experience of poor driving in western European countries.