Working on the Railroad with Kitty and Patty

Irish Rail is definitely something to write home about!  Clean, comfortable, reliable, and on time. It accesses all the major cities in Ireland.

If you’re coming to Ireland (for this year’s Gathering perhaps) all you need to do is go online to irishrail.ie to book your train tickets. You’ll pick your tickets up when you get to the station by entering your reservation number into a kiosk. The find the train platform and take your seat. There are food, restrooms, and free (but intermittent) wi-fi access on board.

Simple as pie!

Mapping the Moving Dream

Venetikidis's dream for Dublin. (Image downloaded from http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2012/10/confusing-and-nonsensical-grandeur-dublin-transport/3657/)

Aris Venetikidis’ dream for Dublin transport. (Image downloaded from The Atlantic Cities.)

For an architect/urban theorist/planner like myself, Dublin’s transportation system seems to defy logic. I lack the adjectives to describe it.

But Eric Jaffe depicted the situation effectively in his October 2012 article in The Atlantic Cities.

His piece, titled “The ‘Confusing and Nonsensical Grandeur’ of Dublin Transport,” highlighted solutions posed by Aris Venetikidis, a skilled and clairvoyant graphic designer.

Apparently when Venetikidis arrived in Dublin, he was as perplexed as my sister and I about the lack of a comprehensive transportation network map. It’s a guide we look to in other cities when we want to travel around. We consider it essential.

Venetikidis let this frustration blossom into beauty. Like Colin Broderick, he too created a map of existing routes.

And then Venetikidis took this work a step farther.  He researched the history of past proposals. And he designed several new maps. They illustrate how various moves could improve transportation by making the network more coherent.

Jaffe’s article on the topic is worth a read… I thank Fulbrighter Amanda Burnhard for send it my way!

Mapping Dublin’s Transport Routes (Thanks a Mil, Colin Broderick!)

The proposed transportation map, which helps people visualize the links between various systems of public transportation.

An enterprising recent Dublin Institute of Technology graduate, Colin Broderick, has developed a very helpful map of all of Dublin’s public transport routes.  Colin created a map to help people visualize various transit routes and see how they connect.  And the Irish Times featured his idea yesterday!

This is truly exciting for me (a recent arrival to the city who struggles to navigate a frequently baffling bus system).

For the past three months I’ve longed for a resource like the one Colin has produced.

When my sister, Heather, visited from New York City in September, we collectively bemoaned the lack of such a visualization tool.

Yesterday’s Irish Times listed issue #4 as improving Dublin’s transportation map. YAY!!!!!

There has been, it seems, no comprehensive map of Dublin’s many bus routes published in recent memory.  Heather and I each, individually, trekked to the Dublin Bus headquarters to request one, only to leave empty handed.

The lack of a map was truly a “gap in the existing knowledge base” here in Dublin. And someone fresh out of DIT (my host institution here in Ireland) took it upon himself to fix the situation!

In the past two months, I’ve been toying with the idea of trying to make a map like Colin’s for my own personal use. I even dreamed of sharing it with others, but I also knew I didn’t have adequate time. And I worried that I would misunderstand some of the systems and make mistakes, which would mean I couldn’t share it.

Now, my dream of having such a map will become reality.

I applaud Colin for developing and such a map–and for making it available to the rest of us.

Many thanks to Joan Cahalin, her husband (Peter Twamley), and their awesome kids (Georgie and Jox) for tuning me into this bit of news!

The Irish Times will feature a new issue each day this week.

I snapped a few images of the map while I was with them earlier today, although I haven’t had the opportunity to study Colin’s graphic closely yet. Each day this week, the Irish Times will focus on a separate issue.  Colin’s map will be “front and center” in Tuesday’s paper.  I can’t wait to, as we say in the States, “read all about it.”