Dublin city traffic revamp to focus on non-motorists
Comprehensive assessment city centre traffic concludes that most of it should go elsewhere
An artist’s impression of Westmoreland Street in Dublin as it would look following the reconfiguration of city centre traffic proposed by the National Transport Authority.
Artist’s impression of D’Olier Street in Dublin reconfigured as a two-way street.
Artist’s impression of College Green in Dublin following reconfiguration.
The most comprehensive assessment yet of traffic in Dublin city centre has concluded that most of it should go elsewhere. And the picture painted by the National Transport Authority (NTA) of the current state of play is far from flattering. In fact, it portrays a shambles.
College Green is plagued by “bus congestion, overcrowded bus stops and cluttered narrow footpaths”, while on Westmoreland Street pedestrians are “confined to a relatively narrow area containing trees, phone boxes, side-road entrances, front-of-shop promotions etc”.
Comfort and space
With work already under way on the Luas Cross City line that will run through College Green, the NTA sees this project as an opportunity to transform the public realm to “allow people to enjoy some of the best of Dublin’s architectural heritage in comfort and space”.
Its draft City Centre Transport Assessment Study, seen by The Irish Times, proposes that traffic would be excluded from College Green, with the southern half turned into a pedestrian plaza and bus-only lanes in either direction on its north side.
Due to the “permanent removal of general traffic” from College Green, it would be possible to accommodate the movement of buses by “converting the two inbound traffic lanes beside the Bank of Ireland building . . . into a two-way bus street”, it says.
“One of the proposed changes at College Green is that the existing peak-hour bus gate time periods will be extended to facilitate both the construction and the operation of Luas Cross City,” the NTA says. At present, the “bus gate” only operates at peak times.
The study also favours pedestrianisation of Suffolk Street and Church Lane, the removal of traffic from Westmoreland Street, enabling its footpaths to be widened considerably, as well as making D’Olier Street, Beresford Place and Winetavern Street two-way.
If the proposals are adopted, Westmoreland Street will cater for the “limited number of buses that co-run with Luas Cross City” and a two-way cycle route. “The vast majority of the street space will be given over to providing a high-quality pedestrian environment.”
D’Olier Street is identified in the study as a potential two-way street, with a high concentration of bus stops in each direction, which would help to enliven it on both sides. It would have a new central median, similar to O’Connell Street although not quite so wide.
Christchurch Place would become a “pedestrian-friendly space” with just one lane of traffic in each direction, so that some of Dublin’s premier tourist attractions – notably Christ Church Cathedral – could be seen in “an attractive environment with minimal traffic intrusion”.