Plans unveiled for new College Green plaza in Dublin

Proposal for €10m pedestrian and cycle plaza with water jets submitted to planners

Plans for an €10 million pedestrian and cycle plaza for Dublin’s College Green will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála by Dublin City Council later this month. Olivia Kelly reports

 

Plans for a €10 million pedestrian and cycle plaza for Dublin’s College Green, which will see a ban on all traffic crossing to and from Dame Street, will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála by Dublin City Council later this month.

The council last October announced that plans for the new civic space, which it had intended to put in place ahead of the start of operations of the Luas Cross City later this year, would have to be submitted to the planning board.

It intended to submit its application to the board by the end of March last.

City architect Ali Grehan on Monday said a decision could by made by the board “by October at the earliest” and the plaza would take up to 18 months to construct.

If the board does not make a decision before the end of this year, or rejects the plaza plans, the council will not be in a position to stop all buses from crossing to and from Dame Street through the proposed plaza area, but it said it would use its powers to ban all cars, including taxis, from College Green.

If the board grants permission, the traffic changes will come into place immediately, ahead of the construction of the plaza.

Computer generated image of the proposed new College Green Plaza in Dublin.
Computer generated image of the proposed new College Green Plaza in Dublin.

Granite paving

Last February the council appointed Dixon Jones and Paul Keogh Architects to design the plaza. Its plans published on Monday show a tree-lined granite paved space with a central water feature of 32 water jets or “mini fountains” which can be switched off to facilitate major public gatherings and “processional events” such as the St Patrick’s Day parade.

While pedestrians will have free reign through the space, cyclists will have a designated two-way cycle track next to the footpath on the southside – the opposite side of the road from the Bank of Ireland building.

An aeriel view of the proposed new College Green Plaza in Dublin.
An aeriel view of the proposed new College Green Plaza in Dublin.

As part of the design there will be a new “turning circle” for buses in front of the plaza at the junction of Foster Place. Buses heading towards the plaza on Dame Street will have to use this turning circle to return west on Dame Street.

Taxi ranks currently in the College Green area will be moved to adjacent streets. There will be two-way traffic routes for taxis, buses and the new Luas Cross City running in a north-south direction in front of Trinity College.

Moving statues

The existing trees will be removed from the plaza and 22 new trees will be planted. The Henry Grattan and Thomas Davis monuments will be restored and retained but the Thomas Davis monument will be relocated slightly further west of its current position into the centre of the bus turning circle.

Computer generated image of the proposed new College Green Plaza in Dublin.
Computer generated image of the proposed new College Green Plaza in Dublin.

Cash-in-transit vans will still have access to Foster Place to facilitate Bank of Ireland, and the bank will also retain use its car park which faces College Green. However, Brendan O’Brien of the council’s traffic department said the council is negotiating with the bank to limit the hours of access to the car park.

The council has decided to drop previous plans to turn Parliament Street into a two-way street for buses and to reverse the direction of traffic on Church Lane, St Andrew’s Street and Trinity Street. It also plans a new right turn for buses from Dame Street into George’s Street.

The council had intended to pursue the scheme under its own “in-house” planning process and expected to have the traffic changes in place by June, ahead of the beginning of operations of the Luas Cross City line in September.

However, a public consultation process in recent months revealed significant opposition to the proposals from several prominent business interests in the city.

Following consultants’ advice, the council decided the plans needed the approval of An Bord Pleanála.

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