Subscriber OnlyDublin

What will the changes in the new Dublin City Centre Transport plan mean for drivers?

The council and the NTA want to reduce the number of motorists driving ‘through’ instead of ‘to’ the city centre

What is the Dublin City Centre Transport Plan?

A strategy developed by Dublin City Council and the National Transport Authority (NTA) for a “low traffic city centre” with more space given to public transport, cycling and walking.

Does it mean cars will be banned from the city centre?

No. The council and the NTA are not stopping people driving into town. What they do want, however, is to reduce the number of motorists driving “through” instead of “to” the city centre.

What do they mean by that?

Studies conducted by the NTA show almost two out of every three drivers in the “core” of the city centre – an area roughly defined as running from Smithfield to the Custom House, and St Stephen’s Green to Mountjoy Square – do not have the city centre as their destination. They are, as one Fine Gael councillor put it, using the city centre “as a vast rat run”.

What’s the problem with that, why can’t people use whatever route they want?

Motorists driving through the city are of no benefit to the businesses or the life of the city, all they do is contribute to gridlock. Removing them will free up the streets in the central shopping and business district for public transport and for drivers who want to take their cars “to” the city to shop or work.


Will car parks in the city still be accessible?

Car parks and businesses in the city will still be accessible but if you’re crossing the river, or driving east or west along the quays, you may have to take a more circuitous route to get to your final location. Drivers who definitely want to end up in that city location will take the more roundabout route, drivers who are heading outside the city will avoid driving through the core.

How will these deterrents be implemented?

The first changes, which are due to be in place this year, will make Bachelors Walk on the north quays and Aston quay on the southside public transport only. On Westland Row, motorists heading north will no longer be able to turn left on to Pearse Street meaning a large reduction in traffic heading towards the city centre. Instead, motorists will have to turn right, away from the city, on to a new two-way section of Pearse Street from Westland Row to Sandwith Street.


If you’re driving on the quays, when do you have to leave?

The council is finalising the details, but its current thinking is general traffic on the north quays will turn left at Swifts Row on to Jervis Street. On the southside, general traffic will turn right on to O’Connell Bridge. Those wanting to head west on the quays can reach the riverside at Winetavern Street. Motorists will still be able to cross the river at all the other bridges currently available to them.

If these are the first changes, what else is to come?

Once the reduction in cross-city traffic has been achieved, it will free up space to implement other parts of the plan such as civic plazas near the Custom House, as well as making Parliament Street traffic-free, and finally implementing the College Green plaza.

What about drivers with mobility issues or people who need to get to hospitals?

The removal of through traffic should make it easier for people who need to use cars to get into town and there will be no reduction in parking spaces for “blue badge” holders. Most hospitals are outside the city core and it is already extremely unlikely people would use the city centre to get to these facilities due to the existing gridlock on the quays.

Is anyone disadvantaged by these changes?

People wedded to routine or their “traditional” route may find the changes irritating. There are businesses who use the quays every day such as Diageo whose Guinness lorries go from the St James’s Gate brewery to Dublin Port, who may have to travel considerably longer distances. Drivers going to ferries won’t use the quays either until east of the Custom House. There is also the risk traffic will divert into residential areas close to the city. Dublin City Council said if this appears to be happening it will introduce additional traffic management measures for these areas.

Does the council need to get permission for these changes?

The council has the power to implement the traffic management measures planned this year under the Road Traffic Act. For the plazas, it will go through a planning process.

  • Sign up for push alerts and have the best news, analysis and comment delivered directly to your phone
  • Find The Irish Times on WhatsApp and stay up to date
  • Our In The News podcast is now published daily – Find the latest episode here
Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times