Barriers sidelined for second College Green plaza trial

Council says it will double pedestrian space on Sunday and erect fewer crowd barriers

The number of metal barriers used in the trial of a traffic-free plaza in College Green will be significantly reduced this weekend, Dublin City Council's head of traffic management has said.

The council held its first trial run of the proposed civic plaza last Sunday, and will hold two similar event on the next two Sundays, ahead of plans to submit a new application to An Bord Pleanála for the scheme.

The board last November refused permission for Dublin City Council’s €10 million pedestrian and cycle plaza due to concerns about the “significantly negative impacts” it would have on bus transport and traffic in the city.

The plaza plan would have seen a ban on all traffic, including buses and taxis, from accessing Dame Street through College Green.


The council last Sunday closed College Green to traffic to facilitate family activities, including outdoor art classes organised by the Hugh Lane Gallery.

However, attendees complained about the excessive use of steel barriers, which lined both sides of Dame Street, and security guards at the event.

The council’s head of traffic management, Brendan O’Brien, said the council had received generally positive feedback from the event.

“We thought it went quite well. About 8,000 people came in and we surveyed people during the event and they said it was a pretty positive experience to see College Green pedestrianised.”

Breathing room

He acknowledged there was criticism of the metal barriers and said their use would be reduced this Sunday.

“There will be fewer metal barriers and the event space will be doubled in size and will reach down as far as Trinity Street.”

Barriers would still be in place on George’s Street, but this was to stop traffic from entering the pedestrianised area, he said.

Some of the barriers last Sunday had been used to delineate a cycle lane, which will be incorporated into the council’s design for the plaza, but Mr O’Brien concedes this had not been understood last week.

“People didn’t seem to be aware that this was a cycle track, and with so many people walking on it cyclists had to dismount, so we won’t do that this Sunday.”

Mr O’Brien said he did not anticipate this would be a problem if a permanent plaza was put in place as the design separated the cycle lane from the plaza with a row of trees.

More than 20 Dublin Bus routes were diverted from College Green to facilitate the pedestrianisation. Mr O'Brien said he did not yet have details on how long it took these buses to complete their journeys, compared with their usual Sunday timetable. "We don't have that information yet, but we will be looking to see if there were any particular problems at any locations."

The council was waiting to see the final Dublin Bus network redesign for the city centre before it submitted a fresh application to An Bord Pleanála, he said.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times