Bord Pleanála delays decision on bus access to College Green until April
Dublin City Council had hoped decision would come before start of new Luas operations
Luas Cross City tram testing at College Green, Dublin: buses will continue to travel to and from Dame Street for the time being. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
Buses will continue to travel to and from Dame Street through the planned pedestrian-and-cyclist-only plaza at College Green, after the new Cross City Luas line begins operations next month, Dublin City Council has confirmed.
The council last May sought permission from An Bord Pleanála to build the €10 million civic plaza and ban all traffic, including buses, access to and from Dame Street through College Green.
The council had hoped the planning board would deliver its decision ahead of the start of operations of the new Luas, but earlier this month the board announced it would not be issuing its decision before next April.
The delay is to allow the public time to assess significant new information provided to the board by the council about the traffic impact of the project.
Last August, following submissions from Dublin Bus, the National Transport Authority (NTA), Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and city business interests, the board ordered the council to undertake a “comprehensive assessment” of proposed traffic changes for the plaza.
Dublin Bus wants to keep running buses through College Green and said stopping it from doing so would have a “socially regressive impact on already disadvantaged communities”.
The council had to assess how the traffic changes would affect individual streets, access to homes and businesses, including car parks, and provide details of current journey times for buses and other traffic over a distance stretching from Heuston Station to Shelbourne Park greyhound stadium in Ringsend, and from the Mater hospital to Leeson Street bridge.
“The assessment shall address the wider city implications of removing traffic from College Green and the adequacy of infrastructure,” the board said.
The council submitted its assessment to An Bord Pleanála last month, but the board has directed it must allow the public to view and make submissions on the new information.
In a letter to the council, the board said the new information included “significant additional data in relation to the likely effects on the environment of the proposed development and the likely consequences for proper planning and sustainable development in the area”.
The council said it will make “significant additional data” available to the public for three weeks from Thursday.
Existing traffic arrangements in College Green will remain in place until the new year, it said.
“It is anticipated by Dublin City Council that additional measures will have to be introduced to reduce east-west traffic levels in the College Green area. However, this requirement will be assessed in the new year as the increase in bus numbers in Lower Grafton Street and the introduction of longer trams starts to take place.”
However, it said buses “will continue to travel along Dame Street/College Green in an east-west direction after the Luas Cross City operations start until the Bord Pleanála decision is made”.
Submissions or further observations in relation to the further information may be made in writing to An Bord Pleanála by December 7th, 2017.