Business organisations slate car ban on parts of Liffey quays

Plan to divert cars to make way for Luas line is ideologically driven, says parking lobby

Luas Cross City construction works at O’Connell Bridge, Dublin: the proposed car  ban along some quays has sparked opposition. Photograph: Eric Luke

Luas Cross City construction works at O’Connell Bridge, Dublin: the proposed car ban along some quays has sparked opposition. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Plans to ban cars from parts of the Liffey quays are an attempt to introduce non-monetary congestion charges to Dublin city, business organisations have said.

To accommodate the new Luas Cross City line, cars travelling east along the Liffey will be required to turn left onto O’Connell Street. Traffic will not be permitted to continue straight on to Eden Quay, which will be restricted to public transport, and will also be prohibited from turning right on to O’Connell Bridge.

The shortest diversion route to return to the riverside at Custom House Quay would be 2.7km. Currently, the same journey route is 550 m.

Keith Gavin of the Irish Parking Association told Dublin City Council’s transport committee that the impact of this diversion on residential areas would be “horrendous” and he questioned the motivation of the measure.

“How much of this planned change is actually coming from an ideological position to satisfy the objectives of particular senior people in the council?” he asked. “This is effectively trying to introduce congestion charging.”

Richard Guiney of business organisation Dublin Town said many of his members were also concerned the decision was being made for “ideological reasons” and not as a public transport measure.

Smooth running

“Without significant intervention in the city centre, the Luas trams will be caught up in traffic congestion, and the new service will prove to be slow, unreliable and unable to maintain a constant headway.”

Due to the length of the trams, they cannot stop on O’Connell Bridge or the Rosie Hackett Bridge without blocking the quays.

“Without any actions to reduce traffic on the north and south quays, then the operation of public transport and general traffic with the Luas will mean long delays for all modes and exacerbate the already congested area,” the council said.

The changes needed to be in place ahead of the start of trial running of the new Luas next August, it said.

Several councillors, including the Green Party’s Ciarán Cuffe and Fine Gael’s Paddy McCartan said they supported the council’s traffic measures. “This is the clearest signal yet about the prioritisation of public transport and its role in the city,” Mr McCartan said.