College Green plaza will not be in place before end of 2018 – council
Plan that prohibits all vehicles from College Green to be sent to Bord Pleanála
Artist’s impression of what College Green would like under the proposed changes. Photograph: Dublin City Council/PA Wire
A proposed €8 million pedestrian and cycle plaza for Dublin’s College Green will not be in place before the end of 2018, more than a year after the Luas Cross City begins operations, Dublin City Council has said.
Earlier this month, the council announced that plans for the civic space, which would prohibit all vehicles crossing College Green to and from Dame Street, will have to be submitted to An Bord Pleanála for approval. It intends to make the submission to the board by next March.
New timelines for the project issued by the council on Thursday indicate the plaza, if it secures permission from the planning board, will be completed at the end of 2018, at the earliest, but construction could continue into 2019. The new Luas line will run though the area from the end of next year.
Brendan O’Brien, head of technical services with the council, said he expected An Bord Pleanála to make a decision on the council’s application by December of next year.
Road layout changes
If the board decided in favour of the council the traffic and road layout changes needed to accommodate the Luas could be made quite quickly, Mr O’Brien said.
“We would have some work to do on the alternative divisions routes but in terms of changing College Green to the new traffic layout . . . that can be done simply and easily overnight.”
If the board did not grant permission or delayed its decision beyond the opening of the Luas, the council would have to implement its own traffic controls, he said. “If we don’t get direction from An Bord Pleanála we have to use our own traffic management powers to, for example, remove all taxis from this area.”
However, he said the council would not be in a position to remove buses from crossing to and from Dame Street through the proposed plaza area.
If the pedestrianisation scheme is approved by the board the plaza would take approximately one year to construct, city architect Ali Grehan said.
“We want to be ready to tender at the end of next year. If the board moves fast on it we would hope to issue the tender as soon as possible after we get that decision.We think it could take a year to construction, but that will depend on the design, but we would want to commence construction end of 2017 early 2018.”
The council will hold a public workshop on potential designs for the plaza on November 16th. Registration is required at eventbrite.ie. It plans to appoint a design team in December ahead of the submission to An Bord Pleanála next March.
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 next 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 consultant’s advice, the council decided the plans needed the approval of An Bord Pleanála.