College Green road changes need to be ‘urgently addressed’

Dublin City Council says moves to further limit traffic will begin before Christmas

An artist’s impression of the proposed changes to the College Green area. Photograph: Dublin City Council

An artist’s impression of the proposed changes to the College Green area. Photograph: Dublin City Council

 

Road layout changes for College Green, flagged in the recently published Dublin City Centre Transport Study, will need to be agreed by Christmas, Dublin City Council has said.

The study, which recommends €150 million investment on greater facilities for walking, cycling and public transport, proposes banning cars from parts of the city centre including College Green.

The study was available for public consultation during the summer and a report on that process was presented to councillors on Wednesday morning.

Councillors were told while many of the elements of the study would be subject to further examination, informed by the results of the public consultation, some needed to be implemented with immediate effect.

“There are two lanes running east and three lanes running west on Dame Street. This allows too much traffic to come into College Green for the level of road space available... this needs to be urgently addressed,” Declan Wallace, executive manager with the council’s environment and transport department said.

Cars are already banned from travelling through College Green from 7am to 7pm. However, Mr Wallace said physical changes to the road layout were now needed.

“The road needs to be realigned to limit traffic coming into that junction,” he said.

The process of changing the road layout needed to be started now, he said, and he would be seeking to put a planning proposal for the realignment to city councillors “before Christmas”.

However, he said in changing the road layout the council was not at this stage dictating which vehicles would be permitted to use the road.

Designs for a public plaza at College Green, including a large pedestrian area in front of the Bank of Ireland, could be pursued at the same time as the road alignment scheme, Mr Wallace said.

The council received almost 8,000 submissions during the public consultation process on the study. While there was strong support for the proposals among public transport users, cyclists and pedestrians, the council acknowledged there was “considerable divergence” in the responses received.

“The reaction, particularly from the retail and hospitality sector, to the proposals has been to voice considerable and grave concern regarding reducing in any way private car access to the city centre and providing estimates of 17-23 per cent reduction in economic activity as a consequence, with a corresponding loss in jobs.”

It also received 795 submissions from retail workers, particularly employees and franchise holders in Arnotts and Brown Thomas who believed the proposals could jeopardise their jobs.