Councillors to debate motion against College Green traffic changes
Emergency motion calls for council chief executive Owen Keegan not to restrict traffic
Traffic at College Green. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
A motion seeking to prevent Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan restricting traffic in College Green, ahead of a planning board decision on the €10 million plaza project, will be debated by city councillors on Monday night.
Mr Keegan has warned that traffic changes are urgently needed in College Green following cancellation of the An Bord Pleanála hearing next week on plans for the civic plaza.
The council’s plans for the pedestrian and cycle plaza would see all traffic, including buses and taxis, banned from accessing Dame Street through College Green.
Mr Keegan said the city cannot wait for an indefinite period for a new hearing date and the traffic problem in College Green must be addressed.The restrictions may involve an end to buses using the Luas Cross City line, and could see taxis and cars entirely prohibited from the area.
Independent councillor Nial Ring has put forward an emergency motion calling on Mr Keegan to wait for the board to reschedule the hearing so the council “cannot be accused of pre-empting a decision or overriding the authority and/or the independence of An Bord Pleanála in its deliberations on the application”.
However, Green Party councillor Ciarán Cuffe, who chairs the council’s transport committee, said while he believed Mr Ring’s motion was well-intentioned, it was “at odds” with the proper management of the city’s traffic.
“We can’t stand still. We have to make adjustments now to manage traffic and reflect the traffic conditions in the city.”
Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, said he was “flabbergasted” that Mr Keegan would try to bypass the Bord Pleanála process.
The board had been due to hold the hearing next Tuesday but notified parties on Thursday morning it would not proceed. It does not yet know when it will be rescheduled.
A spokesman for the board said the hearing had to be postponed because of errors in a newspaper notice published, on the board’s instruction, last November, detailing additional information in relation to the impact of the ban on traffic in College Green on the wider city.