Dublin and Covid-19: Car restrictions, more space for bikes, bus restrictions in the offing

City council, NTA want centre to be 'pedestrian, cyclist, public transport priority zone'

Bus-users are likely to see the biggest change, with buses diverted away from College Green.

Bus-users are likely to see the biggest change, with buses diverted away from College Green.

 

Large-scale bus diversions, restrictions on cars and a widespread reallocation of road space to pedestrians and cyclists are planned under a new Covid-19 strategy for Dublin city centre.

A joint National Transport Authority (NTA) and Dublin City Council Covid-19 “mobility intervention programme” seeks to turn the heart of Dublin city from St Stephen’s Green to Mountjoy Square, and the Custom House to Stoneybatter into a “pedestrian, cyclist, public transport priority zone”.

However, this will necessitate significant changes to the bus network, as well as the opening of off-street car parks on the outskirts of the city.

Once activity returns to the city, bicycle-use is expected to triple and walking to double.

Car-use is expected to fall by 30 per cent, but public transport is due to take a far bigger hit, with usage down by 80 per cent, largely due to social distancing requirements.

Interim Mobility InterventionProgramme for Dublin City

The mobility programme identifies 14 key routes into the city centre where significant traffic changes will be implemented, in addition to the creation of the city centre priority zone.

On all routes more space will be given to cyclists and pedestrians. In many cases this will involve the removal of on-street parking and reduction of the number of traffic lanes. In some cases it may involve “car-free” areas and the use of “bus gates” in places such as the Rathmines Road.

Alternatives

The report concedes “more people will wish to travel by car”. However, it said while city centre car parks could remain open, alternatives to driving directly into the “core” were needed. This could include the establishment of car parks on the periphery from where people could walk or cycle.

In some cases streets could be car-free if businesses on the street were to request it to use the space for queueing and tables.

Bus-users are likely to see the biggest change, with buses diverted away from College Green.

Bus stops will also be distributed over a wider area, with some “removed completely” if social distancing cannot be achieved.

“It is likely that passengers will be required, in some instances, to walk further to bus stops to ensure a safer spread of bus loading /unloading.”

The “emphasis is on rapid and temporary types of intervention”, with additions and adjustments expected over the coming months as measures are implemented.