Dublin traffic: New restrictions on cars in city centre in force
Cars banned from turning right from Bachelors Walk and lose lanes to buses
Major Dublin city traffic changes, which see permanent restrictions on private cars using the Liffey quays to accommodate the new Luas Cross City line, came into force on Sunday but are facing their first real test on Monday
Cars are banned from turning right from Bachelors Walk onto O’Connell Bridge, and general traffic will be reduced to one lane from Ormond Quay to Eden Quay on the northside and from Burgh Quay to Essex Quay on the south side, to create additional bus lanes.
The change was introduced on Sunday to coincide with the Ironman 70.3 competition which will saw many roada around the city closed for a time.
The ban on cars turning right from the north quays onto O’Connell Bridge has been introduced to minimise the potential conflicts between cars and the new Luas trams as they travel north across the Liffey onto O’Connell Street.
Dublin City Council had previously planned to ban cars on Bachelors Walk from driving straight ahead onto Eden Quay, which would have eliminated the possibility of cars coming into contact with trams or blocking the Luas tracks, but scrapped the plan last April following pressure from some city businesses.
As a result, motorists will be able to access Eden Quay, but with only one traffic lane open to them, and will be able to turn left onto O’Connell Street. The right-hand turn onto the bridge will be reserved for buses, taxis and bicycles, and cars will be held back by new traffic signals on Bachelors Walk to allow buses to move into the right lane to take the turn.
The reduction of car lanes on the north and south quays will give more space to buses and reduce the delays currently experienced by bus passengers on the quays, the council said.
“The additional bus lanes will alleviate the difficulties faced by public transport on the quays, where the worst delays for buses in the city are experienced,” Brendan O’Brien of the council’s traffic department said.
“At the peak morning time of 8am to 9am, over 7,000 people travel along the north quays on buses. This compares to around 500 cars and the same number of cyclists.”
He added that just 150 motorists an hour currently take the right turn from Bachelors Walk onto O’Connell Bridge at peak times.
While testing of trams on the Luas Cross City line has been ongoing at night during the summer, the first daytime tests are due to take place on the line, which runs from St Stephen’s Green to Cabra, this Friday between 10am and 4pm.
However, from September 11th empty trams will run on the line through the city centre every half-hour as part of the driver-training programme, ahead of the start of operations of the service in December.
The new Luas trams are approximately 10m longer than existing trams, and could block the south quays if motorists obstruct the junction at O’Connell Bridge on their way to Eden Quay. Plans to close Eden Quay could be reinstated if this happens, Mr O’Brien said.
“The attraction of closing Eden Quay to general traffic was that it was a cleaner, less messy solution, but we will be keeping the general traffic lane on Eden Quay under review. It will be slower, so we are hoping that motorists will be deterred from using it unless necessary.”
Motorists who need to cross the quays from north to south have several options, Mr O’Brien said, including Watling Street Bridge, Fr Mathew Bridge at Church Street, Talbot Memorial Bridge and Samuel Beckett Bridge.