Motorists and bus passengers will face major changes to their daily commute to Dublin city centre, following the creation of the pedestrian and cycle plaza at College Green.
The new civic space, which will prohibit all traffic from crossing College Green to and from Dame Street, is expected to be in place by June of next year ahead of the beginning of operations of the Luas Cross City line the following September.
The plans, which will see changes and diversions to between 30 and 40 bus routes, and a ban on cars in certain streets, are available for public consultation from now until May 24th at dublincity.ie.
The council last November unveiled plans for the redesign of College Green, which included the pedestrianisation of the northbound traffic lane in front of the 18th century Bank of Ireland building opposite a two-way bus lane on what is now the south-bound traffic lane heading to Dame Street.
However, problems emerged with the design in relation to cyclists’ safety and and conflicts with buses and cyclists crossing the Luas line to access Dame Street from the northside.
The council’s proposed solution is to extend the plaza, which would be reserved for pedestrians and cyclists, to the full width of the road, stopping all traffic travelling from Dame Street through College Green to Westmoreland Street, and travelling in the opposite direction, from D’Olier Street to Dame Street.
Buses would run along the same route as the new Luas tracks, north and south in front of Trinity College, and could use this route to access Nassau Street heading south, and Westmoreland Street heading north. On a trial basis, taxis would also be allowed to use the tram line route in front of Trinity.
No buses and taxis
However, buses and taxis would not be permitted to cross the plaza into Dame Street. Most buses currently using Dame Street to cross the city would be diverted onto other routes, while buses which continued to use Dame Street would turn around before College green, in a new U-turn lane.
Cars travelling north on Dame Street will have to turn right onto Church Lane, where the current traffic flow will be reversed to allow traffic to loop back to head south on Dame Street.
Cars will be banned from Parliament Street, although there will be limited access for deliveries, but buses will be able to travel in both directions on Parliament Street and on Capel Street Bridge, both currently one way southbound streets. Cars will be allowed turn right from Dame Street to George’s Street and cars and buses will be banned form Suffolk Street.
The changes are a "bold step" which will transform the city centre, the council's acting director of traffic Declan Wallace said. "We are showing leadership here. It's a bold step, and there's a danger we might all end up on the bold step."
Some 150 buses an hour currently travel through College Green. Dublin Bus head of operations Donal Keating said there were "pluses and minuses" for the service.
“If someone had said years ago there won’t be buses going east-west through College Green, an eyebrow would have been raised,” he said. Given the complexity of what has to be done here, I can see why this option was chosen.”