The creation of a new pedestrian plaza for Dublin beside the Ha'penny Bridge on Liffey Street, has been approved by city councillors, despite objections from car park owners.
The council earlier this year decided to draw up plans for a new plaza on the northside of the city following the refusal by An Bord Pleanála of the College Green plaza.
A planned water feature incorporating a line of water jets, or mini fountains, has been scrapped after the council determined it would be “visually incongruous” and “impeding to the movement of pedestrians”.
The council will not submit the plans for the Liffey Street plaza to the planning board and will instead use its own planning powers.
The board last year refused permission for the College Green scheme, which would have banned all traffic, including buses and taxis, from accessing Dame Street through College Green.
Liffey Street will be closed to traffic between Strand Street and the quays. The remainder of Liffey Street Lower and all of Liffey Street Upper, which runs from Abbey Street to Henry Street, will be upgraded to create a more “pedestrian-friendly” environment, with benches, bicycle stands and trees.
Traffic on Abbey Street, including cars exiting the Arnotts car park, would no longer be able to access the quays via Liffey Street Lower, but would instead have to turn right into Strand Street and continue to Capel Street to reach the quayside at Grattan Bridge, resulting in a detour of more than half a kilometre to reach Bachelors Walk. Deliveries would be allowed between 5.30am and 11am.
A report from the council found the north/south route across the Ha’penny Bridge had one of the “busiest pedestrian flows in the city” and it noted that up to 35,000 pedestrians used Liffey Street daily compared to 1,000 cars.
In a submission to the council, planning consultants representing the Dublin City Traders’ Alliance, originally established to oppose the plans for College Green, said the development “would result in a significant impact upon traffic movement in the city”.
It said a traffic study was required for the entire city, as the development would have citywide impacts. The alliance which represents a number of city businesses, including car park owners, had called for the plans to be submitted to An Bord Pleanála.
Representatives of Arnotts department store said the projects would result in the customers of the Arnotts car park being rerouted from Liffey St Lower to other side streets, would increase traffic delays, and could increase potential for conflicts between pedestrians and delivery vehicles.
Representatives of the Ilac centre said the proposed development would increase traffic congestion in the area and cause greater delays for delivery vehicles.
Several local businesses made submissions in support of the plaza plans. Councillors unanimously approved the plans. Work on developing the plaza is due to get underway in the coming months.