Radical plans to transform the movement of traffic in Dublin city centre – including a designated "orbital route" to cater for through-traffic – have been drawn up by the National Transport Authority (NTA).
The plans envisage pedestrianising Suffolk Street and Church Lane, turning the southern half of College Green into a public plaza, making D'Olier Street and Beresford Place two-way and removing "general car traffic" from Westmoreland Street.
Other measures include reconfiguring Christchurch Place as a “pedestrian-friendly space” with just one lane of traffic in each direction, turning Westland Row into a “public transport-only corridor” and redesigning both Kelly’s Corner and Leonard’s Corner.
The NTA's draft City Centre Transport Assessment Study, which has been seen by The Irish Times, also proposes a city-centre cycle network, giving cyclists "defined routes . . . to traverse and access the city centre with minimal conflict with other road users".
The study, dated June 2013, reflects work by the NTA in consultation with Dublin City Council to "move away from incremental traffic changes towards a strategic plan that will be the basis for future decisions".
Priority to pedestrians
It is based on a number of assumptions, including the need to “actively discourage” through-traffic in the city centre, give greater priority to pedestrians and improve interchange between public transport services.
New traffic signal timings would be introduced so pedestrians have to wait no more than 45 seconds to cross a busy street. Bus routes would also be reconfigured to reduce “layover time” in the city centre and improve their efficiency.
The NTA is also considering the potential of two cross-city bus rapid transit routes linking Blanchardstown with UCD Belfield and Clongriffin with Tallaght.
According to the study, “there is a clear rationale to try and provide for the movement of vehicular traffic away from the central areas by providing an orbital route , with 15 “gateways” providing access.
The proposed orbital route would follow the North Circular Road and South Circular Road, linked on the east by the Samuel Beckett Bridge in Docklands and, on the west, by Clanbrassil Street, Patrick Street, High Street and Church Street.