A plan to recast the streets and lanes in the Grafton Street area of Dublin by reducing traffic lanes, widening footpaths, removing parking and developing street cafes has been published by the city council.
The Grafton Street Quarter Public Realm Plan will see €14 million invested over three years in upgrading and repaving the largely Georgian and Victorian area from St Stephen's Green to College Green and from South Great George's Street to Kildare Street.
The plan is focused on improving the pedestrian environment and “rebalancing” the use of streets in favour of pedestrians without banning cars.
Work on the project has already started, with the repaving of Grafton Street under way since the beginning of this year. But it is the streets running perpendicular and parallel to Grafton Street which will see the biggest change.
Nine principal project areas have been identified: Grafton Street, Fade Street, Clarendon Street, Duke Street/South Anne Street, Drury Street, South William Street, St Stephen's Green, Johnson Place and St Andrew's Church. The latter two are earmarked for the most dramatic transformation with the creation of new civic spaces.
St Andrew’s Church on the corner of St Andrew Street and Suffolk Street, now deconsecrated and used as a tourist office, is surrounded by railings and its grounds used as a car park. The plan would see the removal of the railings and the development of the grounds as an “urban park” with outdoor restaurant space. St Andrew Street would be repaved and traffic would be restricted.
At the other end of the quarter is Johnson Place where South William Street and the pedestrianised South King Street meet. The area is currently car dominated. It would be repaved and become a civic space with public seating and tree planting as well as outdoor cafe use. Again, while traffic would not be banned, the public plaza would force it to travel slowly.
Pedestrian areas unified
Duke Street and South Anne Street are already half-pedestrianised, but switch to an asphalt surface as they approach Dawson Street. New paving would be used to unify the pedestrian and vehicular parts of the street, again to discourage rather than eliminate traffic.
The area where Grafton Street meets St Stephen’s Green is, apart from the new Cross City Luas, to be a “traffic free” civic space, with plans for a boulevard of public and restaurant seating as far as the top of Dawson Street.
In many areas footpaths will be widened and carriageways narrowed and on-street parking eliminated. The plan also considers covering over certain pedestrian streets including Castle Market, linking the South City Markets Arcade and the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, and South King Street.
The public has until November 15th to make submissions on the plan. The council is also holding a design competition for new bollards and seating for Grafton Street. Details on both are available at gsq.ie.