Traders concerned over traffic limits due to Luas works

Main construction of cross-city line set to intensify in coming months as tracks laid

Concern is mounting among Dublin businesses over increasing restrictions on cars in the city centre.

The main construction works for the Luas cross city line began in O’Connell Street on Tuesday and are set to intensify across the city over the coming months as tracks are laid along the route from St Stephen’s Green to Cabra.

The €368 million line will connect the existing Green Line, which terminates at St Stephen’s Green, with the Red Line at O’Connell Street, before continuing north to the new DIT campus at Grangegorman, then on to Phibsborough and Cabra, where it will terminate at the Iarnród Éireann station at Broombridge. It is due for completion in September 2017.

From next Monday cars will be banned from travelling north through College Green from 7am to 7pm. However the permanent closure of College Green to private cars is proposed under the Dublin City Centre Transport Study, which closes to public submissions this Friday.



Speaking at the opening of the works on O’Connell Street, Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe said the construction would result in “ inconvenience and difficulty to commuters”. However the new line would “radically improve the level of public transport we have in our city” and “take 10 million people out of their cars”, he said. “We are going to take every step possible to ensure the levels of disruption are minimised.”

City traders have said that, while they accept disruption will be inevitable, car users, in particular shoppers, must not be forced out of the city.

"Our members understand this is a major infrastructure programme and there will be a benefit out of it, but it is extremely difficult and very, very disruptive," said David Brennan chief executive of the Dublin City Business Association.

“The most important thing is that there is communication, not just with businesses, but with the public so people know the town is open for business, to everyone, including those who want and need to use their cars.”

The association was particularly concerned about plans to ban cars in College Green, he said. “The plan does not seem to pay enough cognisance to the economic importance of shoppers coming in in cars. Yes, commuter cars need to be taken out of the city, but the city needs consumer or shopper cars to survive. Retail is very slowly coming back and we can’t afford to jeopardise that now.” Dublin Chamber of Commerce was concerned about integration between the Dublin transport study and the Luas works.

Domino effect

“We are concerned that any changes would be phased correctly. The Luas works will have a domino effect and there isn’t any information on phasing in the current transport study,” spokesman Graeme McQueen said.

Communication would be vital to keeping the city moving he said. “Drivers need to know what changes to expect in the city from quite far out. The information needs to be flagged early.”

Several cars parks in the city will have their access routes restricted by the traffic changes. Keith Gavin, chairman of the Irish Parking Association, said, “This does not just affect the car parks but the adjacent businesses, and no distinction seems to be made between the commuter and the shopper.”

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times