Major traffic restrictions are set to be enforced in Dublin’s College Green following An Bord Pleanála’s decision to cancel next week’s hearing on the €10 million plaza project.
The restrictions, which could include a possible ban on buses using the Luas Cross City line, would likely cause major disruption.
An Bord Pleanála had been due to hold a public hearing next Tuesday on Dublin City Council's plans for the plaza, which would see all traffic, including buses and taxis, banned from accessing Dame Street through College Green.
However, the board notified parties on Thursday morning that the hearing would not proceed and it does not yet know when it will be rescheduled.
City council chief executive Owen Keegan said the city cannot wait for an indefinite period for a new hearing date and the traffic turmoil in College Green must be addressed.
“A decision on the College Green plaza with its associated traffic measures is critical to the smooth movement of people and traffic throughout the core city centre,” he said.
Mr Keegan said the introduction of the new Luas in December “in advance of the elimination of east/west traffic on College Green” had necessitated various traffic management measures, including a significant reduction in pedestrian priority at key city-centre junctions.
Pedestrians are currently waiting up to three times as long as previously to cross the road at College Green and surrounding junctions. New longer Luas trams operating at an increased frequency will also be travelling through College Green by the end of March, and will require a high level of priority to achieve their journey times.
Mr Keegan said pedestrian and Luas priority could not now be assured given the current levels of vehicular traffic in College Green.
“This is clearly not sustainable. In light of the now-delayed oral hearing the council will have to review the interim traffic management arrangements to determine what additional changes are required.”
The council is unlikely to ban buses from travelling to and from Dame Street ahead of the board’s decision, but can within its own traffic management powers, stop them from driving along the line in front of Trinity College to access Nassau Street and Dawson Street. It can also ban taxis and cars entirely from the area.
“We did not want to take precipitative action but the current situation can’t continue,” said Mr Keegan.