Transport Authority rows back on Liffey quays car ban

Business pressure enables motorists to stay on Bachelor’s Walk and George’s Quay

College Green: Draft transport study included banning cars from this area. Photograph: The Irish Times

College Green: Draft transport study included banning cars from this area. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

The National Transport Authority (NTA) and Dublin City Council have rowed back on plans to ban cars from parts of the Liffey quays in Dublin city centre, following pressure from retailers and car park operators.

The draft Dublin City Centre Transport Study, published last June proposed widespread traffic restrictions in the city centre including banning cars from College Green, Bachelor’s Walk and George’s Quay, effectively blocking motorists from travelling north on O’Connell Street.

However, the final report, seen by The Irish Times, allows cars to stay on both the north and south quays and reinstates a (proposed banned) left turn from Bachelor’s Walk on to O’Connell Street.

The draft study was made available for public consultation between June and August last year and almost 8,000 submissions were received, which the council and the NTA said showed a “high level of support” for many of the proposals. However, prominent business interests in the city felt the study was “anti-car”, and argued against the restrictions on private motorists and their access to city centre car parks.

The final report, to be presented to city councillors on Wednesday, states that as a result of the submissions, meetings were held with car park operators and retailers and “various revisions to the original study” were made to address their concerns.

Dublin traffic plans

“Some of the key changes to the study include the retention of left turning only private car traffic on Bachelor’s Walk to facilitate access to O’Connell Street northbound, including Arnott’s car park.”

Bus lanes

There would also be “ additional bus lanes on the South Quays, but no bus only sections” the report states.

Cars travelling on the north quays will however have to turn left and will not be permitted to continue straight onto Eden Quay, which would become a public transport only route.

The study also incorporates plans, published in recent months, for the pedestrian and cycle plaza at College Green. At the time of publication of the draft study, cars were to be banned from the area but buses were to be permitted to cross College Green to get to and from Dame Street.

The new plaza will sever this access. Buses, and taxis, but not private cars will instead be able to run along the same route as the new Luas tracks, north and south in front of Trinity College, and could use this route to access Nassau Street heading south, and Westmoreland Street heading north.

Other changes include banning cars from Parliament Street, although there will be limited access for deliveries, and installing a two-way bus lane on Parliament Street and on Capel Street Bridge, both currently one way southbound streets.

Winetavern Street, currently one-way northbound, would have a new southbound contra-flow bus lane. To improve safety for pedestrians crossing Aston Quay near O’Connell Bridge, buses will be banned from turning left from Westmoreland Street.

The changes are required to ensure the smooth operation of the new Luas Cross City which is due to start running from St Stephen’s Green to Broombridge in Cabra from September 2017.