Dublin's Capel Street will be made almost entirely traffic free within the next four weeks following an "overwhelming" positive response to the scheme, Dublin City Council has said.
Local councillors on Wednesday approved the plans to ban cars from Capel Street for a distance of 400m making it the longest traffic-free street in the city, ahead of Grafton Street and Henry Street.
The pedestrian and cycle-only zone will stretch for most of the length of the street from Parnell Street and Ryder’s Row at its northern end, to Strand Street in the south.
Deliveries will be permitted from 6am-11am daily, after which bollards will prevent entry. All car parking will be removed from the street.
The Luas line crosses the street at Abbey Street and traffic will also be allowed to cross at this point but in an east to west direction only.
The pedestrian zone will end at Strand Street, with the area between Panti Bar and Jack Nealon’s pub to the quays remaining open to traffic.
This will facilitate the new pedestrian plaza on nearby Liffey Street, which the council said required the use of this part of Capel Street for an exit route for traffic from Liffey Street. The council said it would review the operation of traffic on Strand Street in the future to determine if any changes were required.
Unlike Grafton Street and Henry Street, Capel Street will remain open to cyclists, but footpaths will be retained and pedestrians “will have priority” in the roadway, according to the council.
The council last summer implemented trial pedestrianisation measures on Capel Street banning traffic from the street from 6.30pm to 11.30pm at weekends. More than 7,000 submissions were made to a subsequent consultation process, the largest number of submissions the council has ever received to a public consultation. Almost 80 per cent were in favour of pedestrianising Capel Street on a permanent basis with almost 90 per cent seeking some traffic-free measures.
The council held a short consultation last month on its final plan and 1,776 submissions were received – 91 per cent in favour of the new traffic-free proposals.
The council said 53 identical submissions were received from businesses, mainly in the nearby Jervis Shopping Centre which stated: “We object to the 24/7 pedestrianisation proposal for Capel Street as it will have a detrimental effect on our business. We seek a compromised solution that doesn’t threaten our future employment.”
However, the council said there were no proposals for 24/7 pedestrianisation, and deliveries would still be permitted from 6am-11am.