New restrictions planned for Dublin traffic

Dublin Corporation is to impose another round of restrictions in the city centre, including bans designed to reduce the volume…

Dublin Corporation is to impose another round of restrictions in the city centre, including bans designed to reduce the volume of southbound traffic on O'Connell Street.

Other major changes, announced yesterday by the Director of Traffic, Mr Owen Keegan, include closing the link between Pearse Street and College Street to all traffic except buses, taxis, bicycles and motorbikes.

In future, all other traffic will be required to turn right from Pearse Street into Tara Street.

"The corporation is confident that this measure will improve traffic flow on Pearse Street during the busy evening peak period," Mr Keegan said.

The corporation also proposes to declare a series of routes within the canal ring as 12-hour clearways, operating from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with a narrow "window" (10 a.m. to noon) to facilitate deliveries to commercial premises.

Bus or cycle lanes will continue in force on some of the selected routes, meaning that businesses will only be able to avail of dedicated on-street loading bays or, alternatively, arrange to have deliveries carried out between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. An extended network of city centre cycle lanes also forms part of the plan to provide "safer and more direct routes" for cycling commuters and for those travelling to or from major transport interchanges at Connolly and Heuston stations.

With northbound traffic on O'Connell Street already reduced by banning turns from Dawson Street into Nassau Street and South Great George's Street into Dame Street, the latest plan aims to do the same for southbound traffic.

No traffic other than buses, taxis, bicycles and motorbikes will be permitted to turn left from Dorset Street into North Frederick Street.

Traffic exiting from Blessington Street will also have to turn left or right at Dorset Street.

Buses using a new bus lane on Blessington Street will be able to travel straight ahead to North Frederick Street and onwards to O'Connell Street, via another bus lane on Parnell Square East. This will improve journey times by 10 minutes.

The flow of other traffic on North Frederick Street is to be reversed, from north-south to south-north, and will only be permitted to turn left into Dorset Street.

But motorists will be able to turn into North Frederick Street from Parnell Square.

The Parnell Monument traffic island is to be extended to restrict access to O'Connell Street to two lanes - both for buses only. Other traffic, including delivery vehicles, will continue to have access to O'Connell Street via Cathal Brugha Street.

Parnell Street heading north-east will, in effect, be bus only, according to the corporation's plan.

However, in order to facilitate access to the ILAC shopping centre, it proposes to lift the right-turn ban from Dominick Street into Parnell Street West .

The effect of all the measures will be to eliminate all general traffic entering O'Connell Street from North Frederick Street, thereby reducing the volume of cars on the city's main thoroughfare by more than half, or about 400 vehicles per hour.

Traffic volumes in and around College Green will be consequentially reduced, allowing increased priority to pedestrians at crossings in the area. This is also one of the main aims of closing the link between Pearse Street and College Street.

Mr Brendan O'Brien, development officer in the corporation's traffic division, said it was necessary to reduce traffic volumes in O'Connell Street to facilitate its renewal - including construction, now started, of the Monument of Light (aka "The Spike") .

Unless measures were taken to redirect traffic, he warned that there would be a tailback extending two kilometres from O'Connell Bridge in the morning peak period. Six alternative routes are to be signposted to cater for "displaced traffic".

Mr O'Brien conceded there was "still a problem of non-compliance" with the turning bans at Dawson Street and South Great George's Street and said cameras would be installed at these locations to augment the Garda enforcement effort.

The corporation is providing for a "short period" of public consultation on the latest traffic management plans before proceeding to finalise and implement them by the end of this year, or early in 2002 in the case of changes to commercial deliveries in the city.