Thursday 27 October 2016

Cars and taxis face being banned from large parts of Dublin city centre

Cars and taxis face being banned from large parts of Dublin city centre under plans to make the city more attractive to walkers, cyclists and public transport users.

Dublin City Council and the National Transport Authority have unveiled proposals for an ambitious re-drawing of the city which will encourage use of public transport, cycling and walking.

And it also envisages relocating some city centre car parks to a new multi-storey facility at Heuston Station, and actively discouraging cars from entering unless they have business in the central core.

The proposals include a complete ban on cars and taxis from College Green, which will become a public plaza served by Luas, bus, a cycleway and wide pedestrian streets.

Private cars will be banned from Bachelor’s Walk and another location on the southside of the River Liffey, most likely George’s Quay, while Suffolk Street and St Stephen’s Green North will be pedestrianised.

In addition, footpaths will be widened on Westmoreland Street, and a central median constructed on D’Olier Street to provide more bus stops.

Other key proposals include:

· A reduction in the number of car parking spaces, and relocation of city centre car parks, with existing buildings converted as bike storage or to taxi holding areas, replacing some ranks.

· Closure of the Luas stop at Connolly Station, and construction of a walkway linking the station with Busaras where a commuter bus terminus would be created.

·  Cars using the city centre as a through route will be diverted onto alternative routes, avoiding the central area. These changes will be flagged from the M50 motorway.

· Traffic coming from the west of Ireland to be diverted to Parkgate Street, and encouraged to use the car park at Heuston Station.

· Introduction of key public transport hubs for train, bus, Luas, taxi and Dublinbikes at Amiens Street/Store Street; Westmoreland Street/D’Olier Street and Heuston Station.

· Increase in the number of DARTs at peak times, and opening of the Phoenix Park railway tunnel by the end of 2016, allowing Kildare commuters to travel to Connolly station.

· Additional buses, and more priority at traffic junctions. Introduction of Bus Rapid Transit, or high-speed high-capacity buses from the suburbs to the city centre.

· Bus routes will no longer terminate in the city centre, and there will be no dwell times.

The plan, which runs until 2023, envisages €150m being spent on a range of sustainable transport projects including bus infrastructure, road resurfacing, cycling and walking schemes and continued roll-out of Real Time Passenger Information systems.

Some works, such as the upgrade of College Green, are already largely funded under the Luas Cross-City scheme, due for completion in 2017.

The Dublin City Transport Study, prepared by Dublin City Council and the National Transport Authority, says that during the boom, the city’s public transport network and urban environment were under “severe pressure” as a result of the numbers of people in the city centre.

Congestion is again becoming a feature of daily life, but by 2023 as many as 234,000 people are expected to enter and leave the city centre during the morning and evening peaks every day– up 42,000 on today, or 20pc – meaning the city could grind to a halt unless car use is discouraged.

In addition, the new Luas line will result in less space and time being available for motorised traffic.

If implemented, the plans will improve the walking and cycling environment in the city; provide better public transport and improve air quality and reduce noise.

A period of public consultation on the study will run from tomorrow, June 11, until July 16 next.

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