Monday 24 October 2016

Council planning to shut down streets so that children can play

Councillor Deirdre Heney
Councillor Deirdre Heney

Dublin City Council is set to close off roads in the capital to allow children to "reclaim their neighbourhood" and enable communities to socialise.

The "play orders" scheme could see temporary road closures being put in place in selected areas around the city so children can play near their homes safely.

The roads would be either fully or partially closed for a number of hours, with this occurring "every month or two".

The idea was originally put forward by Councillor Deirdre Heney (FF) in February 2013 and would mirror a similar project that has worked successfully in parts of the UK.

The initiative has now progressed to the pilot stage, with Clancarthy Road in Donnycarney chosen as the location for the trial.

No exact start date has been given as Dublin City Council is still in the process of drawing up the plans.

Cllr Heney believes the scheme would encourage more children to play outdoors, as opposed to spending hours in front of television sets, playing video games or using other forms of technology.

"The idea of these play orders is to give city neighbourhoods a couple of hours every month or two to get out of their homes, meet their neighbours and allow their children play," Cllr Heney said.

"The street, or a portion of it, would be closed to traffic for a couple of hours, creating a safe environment that would bring together the local community," she explained.

Cllr Heney highlighted how the project had worked "extremely" well in Bristol and how it helped encourage children "who were otherwise stuck indoors out playing on their streets in safety".

The Dublin Bay North constituent also feels a sense of community needs to be reintroduced into neighbourhoods around the city and hopes the play orders scheme will help.


"It's an unfortunate reality of city life that it's no longer safe for children to go out to play on the street.

"People don't get to know their neighbours the way they used to, and many feel they are missing out on that sense of community that used to be so strong in city neighbourhoods," Cllr Heney said.

"All too often, those living in busy city suburbs go about our daily lives without getting to know our neighbours.

"All of us would benefit from greater interaction with those who live beside use," she continued.

"I am hopeful that creating play-friendly streets will provide us with an opportunity to do just that."

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