Thursday 27 October 2016

Public welcomes car plan, but business fears remain

Ciaran Cuffe
Ciaran Cuffe

PLANS which could see cars banned from areas of Dublin's city centre, have still not been finalised following extensive public consultation.

Almost 7,779 submissions were made to Dublin City Council on the controversial transport study.

The main changes proposed include closing College Green to all cars and closing Bachelor's Walk between Jervis Street and O'Connell Street to private cars, and at either Aston, Burgh or George's Quay.

Only public transport would be able to access Westmoreland Street and D'Olier Street.

The Luas cross city line, currently under construction, is also causing substantial change to the city centre.

College Green will be transformed into a public plaza.

A representative of the National Transport Authority (NTA) said that the fountain on Dame Street would need to be moved to allow for the realignment of the busy street.


Independent councillor Mannix Flynn said that he would be "very concerned" if the public art in the area was decommissioned to make room for the new traffic alignment.

The majority of the submissions to the council welcomed the move by authorities to make the city more commuter-friendly and promote cycling and walking in the city centre.

However, concerns were raised by some in the retail and hospitality sector.

Their reaction "has been to voice a considerable and grave concern" that reducing the number of private cars in the city centre could lead to a reduction of 17-23pc in economic activity. In a report presented to councillors they express fear this will lead to job losses.

Another common thread in the consultation was a warning that the city is under-serviced by public transport.

"Other comments raised include the need for an underground system," the report noted.

Issues around the access of the elderly or the mobility-impaired to the city centre were also raised.

Further consultation is due to be carried out with key groups before elements of the plan are decided on.

"We are going to have Luas in a testing phase within 24 months so we do have to have quite a quick time-frame," chair of the council's transport committee Green Party councillor Ciaran Cuffe said.

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