herald

Thursday 20 September 2018

Fears ban on buses and taxis at College Green 'on the way'

An artist’s impression of how College Green would look after it is pedestrianised with a plaza
An artist’s impression of how College Green would look after it is pedestrianised with a plaza

New traffic restrictions that could potentially ban buses and taxis from the College Green area are due to be announced in the next two to three weeks, Dublin City Council (DCC) has said.

DCC chief executive Owen Keegan plans to meet representatives of Dublin Bus and taxi drivers to get agreement on measures, but indicated changes will be made either way.

Mr Keegan told councillors there will also be meetings held with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and the National Transport Authority (NTA) in the coming weeks.

Agreement

"We are meeting with Dublin Bus, we'll be meeting with TII, we'll be meeting with the NTA. I know we're intending on meeting with the Lord Mayor with taxi drivers," he said.

"We're going to try and see if we can get an agreement on a set of measures.

"Well, as far as we can get agreement."

Mr Keegan pointed out that it is taking twice as long as before to cross the street following the introduction of Luas Cross City, and added that this could worsen as the frequency of trams is increased and longer trams are introduced.

"It will take you twice as long to cross at Grafton Street, and that is something we don't think is sustainable," Mr Keegan said.

"It's bad enough in the winter where there's very few pedestrians, but in the spring and summer, to have that number of people waiting twice as long is not acceptable."

Mr Keegan added that if the council does nothing, the "system will grind to a halt" and the current situation is "unsustainable".

Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan, who is planning traffic restrictions
Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan, who is planning traffic restrictions

He said that the new measures are irrelevant to the impending An Bord Pleanala decision on the creation of a civic plaza at College Green.

An administrative error has led to a delay to an oral hearing on the plaza.

"Additional measures are required," he said. "We're meeting with all the relevant players to see if we can agree a set of measures to ensure that the city centre traffic works for everybody, pending the final decision on the plaza."

On Monday night, councillors voted overwhelmingly in favour of the city manager making appropriate traffic management changes, following a motion by Green Party representative Ciaran Cuffe.

An earlier motion to keep the status quo on traffic management until after An Bord Pleanala makes its decision on the plaza was defeated.

Mr Keegan has the authority to make changes without council backing.

It is expected that the oral hearing on the College Green plaza will be heard in mid-February.

The hearing is not anticipated to last longer than a week.

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