herald

Saturday 25 November 2017

Fears that new traffic plan for the quays 'will threaten city economy'

Eden Quay is set to be closed
Eden Quay is set to be closed

Major changes to Dublin's traffic flows - including a ban on right-hand turns from Bachelors Walk on to O'Connell Bridge - pose a threat to the economy of the city centre, a lobby group has warned.

The Dublin For All group, which includes the National Convention Centre, car park owners, residents' associations and a number of hotels, said the "economic viability" of the city centre would be "under threat" if the traffic changes went ahead as planned from late summer.

Dublin City Council is proposing introducing new traffic management measures on the north and south quays, which include closing Eden Quay to general traffic, reducing traffic to one lane on the south quays and banning right-hand turns from Bachelors Walk on to O'Connell Bridge.

The measures are proposed to facilitate greater use of public transport in the city, including Luas Cross City, which will have a "major impact" on street and junction capacity.

The council said the measures would also improve facilities for cyclists and pedestrians.

However, the lobby group said the changes would close off routes to hotels, shops and car parks and said a full evaluation, including a study on the impact the change would have on the environment, was needed.

The city council has ruled out the need for an Environmental Impact Assessment.

RESTRICTING

"We believe the planned changes will have a negative impact on the economic viability of the city centre, thus severely restricting car access, which remains the only viable choice for a large number of visitors to the city," said Dublin For All.

"The quays represent a critical means of access to visitors from the west of the country, and the planned changes will severely restrict access to many areas, including the IFSC, Point Village, 3 Arena, Bord Gais Energy Theatre and various hotels, making car journeys to the city centre even more difficult."

It has accused the council of failing to provide "sufficient consultation" and of not addressing its concerns.

It also said the "cumulative effect" of the planned changes needed to be taken into account, and a full Environmental Impact Assessment undertaken to allow for "effective consultation with stakeholders directly impacted by the changes".

Members of the Dublin For All group include CHQ Dublin, the Docklands Business Forum, the Irish Parking Association, Live Nation, the Marker Hotel and Gibson Hotel and various residents' groups.

The Irish Parking Association has raised similar concerns, and the council's plans coincide with proposals to give over large parts of the quays to the Liffey cycle route, further reducing private car traffic in the city.

The city council said it had just completed a public consultation process, and that a report on submissions would be made to the Transportation Strategic Policy Committee at its next meeting on May 3.

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