herald

Saturday 24 August 2019

Pedestrians give thumbs-up as College Green closed to cars

College Green was closed to traffic yesterday and will be for the next two Sundays
College Green was closed to traffic yesterday and will be for the next two Sundays

College Green was pedestrianised for 12 hours yesterday to test out the idea of a permanent traff-ic ban.

Dublin City Council provided a range of family-friendly events throughout the day.

The street, which was closed to traffic from 7am to 7pm, will also be off-limits to vehicles on the next two Sundays.

Pedestrians who spoke to the Herald were in favour of the traffic ban.

Hostile

New Green Party councillor for the South-West Inner City, Michael Pidgeon, said pedestrianisation of College Green would turn a "hostile space" into an area that families could enjoy.

"This is a space that's bounded by beautiful buildings," he said.

"It's a space that's also bounded on both sides by pedestrian areas in Temple Bar and Grafton Street, but it's a remarkably hostile space.

"It's somewhere I avoid if I'm on my bike because of traffic chaos.

"I'm sure drivers try to avoid it too for the same reason.

"So I think it's about taking what is a beautiful space and making sure that it is for everyone."

Jessica O'Donnell, head of education at the Hugh Lane Gallery, was one of the many people who turned up at yesterday's trial.

She said the beauty of the surroundings could be an inspiration, if only people were allowed the time and space to enjoy College Green.

"We're being inspired by artists like Claude Monet, Walter Osborne, Norah McGuinness and others that moved out of their studio to be inspired by the city, the nature and the world around them," she said.

"It's a lovely thing to try, and I think people seem to be really enjoying it.

"It works very well in a lot of European cities, where even on a monthly basis, streets are closed to traffic."

Mark Cronin, a street artist from Shannon, Co Clare, said that having worked on pedestrianised areas and streets across Ireland, a pedestrian-only College Green would attract more business to the area.

"I think it's a fantastic idea," he said.

"It's perfect for people like me. I need nice flat ground in a pedestrianised area, so it's great for street art and great for the city in general."

However, Dublin taxi driver Paul Keane said his colleagues are not happy with the street being closed.

"It's ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous," he said, pointing out that it is the gateway to the whole southside of the city.

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