herald

Thursday 18 October 2018

Traffic ban considered to make room for longer Luas trams

Luas
Luas

Diverting current traffic from College Green will be among a number of options considered in order to ensure the new, longer Luas trams can run smoothly - but there will be no delay to their introduction.

The NTA has said it is working with Dublin City Council (DCC) to come up with a plan before the 55-metre Luas Cross City trams are put into operation by the end of February.

Making adjustments to the current traffic management system is one option being looked at, along with potentially "moving traffic in a different direction", according to an NTA spokesman.

He said that alterations around traffic signalling will also be looked at - but both the NTA and Luas operators Transdev have insisted that demand means that there will be no delays to the introduction of the longer trams.

"There's absolutely no question about that going ahead [on time]. It is badly needed," the spokesman said.

Seven new 55-metre trams are due to be put in place in late February or early March.

Error

A transport source told the Herald that new traffic plans were necessary, irrespective of the length of the trams.

"There's too many forms of movement and traffic interaction in one area, that's why DCC have applied to An Bord Pleanala for a plaza at College Green," the source said.

An oral hearing into DCC's proposal for a College Green Plaza was delayed due to an EU directive error. A newspaper advert in November only gave notice of a 21-day public consultation period, nine days less than the minimum.

It is now expected the hearing will take place in mid-February.

The council sees the plaza as a necessity to ensure the Luas runs smoothly across the city.

On Thursday, DCC chief executive Owen Keegan said the council will have to review the current traffic plan to allay any further issues.

Speaking to the Herald, he added that only banning cars and buses from the area would alleviate the situation.

"We've had to intervene to keep it [Luas] operating. It has settled but there are a series of interventions needed to keep it rolling on," he said.

"Pedestrian priority has been curtailed, and it's taking longer to cross. [Waiting times] could have doubled. It's gone up substantially.

"We're very confident that trying to maintain east-west traffic on College Green is not sustainable. We're going to need to give that back to pedestrians."

Mr Keegan said there was not sufficient road space to cater for all modes of transport through College Green, and that buses and cars would have to be removed to allow the Luas to run.

He added that more frequent services and the longer trams would present additional problems.

A DCC spokesman said that no decision on possible changes in traffic management had yet been made.

"It is too early to say what, if any, measures will have to be taken," the spokesman said.

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