Cars ban for central Dublin streets
Cars will be banned from key streets in Dublin city centre in a rad ical new transport plan to make the capital more cycle and pedestrian friendly.
Some 150 million euro is to be spent over the next eight years on shutting areas such as College Green, Westmoreland Street, Suffolk Street and Bachelors Walk to motorists.
The ideas have been drawn up to cope with the expected 42,000 extra morning car journeys into the city by 2023 and at the same time take advantage of t he Luas Cross City project.
The most significant proposals include permanently shutting College Green to cars, vans and taxis in order to create a plaza and civic space that serves tram passengers, buses, cyclists and pedestrians passing the front of Trinity.
The city centre bottleneck of Bachelors Walk is also being tackled with plans to turn it into a car free zone for buses, taxis, cyclists and pedestrians and replicating the same plan with one of Aston, Burgh or George's quays on the southern side of the Liffey.
The plan from Dublin City Council and the National Transport Authority said the aim was to re-route general through-traffic away from the city's central area.
The idea with Westmoreland Street is to turn it into a high-quality pedestrian environment, linking O'Connell Street/Henry Street and the Grafton Street Quarter with wider paths, priority pedestrian crossing onto O'Connell Bridge, the Luas interchange and enhanced cycling facilities.
Parallel to that transport bosses are looking to realign D'Olier Street by building a central median for new bus stops, creating segregated cycle lanes and making access to the Dart at Tara Street easier.
The Luas Cross City project is also being taken advantage of to pedestrianise Suffolk Street and create a new civic space on St Stephen's Green between the Dawson Street and Grafton Street junctions.
Outside the city centre, plans are also being put forward to improve transport around Connolly, Busaras and Heuston stations, imaginative coach parking and taxi rank ideas and the building of three new Dockland bridges, including one linking Thorncastle Road in Ringsend to Sir John Rogerson's Quay.
The ideas have been released to allow for public consultation and give interested parties their say until mid-July.
Owen Keegan, Dublin City Council chief executive, said the plan was drawn up because the expected growth in commuter traffic over the next decade cannot be met by allowing more cars into the city.
"The city centre can only continue to function effectively if we offer those working and living in Dublin, as well as visitors, more choices in how they access and move around the capital," he said.
"The proposals would also provide a better living and working environment for business, residents and visitors."
Anne Graham, National Transport Authority chief executive, said: "Facing up to what's needed, and taking some hard decisions now, will pay dividends for the city, and for the country as a whole, in the future.
"The plans set out in the study will deliver a modern, functioning capital city, which addresses the requirements of its citizens, and of which we will all be very proud. "
Michael Phillips, Dublin City Council's director of traffic, said: "The changes proposed in the Dublin City Centre Transport Study would affect everybody with an interest in Dublin. That's why we want to hear people's views and opinions."