Chief executive officer of retailer Arnotts and chairman of the Dublin Town business association, Ray Hernan, has rallied businesses against the city centre Transport Study, which he claims will have a very serious impact on cars use, “thereby on all businesses in the city centre.”
Dublin City Council said that the draft plan is designed to keep the city moving. It includes making sections of the quays only accessible to public transport, cycling and pedestrian only. Private cars are also to be excluded from College Green on a permitted bases, but this is understood to be required for the running of Luas Cross City, an extension of the green tram line.
Pedestrianisation of Suffolk Street (artist’s impression pictured above) and a section of St Stephen’s Green North is also planned. The study is heavily linked to Luas Cross City works as well as planned BRT between Dublin city centre and Swords.
Public consultation of the transport study was recently extended — the deadline for submission is now August 7 at 5pm. Feeback can be given via dublincity.ie/transportstudy or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the head of Arnotts, Hernan also chairs the Dublin Town body, previously known as the Dublin City Business Improvement District. In an email sent to businesses which have to pay extra rates for Dublin Town, Hernan said: “You may be aware that Dublin City Council and the NTA have published a Transport Study, which if implemented as currently proposed, will have a very serious impact on access for private car users to the city centre, and thereby on all businesses in the city centre.”
Before joining Arnotts in 2010, Hernan was chief financial officer of Brown Thomas, a company which has a history of predicting the death of city centre retailers over transport projects.
In the email titled “Urgent attention – Transport Study”, Hernan added: “While they claim that the focus is to reduce congestion at ‘rush hour’ the study does not differentiate between commuter traffic at peak times vs off peak consumer/customer traffic.”
“The over-arching objective of improving ‘accessibility and permeability’ and ‘improving confidence in the ability of the city centre to be the key focus of future investment’ is to commended; however their proposed plan to achieve this goal is, in my view, extremely blunt and has the potential to significantly impact your business irrespective of whether you are in the commercial, professional, hospitality or retail sector,” added Hernan
He said that Dublin Town and other business groups will be making submissions however it is imperative that as many individual businesses as possible make their views known by making a direct submission or simply note that you have read the Dublin Town submission and you are supportive of it,
Hernan said: “As part of our submission we will be insisting that robust consumer research is completed and a detailed business impact study is published before any transport plans are implemented. I would encourage you to urgently review the Study If you have not already done so.”