— Planners’ transport report was “quite dated and fails to reflect current transport policy”.
Dublin City Council should consider all options for advancing with a plan for a plaza at College Green, said the chairman of the city’s transport committee and Green Party councillor Ciarán Cuffe.
A report by Dick Brady, the council’s assistant chief executive, has been issued to councillors in recent days and to be discussed at the council’s monthly meeting tomorrow. It outlines three options:
- To seek a Judicial Review in relation to the decision of An Bord Pleanála. An application in this regard must be lodged within 8 weeks of the decision to refuse.
- To lodge a new application to An Bord Pleanála for the Plaza and traffic management measures having regard to the An Bord Pleanála decision.
- To abandon the Plaza proposal at this time and proceed to make the necessary alterations to traffic management arrangements in this area to address the competing transport demands that must be addressed using the Councils own powers as a roads authority.
Cllr Cuffe said: “A car-free College Green is a ‘must-have’ project for Dublin. At this stage we must ask, was An Bord Pleanála’s decision-making process flawed? It is a matter of concern that Daniel O’Connor, the Board’s Inspector on Traffic and Transportation said ‘it appears anomalous to expect that all increases in transportation demand can be dealt without any additional road space provision.’ This view is quite dated and fails to reflect current transport policy.”
He added: “I believe it contradicts the National Transportation Authority’s 2016-2035 Strategy. It seems curious that the Inspector questioned the Council’s traffic modelling on the basis of merely two car trips that he himself had taken. Judicial review must be considered. Let’s see what the lawyers say.”
Cllr Cuffe said that councillors should approve the report and seek the views from the council’s legal advisers. He said: “If we decide not to seek judicial review of the Board’s decision we should go back to the drawing board and undertake pedestrian improvements that don’t require approval from An Bord Pleanála, or submit revised plans.”
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“Ultimately we must provide a quality transport system for all, and if that requires taking space from cars to provide for other road users then so be it. It is time that we gave space back to pedestrians in Dublin City Centre. Wider footpaths help, but a pedestrian plaza at College Green would be a game-changer,” Cllr Cuffe concluded.