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Award for South William Street sparks confusion

A city councillor and members of the public have expressed surprise and even shock at the car dominated and cluttered South William Street in Dublin winning an award for “great street”.

ALSO READ:Is it time for a car-free South William Street?

Last night the Academy of Urbanism — which describes as a group of 200 urbanists from across Europe — tweeted: “Next up – Great Street category #UrbanismAwards @theAoU Finalists are Argyle Street Glasgow; Kirkgate Leeds; South William Street Dublin. And the award goes to…South William Street!”

Dublin City Council thentweeted: “Dublin’s South William Street has won first place in the Academy of Urbanism Awards 2019 for The Great Street Category at an award ceremony in London this evening.”

Councillor Patrick Costello (Green) said: “Why? How? Lots of potential but right now its awful! Tiny footpaths, a mess of cracks and potholes, choked with cars. Now, if it had been pedestrianised that would have been a different story altogether.”

Members of the public were also surprised.

Graeme McQueen said: “South William St winning a “Great Street Award” is fantastic – but it’s also very surprising. It’s probably one of the city’s streets that locals would most love to change.”

Thomas Legge said: “But why? The picture [posted by the council] tells a story of narrow footpaths, needless priority for cars, clutter and shabby materials. Not seen is the usual line of cars queueing for parking. It would be such a great street if closed to all motorised traffic.”

Some people expressed shock at the win. Peter Prendergast said: “This is very weird… the streets footpaths are too narrow, signage boards sticking out all over the place, you can barely walk or cycle on it safely. What sort of self respecting org gives awards to this load of crap SERIOUSLY.”

A number of people ask the council to pedestrianise the street. Kev Kennedy tweeted: “It *is* a great street, but it’d be infinitely better if it were pedestrianized, or at least car-restricted during certain times. Disastrous street for walking along thanks to tiny footpaths preference given to cars.”

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“Please pedestrianise this street!” said @Dublin_Suzy. While David A Karlstrom said: “Please pedestrianise it (and surrounding streets) to make it truly great.”

Gavin Strokes asked: “Clearly based on the replies people have aot questions as to how and why it’s not pedestrianised. I’d have the same questions I mean you can barely walk on the footpaths, and there’s a lot of traffic on it, what exactly did it win an award for”

The majority of local businesses were in favour of a trial pedestrianise, with cycling allowed. When he was Lord Mayor Labour Councillor Andrew Montague also pushes the issue but council officials rejected it and instead have planned for a future shared surface but with no restrictions on the high level of cars.

IMAGE: An empty South William Street early in the morning pictured on Google Street View shows the amount of space on the street given over to car parking and movement while footpaths are narrow: is reader-funded journalism. That means it's funded by readers like you.

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Cian Ginty


  1. That’s hilarious. It’s vibrant for sure, but it’s a real pain to walk or cycle on.
    And I imagine it’s pretty terrible to drive on unless you like being stuck in gridlock pumping out fumes.
    It’s crying out to be pedestrianised (as is Fade St). I’m sure Dublin Town will do their utmost to block any such progress though


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