‘Streets Are For People’ staging second day of action at Lower Liffey Street

IMAGE: Lower Liffey Street on a normal day.

— Article to be updated with images and any updates.
— UPDATED with tweets with images…

Around about now protesters from the group called Streets Are For People are opening up Dublin’s Lower Liffey Street to people rather than cars.

The street leads up to the Ha’penny Bridge and is one of the most important pedestrian links between Temple Bar and the Henry Street area. According to a traffic study, there’s an average of 32,000 pedestrians vs 1,000 vehicles a day along Liffey Street Lower.

As we’re reported previously, Dublin City Council has a plan to pedestrianise a section of the street, while allowing for delivery motor vehicles to retain access but banning cycling.

The Streets Are For People group — which is made up of Dublin Cycling Campaign, Dublin Commuter Coalition, Irish Pedestrian Network, and Extinction Rebellion Dublin — said that they will create “a clean air zone” on the street “by preventing motor traffic from accessing the street”.

In July, the group carried out a similar protest action on South William Street which was widely seen as better run than Dublin City Council’s trial of pedestrianising College Green.

The group said in a pre-issued statement: “The purpose of today’s protest is to highlight Ireland’s extremely poor record on air pollution, where it is consistently one of the worst performing countries in Europe, and to demonstrate the benefits of opening up streets to be enjoyed by people.”

Streets Are For People highlighted that earlier this week the Central Statistics Office published its annual Environmental Indicators Ireland report ranking Ireland as the worst country in the EU for air pollution from exhaust fumes.

The group said that the number of premature deaths attributed to air pollution annually is estimated by the EPA as 1,510 people — ten times the number of people who died in 2018 as a direct result of road traffic collisions.

Neasa Hourigan, founder of the Irish Pedestrian Network and a Green Party Councillor for Dublin City, said: “We want the authorities to prioritise public places for people, not cars. Dublin City Council is proposing to pedestrianise Lower Liffey Street by creating a people-friendly plaza and we are calling on all city councillors to actively support that proposal.”

Janet Horner, a spokeswoman for the Dublin Cycling Campaign, said: “Our cities and our citizens are being choked by cars. We are seeing more and more evidence of the harm being caused by the emissions from motor vehicles. Air pollution harms all of us, but particularly the most vulnerable. This is a public health emergency and we need to take immediate action to reduce motor traffic and to create clean air zones throughout the city. People have a right to clean air.”

Kevin Carter, acting chairperson of the Dublin Commuter Coalition, said: “Air quality and the environmental impact of cars are going to be election issues at the next general election. Politicians need to realise that people want cities that are clean, attractive and liveable. This isn’t possible if the streets are dominated by cars, so something has got to give.”

Oscar Mooney, a spokesman for Extinction Rebellion Dublin, said: “Transport emissions account for about one third of global greenhouse gas emissions and the rise of the private motor car has been a contributory factor in the acceleration of climate collapse. We have to take radical action to reduce our dependence on cars and enable more people to walk, cycle and use public transport.”

I am editor of IrishCycle.com and have reported on and commented on cycling in Ireland for over a decade. My background is in journalism -- I have a BA in Journalism from DCU and HDip in Print Journalism from BCFE. I wrote about cycling for national newspapers, and then started CyclingInDublin.com for overflow stories. Later the website was re-branded to reflect a more national focus.

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