Pedestrianisation of South William St could be expanded after junction redesign

IMAGE: South William St pedestrianised during the trial (image by Dublin City Council)

— Less than 30 metres of South William St to be pedestrianised.
— Redesign of junction could allow further pedestrianisation.
— No clarity on how cycle route will be accommodated.

Less than 30 metres of South William St is to be pedestrianised in the short-term but redesign of the junction with Exchequer St could allow further pedestrianisation on the street.

95% of people who responded to Dublin City Council’s public consultation were in favour of permanently pedestrianising the streets, which included South William Street, Anne Street South, Drury Street, Dame Court and Duke Street.

Extensive sections of Anne Street South, Drury Street, and Dame Court are to be pedestrianised, while only a short section of South William Street will be and Duke Street will not be pedestrianised at this time, the council said in a report on the trial.

The council’s report said: “We will now undertake a period of consultation to ascertain if there is broad acceptance of the proposals, especially from the business community and retailers in the streets where proposals for changes are being made.”

Under the council’s current plan, South William Street will be pedestrianised for less than 30 metres, from the Brown Thomas carpark exit to Exchequer Street.

Cllr Michael Pidgeon (Green) said: “Mostly good news on the pedestrianisation front, with Anne St, Dame Court and Drury St. For me Drury St was a big surprise in just how good it was – probably the nicest part of the pedestrianisation trial I saw.”

He added: “The South William Street section is disappointing. What they’re proposing would be some progress, at least, but I’d only see it as an interim plan until a better access solution can be worked out.”

Respondents to the consultation online were also asked “How did the pedestrianisation of these streets affect your experience of the streets?” 96% felt the pedestrianisation improved their experience with just 3% having a negative experience.

The council had asked the Brown Thomas Carpark to look at reversing the flow of its exit and entry points that South William St would become the entry point and the rest of the street could be made car-free. But the council’s report stated: “Following discussions with the Brown Thomas carpark they have stated that they cannot alter their entry and exits as proposed as this would present ‘insurmountable structural difficulties that cannot be overcome’.”

The trial included the reversal of existing carpark traffic to turn right towards the Exchequer St junction, this required 3 – 4 traffic management contractors to manage traffic at the junction.

The council said that redesign works would be needed on the Exchequer St junction to facilitate carpark traffic without the need for traffic management staff. The reported added: “However these options will take some time to implement even if a feasible proposal can be arrived at.”

For now, the council is suggesting that the short section of street will be pedestrianised between the car park exit and the Exchequer St junction. The report said: “Post 11am the only vehicles using the street will be those exiting from the Brown Thomas carpark and the section from Brown Thomas Car park to Exchequer Street will be traffic free. This will remove through traffic from the street, so reducing the number of and type of vehicles using South William Street.”

IrishCycle.com also asked the council to outline what provision it is making to allow for the Primary Route 11 of the GDA Cycle Network plan / Clonskeagh cycle route, which uses South William Street.

A spokesperson for the council said: “The Sandford (Clonskeagh) Cycle Route project is at the Options Selection phase. A presentation to the SEA Committee was carried out in September 2020. Workshops for the Internal stakeholders will be carried out later this month. Due to the project being paused for a long time, we are preparing a brief to procure a new consultant to progress the scheme to the next phases.”

On Duke Street the council report said that it was used less than other streets which were part of the trial. The report said: “It is not intended to proceed with pedestrianisation of the street at this time as during the week there is a private carpark in operation, a delivery yard that requires access and it is also the access for a large site currently under construction.”

It added: “At the time of trial there were a number of premises that were not open and so the trial did not reflect the full usage of the street. It is proposed to engage with businesses on the street to determine if a temporary footpath extension to allow for space for outdoor dining, similar to South Anne St layout is something that businesses would like to see and use.”

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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.

1 Comment

  1. Better than nothing I suppose but the South William Street proposal is still disappointing. If the council was prepared to pay Brown Thomas to cover the expense of modifying its car park, I wonder would that be sufficient for them to agree to reverse the flow.

    Truly pedestrianising South William Street would be second only to College Green in its potential to transform the south city centre.

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