— 95% of public respondents support permanently pedestrianising the streets.
— Cars to be taken off just 28 metres of South William Street.
— Anne Street South, Drury Street and Dame Court to be pedestrianised.
Around 300 metres across four streets is to be pedestrianised from Monday in the South William Street area of Dublin City — including just about 28 metres on South William Street itself.
The limited pedestrianisation on South William Street is seen to be mainly due to access arrangements to the ‘Brown Thomas Car Park’.
Back in 2019, protesters “liberated” South William Street from cars for a day by directing traffic to go right rather than left out of the car park (pictured above, website only). This effectively pedestrianised 180 metres and the car park traffic just used the 28 metres distance back to the junction.
Back in November, a council report said that redesigning the junction between Exchequer Street, Wicklow Street and South William Street with could allow for further pedestrianisation on the latter by directing the car park traffic to go right rather than left, without the need for traffic management staff.
But the report said that “these options will take some time to implement even if a feasible proposal can be arrived at.” It’s unclear what progress has been made with this.
In a statement on Friday, Dublin City Council said that it “would like to remind the public that a number of streets in the city-centre will be pedestrianised from Monday 24th May to facilitate outdoor dining. This initiative is part of a wider programme being led by the Office of City Recovery. From Monday the 24th of May the following four streets will be either traffic-free, or have sections of them traffic-free daily after 11am.”
The three other streets covered are Anne Street South from the junction of Dawson Street; Drury Street from just after its junction with Fade Street to the Drury Street underground carpark; and Dame Court from Exchequer Street to Dame Lane.
The council said: “The decision to carry out these works was made following successful Weekend Pedestrianisation Trials that took place over 6 weekends during the months of July and August 2020. An online survey conducted by Dublin City Council into the trials received 1,588 responses, with 95% of respondents in favour of permanently pedestrianising the streets. The plans for pedestrianising the streets were also issued for consultation in November 2020 and 97% of respondents were in favour.”
It said: “Pre-Covid, in March 2020 there were 34 on-street car parking spaces on these streets. Once this pedestrianisation occurs, there will be no car parking spaces on these streets. Access to the existing carparks will remain, providing 2,328 spaces in the area.
Dublin City Council added: “There were 5 disabled bays on these streets: The three spaces on Drury St will remain but have been relocated beside the Drury Street carpark; The disabled bay on South Anne St has been relocated to Molesworth St; The disabled bay on Dame Court has been relocated to Exchequer St.”
The council said that there will be traffic management on site for the first week as people get used to the changes and that there will be temporary material used initially, such as bollards, with planters due to arrive soon.”
It was reported on Friday that the council will trial more extensive or even ‘full’ pedestrianisation of Capel Street after the public reacted strongly, with the prevailing theme being the original pedestrianisation plan was too limited.