— Commuter group frustrated at slow progress.
Despite College Green Plaza being billed as one of the most important projects for the capital, there are no records of Dublin City Council and National Transport Authority being in contact with each other for over 12 months.
It was reported in December that the College Green pedestrianisation has been pushed back to at least 2024, after the bus routing section of BusConnects is finished. The delay has posed the question of how much of a priority the project actually is for the council.
96% of around 3,900 people who responded to the public consultation in 2020 favoured an expanded plaza to include not just College Green but also Dame Street up South Great George’s Street. Yet a senior council official told the council’s transport committee meeting in December that the council has spent a year “teasing out some of the issues” and plans to spend another year doing similar before lodging a fresh planning application for the project.
A Freedom of Information request was lodged by this website in December looking for records of communications between the council and the NTA relating to the project, covered from the start of the last public consultation on the plaza until the Freedom of Information request was made.
The council said that there was no records of communications between Dublin City Council and the National Transport Authority relating to College Green Plaza in that 12 months. With the request rejected because “the record concerned does not exist or cannot be found after all reasonable steps to ascertain its whereabouts have been taken”, this is the standard wording for when there are no such records.
A second check with the Freedom of Information section of the council confirmed that there are no records of communications between the council and the NTA on the issue of College Green for over 12 months.
Yesterday, a spokesperson for Dublin City Council said: “The question related to records of meetings etc. between DCC and the NTA and there are a number of points that should be made: (1) This is a DCC project with co funding from the NTA and is not a 100% funded project, and (2) The NTA have been updated on ongoing internal discussion within DCC and that DCC intend to pursue the larger project.”
Feljin Jose, a spokesperson for Dublin Commuter Coalition, a sustainable transport campaign group, said: “We’ve been very disappointed with the slow rollout of the new BusConnects network and the delays that have beset the rollout in the last year alone. With Dublin City Council delaying construction on the College Green Plaza until the new BusConnects network has been implemented in 2024, it’s worrying that there has been no communication between the two authorities for an entire year.”
“We’re very frustrated with the slow rollout of sustainable transport projects in Dublin in general. The redesign of the bus network started in 2017 and will take seven and a half years whereas work on the latest iteration of the College Green Plaza started in 2018 and now may not be completed until 2026,” he said.
Jose added: “We need a strategy to expedite the delivery of major projects such as these.”
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