A clear majority of businesses and the vast majority of public support continue to support a car-free Capel Street, according to the latest public consultation which found that a majority of all groups of respondents said that their experience of Capel Street had improved since the street was made motor traffic free.
Dublin City Council released the results from its latest public consultation after a group of businesses tried to claim that its “impartial survey” showed that businesses were opposed to the car-free street arrangement.
Few details of this “impartial survey” by businesses have been released but a DublinLive.ie article quoted businesses supporting that survey making claims that don’t stack up.
Clare O’Rourke of Evans Art Supplies was quoted as stating that project was “rushed” and “not a sufficient consultation by DCC with the local businesses” and Doc Huysmans of Dublin City Comics was quoted as stating that the car-free street’s implementation was “heavy handed” and paraphrased as saying it was done “without proper consultation”.
The issue of Capel Street, however, has undergone four (4) open public consultation processes in just the past 15 months and the council also consulted with businesses and business groups directly, and said today that it is willing to continue to do so.
The latest consultation from Dublin City Council shows support from businesses on the street has increased to 71% of the 51 respondents, and, of businesses on side streets to Capel Street who replied, the support is at 68% of 41 respondents.
Another 2% of businesses both on and just off the street said that their experience of the street has not changed, leaving only 27% and 29% of each saying that their experience of the street has disproved.
If there was widespread opposition among businesses it is unclear why they would not make their concerns known to the council.
It is clear, however, that some of the people against the project have acted with attempted subterfuge. In a previous consultation, there were 53 identical submissions received from businesses — the council said at the time that these were “mainly from businesses in the Jervis Centre, fourteen from Louis Copeland staff and 24 from unknown businesses who didn’t include their business name or location”.
Cllr Janet Horner (Green Party) said: “The initial analysis of the latest round of consultation with Capel Street businesses, residents, and members of the public is here. It shows overwhelming support for the project. It also comes with full transparency on the responses collected.”
The Dublin Commuter Coalition, a sustainable transport campaign group, said: “There’s a media outlet sharing the results of a dubious survey of Capel Street businesses where businesses like Pantibar weren’t even consulted. Here’s a thorough survey carried out by Dublin City Council.”
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The consultation report was written by Brendan O’Brien, head of the council’s transport section, and Claire French, a senior executive engineer.
In a report, which was also released as a press release today, the council officials said: “As well as informing the public through social media and online at the DCC consultation hub, every business and residents in the area received a leaflet informing them of the consultation and how to engage with us. In total 1,371 leaflets were hand delivered where possible and a further 1,260 leaflets posted to premises where it was not possible to gain access (such as apartment blocks).”
The officials said: “In addition, there have been numerous meetings with businesses and residents and any business that has requested a meeting has been met. Dublin City Council is still available to meet any business that wishes to discuss any suggestions or concerns they have.”
The council said that there were 3,189 submissions received through the Consultation Hub and two email submissions.
“The results show that overall the traffic-free arrangement has been very well received by residents and businesses, with the majority stating it has improved their experience of the street. The public are overwhelmingly in favour of the measure,” said the council.
|Respondent||Number of responses|
|A resident of Capel Street||100|
|A resident on a side street to Capel Street||197|
|A business on Capel Street||51|
|A business on a side street to Capel Street||41|
|A member of the public||2,666|
|A city councillor or TD||6|
The council officials said that “full analysis of the comments is currently being undertaken and a more detailed report on the consultation will be issued in due course.”
Ahead of cars being removed from the street, the public consultation last year resulted in nearly 4,000 submissions from members of the public and 85% of those were in favour of removing cars from the street.
Another consultation released in April of this year found that 91% of all 1,766 submissions were in favour of the project going ahead, and just six (6) businesses on Capel Street objected to the plan.
The latest consultation, which included 2,666 submissions from members of the public, found that support for the scheme is now higher again — 93% of members of the public who responded said that their experience of the street has improved.
A majority of businesses and residents were also in favour of the move to remove cars from the street last year with 121 submissions received from businesses on the street and 59% in favour, and 207 submissions received from residents on the street and 74% in favour.
Dublin City Council said it held the latest consultation between August 17, 2022 and September 14, 2022.
Unlike business groups who have released little detail of their survey, the council released an initial consultation report, and released it as a press release today. It has also provided councillors with the detail feedback from the consultation (with personal details removed).
The two officials added: “Initial readings of what changes need to be made are more greening, seating and reducing speed of cyclists. The Traffic department will continue to make changes including a trial next month of making a section of Jervis Street two-way to provide an alternative route for southbound car park traffic. The changes at Little Strand Street are now complete and in operation. We are also working closely with the Parks department on measures to provide greening and seating and altering the layout on Capel Street to reduce speeds. A landscape architect is due to be appointed shortly and workshops and initial proposals will follow in the near future.”