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Radical shake-up of city centre streets to remove cars from quays at O’Connell Bridge

— Traffic congestion causing delays for buses in the core city centre to be tackled.
— Plan allows for car access to all areas but an end to car dominance.
— Traffic lanes to be reallocated into a public space, cycle paths and greenery.

New proposals, which are to be presented to councillors next week, are set to radically shake up traffic in Dublin City Centre, including limiting east-west movements on the quays near O’Connell Bridge to pedestrians, cycling, public transport, and taxis.

According to sources, Dublin City Council’s transport committee next meeting week is set to be presented with an outline of the new Dublin City Centre Transport Plan which will include full bus gates on Bachelor’s Walk and Aston Quay.

The plan for the city centre includes car access, but a reduction in car priority and a limit on the ability for motorists to drive through the city centre — The council has previously highlighted that its traffic data shows 60% of motor traffic in the core city centre is through traffic which is not stopping in the area.

This removal of through traffic will allow for greater priority for buses while at the same time freeing up space to allow for both more public space and continuous segregated cycle routes. Public consultation is also expected to get underway soon after the meeting on Wednesday next.

Strong opposition to the plans is expected including car park owners and operators, car-focused retailers, motorists who use the core city centre and councillors with an eye for branding themselves as a friend of the motorist ahead of the local elections next year.

Bus gates on Bachelor’s Walk and Aston Quay, are described as “earlier phases” of the plan which also includes limiting the useful of Westland Row as a through route for motorists, progression of the College Green and Dame Street proposals, making Pearse Street two-way and reducing traffic on Tara Street and around Custom House. These measures will also enable other interventions.

The bus priority measures are seen as key to supporting the BusConnects rollout of more frequent routes running 24 hours and not having cross-city bus routes snarl-up in the city centre and affect reliability for the full routes.

Space will also be given to cycle paths attractive enough to get a wider range of people cycling and there will also be a strong focus on high-quality public spaces. For example, an outline plan for Bachelor’s Walk just west of O’Connell Bridge includes both a bus lane and a two-way cycle path but it also includes a significant reallocation of space to relieve congested footpath which is crowded pedestrians, bus passengers and people sitting outside of cafes. Pearse Street would include new cycle paths but also a large amount of new greenery.

The Transport Plan follows on from a previous plan in 2016 which was not fully implemented, but the difference this time is that the plan is funded via the Dublin City Centre Pathfinder project.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan has put forward the idea of Pathfinder projects around the country as a way to accelerate changes which will reduce carbon emissions and help meet the Climate Action targets — Minister Ryan has already given media interviews saying car-dominated streets such as Westmoreland Street, Pearse Street, and Beresford Place behind Custom’s House would be transformed.


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He has broadly mentioned the quays as part of the Pathfinder project but the plan for the removal of cars off sections of the quays was not reported on until now. Previous plans to remove cars from sections of the quays for the Liffey Cycle Route in 2016 and for Luas and bus priority in 2017 were scrapped due to opposition.

Part of the plan is a reconfiguration of traffic circulation in core areas and also on a new orbital route. While this route was not fully outlined it is understood it will take a wider arc of the core city centre than the previous inner orbital traffic route.

The new orbital route for motorists going around the city centre should include the likes of Partcik Street, High Street, Dorset Street, North Circular Road, and Samuel Beckett Bridge — with longer, straighter sections of roadways rather than the previously more convoluted inner orbital traffic route which meandered in twists and turns around one-way systems.

According to a written update to councillors ahead of their monthly meeting yesterday: “A draft of the 2023 Dublin City Centre Transport Plan has now been developed in collaboration with the NTA and will be presented to the Traffic and Transport SPC on Wednesday the 13th of September. A Non-statutory public consultation will then commence from that date.”

The update to councillors highlighted how an updated plan is an objective of the current Dublin City Development Plan (2022-2028). The Development Plan objective states: “To review the City Centre Transport Plan 2016 in collaboration with the NTA in the lifetime of the plan, setting out a clear strategy to prioritise active travel modes and public transport use, whilst ensuring the integration of high-quality public realm,”.

The Development Plan — which was voted on by councillors as part of the legal process to establish development plans — also has targets to reduce car use and increase sustainable transport use in the city centre.

10 comments

  1. No mention of a cycle lane finally on Westmoreland Street ?
    Bonkers if not- incredibly dangerous to cycle with buses flying across multiple lanes around you.

    Reply
      • Absolutely a joke I don’t want to use the bus IV had nothing but bad experience on them why should I be penalised if I want to drive a car already paying crazy insurance tax and fuel prices not to mentioned the parking fees but all the money the spend on the cyclist who don’t put a penny in

        Reply
        • Hi Danielle,

          Again: Car access will be maintained.

          The idea of the measures planned is to improve the experience for users of buses and trams as well as the walking and cycling experience. Beyond transport, the city centre is the highest-density area for both homes and workplaces in the country. Reducing the volume of cars is of huge benefit to both individuals and society.

          More people using buses and trams or walking and cycling is good for climate action, health (both personal and for the health system), the economy and the public purse. 
          Regarding you feeling hard-pressed because you pay for your car — only third-party insurance is required by law. If you think full cover isn’t needed for you or your loved ones, you can remove that cover and just pay for third-party insurance. Your paying insurance has nothing to do with street layouts.

          Parking fees for city centre employees and shoppers etc is mostly a translation between the motorist and private parking.

          Finally, your idea of “cyclist who don’t put a penny in” is just wrong — cyclists are taxpayers who pay a mix of income tax, motor tax (when they own a car), VAT when they buy things etc etc. Cyclists in Dublin include people in highly paid jobs who pay more tax than the average motorist.

          Reply
        • Your car takes up a lot of room. If everyone drives, no one will get anywhere in any decent amount of time. We’d just have constant gridlock

          Reply
    • Delivery trucks and vans will still have access, just as they do in other cities that stop through traffic in their core city centres.

      Reply

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