Bus gates on the quays at Bachelor Walk and Aston Quay are among the measures to be implemented this year under the finalised Dublin City Centre Transport Plan which has received an overwhelmingly positive response during its public consultation stage.
The transport plan and its goal of reducing car traffic are objectives of the City Development Plan 2022 to 2028 which was adopted by councillors in November 2022.
It is clear that several large businesses in the city centre, including car parks and those with a direct interest in car parks are against the plan, as most of them have been against previous changes such as the College Green bus gate. But what’s less clear at this point is what position most councillors will side with, especially in an election year.
Details of the responses were published in a report by Dublin City Council officials which was issued ahead of the Dublin City transport committee meeting next week.
Other measures which are part of the plan include a more substantial rollout of the Liffey Cycle Route, bus priority measures around Pearse Street and more street space which is not just devoted to transport.
Following the consultation the implementation plan has been adjusted — the timeframe for the implementation of a traffic-free Dame Street and College Green has been extended from 2025 to 2026 alone to also include 2027 and 2028, and the Pease Street and Tara Street proposals, including cycle paths, has been brought forward and is to start this year.
Making Parliament Street traffic-free remains a measure which will only start next year in 2025.
While noting the concerns of some people with disabilities and some businesses and how the council will work on the issues raised, the consultation report shows how such a clear majority of respondents are supportive of the measures.
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Respondents were asked if they think reducing ‘through traffic’ will improve the amenity value of Dublin City Centre, 82% of respondents said yes. The council has said that car access is to be maintained to locations such as car parks.
The same number — 82% — said that they think that road space for private vehicles in the core city centre should be reduced to facilitate a more efficient public transport system, while 84% supported high-quality cycle facilities and 91% high-quality pedestrian facilities in the city centre.
The report outlines how the draft plan gained widespread media coverage and reached an estimated 1.4 million people across radio, TV, newspaper and online coverage.
The majority of respondents said they live in a mix of Dublin City Centre, which is between the canals (28%) or from the canals to the M50 (53%). The remainder of responses (18%) came from a mix of residents outside the M50, in the Dublin commuter belt or others outside of County Dublin.
A clear majority of respondents from all areas said they supported the main concept behind the plan of reducing through traffic in the city centre:
The report said: “The response to this consultation has been very positive and wide-ranging and from the responses received it is clear that there is a desire for change in the City Centre.”
Even a majority of respondents who identified as motoristwere s also in favour of reducing space for private vehicles to improve public transport:
A wider breakdown of the consultation results can be found on the webcast page for the transport committee meeting.
“We acknowledge the responses from the various health organisations and the HSE which emphasised the contribution to the health of the citizens of the city which the implementation of this plan would have, and believe that this is a very powerful argument for completing this plan and moving to implementation,” it said.
The report said: “The concerns raised by disabled users and organisations are also noted and will be carefully considered as this plan moves forward. We thank the businesses and the business groups whhaveas made submissions to the plan and who took the time to meet with us during the consultation and reiterate our desire to work with them throughout the implementation of this plan.”
The council said that it particularly wants to thank the residents of the city and the surrounding area who have taken the time to make submissions and “who have overwhelmingly endorsed the aims and vision of this plan”.
The report added: “We note that across all ages, whether resident within the city area or adjacent to it and across all transport modes, including private car users, there is support for the measures and objectives set out in the Draft plan. Therefore we have prepared a final version of the City Centre Transport Plan in conjunction with the National Transport Authority and this will be presented at the Transportation SPC in February 2024. Within the City Centre Transport Plan there is an implementation plan showing what is hoped to be implemented in each year and this has now been updated in response to the consultation. We are very cognisant of the need to communicate and engage with various parties who have raised concerns.”