Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Plan to ban cars from Dublin's College Green area by autumn

CARS ARE to be banned from the College Green area of Dublin city by next autumn as a first step towards making the city centre a public transport-only area.

Dublin City Council is to release its plans to ban general traffic from travelling to and from Dame Street through College Green for three weeks of public consultation next month. The plan, which will cost €800,000 to introduce, will be shown to councillors tomorrow.

It involves introducing a public transport-only “gate” at the junction of College Green and Grafton Street in front of Trinity College. This would prevent cars from entering Dame Street or Nassau Street from the north or east of the city and would stop cars from Dame Street driving into Westmoreland Street.

The plan, which the council is calling the College Green Bus Gate Scheme, must be in place before the third-quarter of this year to allow preliminary work on the Metro North rail line to Dublin airport and Swords to begin.

The Railway Procurement Agency has yet to advise the council of its traffic management plans to enable work on the metro to begin. However, the council said all lanes on Westmoreland Street between Fleet Street and O’Connell Street will be closed to traffic during the main construction works.

The council plans to put a bus lane on one of the two lanes of College Green heading towards Nassau Street and Dame Street. In the report to councillors, it notes that while the detailed design for the Luas BX line, which will connect the Luas Green line at St Stephen’s Green to the Red line in the north of the city, is not yet available, the preferred alignment runs along College Green.

Allocating both College Green lanes to bus and rail would mean that it would be impossible for cars to travel along this route.

The public transport-only gate, combined with the Luas and metro-enabling works, and earlier measures to restrict cars – including a ban on right turns from Georges Street to Dame Street, a ban on left turns from Dawson Street to Nassau Street and forcing traffic to turn right from Pearse Street in to Tara Street – will mean an effective car ban from the principal shopping area of the city.

The council describes this scheme, which will also involve the upgrade of existing pedestrian crossings and the installation of a new pedestrian crossing on College Green at Church Lane, as phase one of a strategy to promote increased bus cycling and walking modes in the city centre.

Plans to eliminate so called “rat runs” from Usher Street and St Augustine Street and quality bus corridor upgrades for James’s Street and Clanbrassil Street are also being released for public consultation next month.

Irish Times

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