Wednesday 26 March 2008

City centre areas to be no-go zones for private cars

PLANS TO to limit the use of private cars in Dublin city centre are being finalised for presentation to a special Dublin Transportation Office (DTO) steering group, next May.

The proposals, which were initially intended to be for the duration of construction works for the Metro, were outlined to members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport recently. They include a ban on private cars in the central city areas of O'Connell Street, College Green and lower Grafton Street/Nassau Street.

The duration of the construction works on Metro North is expected to be at least three years.

Access is to be maintained to O'Connell Street via alternative routes, but cars entering the northbound section will be unable to exit through the top of O'Connell Street, while a similar arrangement will be put in place for cars entering southbound lanes.

Four lanes of traffic from Dame Street into Westmoreland Street are to be declared public transport only, as are the reverse lanes coming around from D'Olier Street. Lower Grafton Street to the Dawson Street/Nassau Street corner is also to be made a no-go zone for private cars. The work will also see a reorganisation of the inner and outer orbital routes.

The opening of the Macken Street Bridge is crucial for the plan, the start-up of which is to be in place for the start of the Transport 21 works in 2010. The installation of a temporary bridge between Hawkins Street and Marlborough Street is also being considered.

Ownership of the plan is set to move from the DTO steering group to Dublin City Council after a steering committee meeting and city council sources indicated the intention is to make the changes permanent.

The steering committee accepts that there is a deficit in public transport but points out that additional buses are planned, as well as new measures to give priority to all buses.

The Irish Times

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