Car bans and outdoor cafes… plans for city centre post-Covid

by Gazette Reporter

CAFES and restaurants will be allowed to put more tables and chairs outdoors under new proposals to pedestrianise streets throughout the city centre.

Dublin City Council plans to ban cars through College Green and to restrict vehicle access along other central routes as the capital begins to reopen after the lockdown.

Measures could see cars banned after 11am to create more space for pedestrians and businesses to successfully implement social distancing in queues and waiting areas.

A report by Dublin City Council said that “the same level of vehicular traffic cannot be accommodated in the city as before”. The issue was discussed at Monday’s council meeting – but has raised the hackles of business group DublinTown.

The collective voice of businesses in Dublin city centre criticised the council report and said while some areas should be pedestrianised the study fails to address the “wastefulness” of single occupancy vehicles versus public transport.

Its CEO Richard Guiney said: “DublinTown supports the greater pedestrianisation of Dublin… with 70% of members endorsing the pedestrianisation of South William Street and 61% also calling for it also to be implemented on Drury Street.

“The results are self-evident, with businesses on Suffolk Street reporting increases averaging 15% when their street was pedestrianised in 2018.

“However, the recommendation from Dublin City Council to ban cars from certain locations in the city after 11am addresses the wrong issue and shows no consideration to the economic impact on the city.

“A higher proportion of a larger number use their car to access the city during the morning peak (pre 11am). The proposals put forward by Dublin City Council neglect to address this point. 

“These measures target the minority of cars which are typically families driving into town at off peak times, and these are vital for the survival and recovery of business in the city.

“This report was released with no consultation with the Dublin’s business community or even Dublin City Council’s own Transportation Strategic Policy Committee, and, if implemented, is likely to further threaten jobs in a city already reeling for the effects of Covid-19.”

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