The battle for a pedestrianised zone in the city rages on, as Dublin Chamber call for a trial run of the long-awaited and controversial College Green Plaza.
Planning permission for the major project was refused in late 2018, with Dublin City Council announcing their intention to revisit their plans and reapply for the plaza in 2019.
Now, Dublin Chamber – which represents more than 1,300 businesses across Dublin – has called on the council to consider a trial pedestrianisation of the project in early 2019 to get a feel for whether the concept would work.
The chamber has said that in a recent survey of 400 companies, 72% of those asked were in favour of a trial of College Green Plaza.
The group said that the vast majority of its member companies were in favour of the idea of the pedestrianised zone in front of Trinity College, but that “doubts remain” over whether a full pedestrianisation of the locale would work.
Suggestions for trials include a “pedestrianised Sunday” at College Green to allow locals an opportunity to visit the area to see what College Green Plaza may be like when fully implemented, or full weekend trials if the council sees the proposal as “workable”.
Dublin Chamber’s head of public affairs, Graeme McQueen, said: “The pedestrianisation of College Green is something that most people and businesses would like to see happen, but doubts remain regarding how practical the idea actually is.
“A short trial, or series of trials, would give Dubliners and businesses in the city an opportunity to experience what a pedestrianised College Green would be like.
“A successful trial would help alleviate some of the fears and concerns that businesses have over the potential impact of a pedestrianised College Green.
“Such a trial would also provide the council with important feedback and learnings that will help shape any revised College Green Plaza proposal.”
He added: “We welcome the news that Dublin City Council is looking at submitting a revised plan for College Green in 2019.
“Ensuring a high level of support from the business community will be central to the success of any plan and we look forward to working with the council to see ensure that happens.
“Any trial would, of course, need to be well-devised, with proper traffic management plans put in place. But as a city we do this kind of thing all of the time, be it for the visit of the Pope or for big sporting or music events.
“Dublin currently suffers from a lack of pedestrianised areas and overcoming this challenge will be important in ensuring that Dublin becomes a more family-friendly city and that quality of life improves for the people who live and work in it,” he said.