Cars banished under city transport plan

by Gazette Reporter

MAJOR changes, including banning private cars and taxis from Dublin city centre, have been proposed in a new transport study for the capital compiled by the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Dublin City Council.
The Dublin City Transport Study, taking in the quays, College Green and Suffolk Street, is on public display for consultation until July 16.
The study’s suggestions aim to ensure the city continues to function efficiently and to accommodate future growth. The NTA is set to invest €150m in public transport.
It recommends cycling and pedestrian-only links along the north and south quays and at College Green along with the pedestrianisation of Suffolk Street and St Stephen’s Green north.
Among the study’s most dramatic proposed changes are that the “bus gate” around College Green would operate 24 hours a day, permanently banning all cars, vans and even taxis. Suffolk Street would be completely pedestrianised and private cars would not be allowed on Bachelor’s Walk between Jervis Street and O’Connell Street.
The proposed scheme also includes increases in public transport capacity and the implementation of a citywide cycle network. To ease city traffic flow, the proposal includes new interchange hubs, bridges, coach and taxi facilities.
The public can view and comment on the study up until July 16 on www.dublincity.ie/TransportStudy.
According to the council: “Traffic congestion levels in Dublin are already rising, and, with an additional 42,000 morning-peak journeys into the city centre anticipated by 2023, plans need to be put in place now to meet the development plan targets and to ensure the capital city continues to function efficiently into the future.”
NTA chief executive Anne Graham said hard decisions now would pay dividends in the future, adding: “The [authority] will be investing €150m in these projects between now and 2023.”
Crumlin-Kimmage Cllr Catherine Ardagh (FF) said: “It’s great to see some sort of plan in place as even minor disturbances like the [outdoor] 5 Seconds of Summer concert for the May bank holiday caused the city immediate gridlock. City traffic is only going to get worse unless something drastic is done.”
But her party colleague Beaumount-Donaghmede Cllr Tom Brabazon differed, saying: “The handing over of parts of the north and south quays to public transport only is excessive and will only serve to move the congestion elsewhere – it will not solve the congestion problem and on that basis I would be totally opposed to this aspect of the study.”
Pembroke-South Dock Cllr Dermot Lacey (Lab) said the study was conducted by council officials and the NTA with no elected councillors involved. He finds this “extraordinary” and has called for a single Dublin transport authority with a directly elected mayor as chair.
Welcoming the news, Deputy Joe Costello (Lab) said: “The council talks about changes to traffic including 40,000 new cars expected on the streets in the next eight years. That’s a long way off…There could be even greater traffic changes over the coming years and the 2017 cross city Luas is very important.
“We don’t want to put the cart before the horse though, we need to synchronise the plan with the onset of the city Luas going from St Stephen’s Green to Broombridge… I think the whole city will be pedestrianised in the next few years but we need to make sure we have good public transport there first.”

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