Anger as city motorists to be forced to drive up O'Connell Street from quays
Proposals for extra bus lanes on Dublin's busiest quays will lead to increased traffic congestion and might reduce footfall and spending in the city centre, it has been warned.
A Dublin City Council (DCC) proposal to use two of the three lanes on Ormond Quay and Bachelors Walk for buses will go out to public consultation next week.
The radical plans will also prevent private vehicles from turning right at Bachelors Walk onto O'Connell Bridge or travelling straight ahead onto Eden Quay.
These plans, in conjunction with the Cross City Luas, are anticipated to come into effect by August. The Luas project is expected to be completed and in operation by the end of 2017.
Under the Road Traffic Act, the approval of city councillors is not required.
A spokeswoman for DCC told the Herald: "It's not a reserved function so it's not up to the councillors to vote it in, it's a managerial function.
"Under the [Road Traffic] Act, the council can introduce it without the councillors having to vote for it," she added.
Labour Party councillor Dermot Lacey hit out at the way the plans are being pushed through.
"It's a concern, what you have is decisions being made by officials over the heads of councillors, who know the views of locals and businesses," he said.
"We don't have a single Dublin transport authority, which we probably should have."
Independent councillor Mannix Flynn reiterated those points.
"These people are just saying our way or the highway and everybody is inconvenienced. It's totally unacceptable," Mr Flynn said.
"We're elected to represent the people of the city on all aspects, including transport and traffic."
Conor Faughnan of AA Roadwatch said that, while the Luas Cross City will have obvious benefits to public transport systems, the council did not look properly at alternatives for drivers.
"DCC has known this is coming for years but hasn't worked out an alternative route," said Mr Faughnan.
"They haven't put any thought or energy or care into what car users will do.
"That's just not good enough. There's one lazy sentence [in the proposals] examining alternative routes," he added.
Meanwhile, DublinTown's Richard Guiney said a number of road traffic plans in both the north and south of the city, including plans for College Green, are of economic concern.
Mr Guiney said that those using private vehicles spend around double that of public transport users when they come into the capital.
"Roughly about 20pc of people who are shopping in the city at any one time come in by car and they spend roughly 31pc of total spend in the city. They load stuff into the back of their cars," he said.
"Somebody who comes in by car will spend on average €117 compared, with somebody on a bus spending roughly €63.
"There's detail we need to go through and need to consider.
"We need to consider this plan in the context of all of the other things that are happening.
"If they make it impossible to get your car into the city and access the carparks in retail areas then yes we would have an issue, that's the reality."