Monday 24 July 2017

Business groups hit out at Dublin city traffic plans after U-turn on ban of private cars

Eden Quay in Dublin Photo: Douglas O'Connor
Eden Quay in Dublin Photo: Douglas O'Connor
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

BANNING cars from Dublin’s Eden Quay would have removed the "number one" public transport blackspot in the capital.

Dublin City Council’s director of transport, Brendan O’Brien, has told a council transport committee that while there was a recognition that traffic arrangements in the capital needed to be changed, there was marked opposition from traders and businesses.

The council had planned to ban private cars from Eden Quay, and divert cars from other sections of the North Quays to make way for the Liffey Cycleway.

But "considerable opposition" has been received from business groups, including car park owners who claim that access will be restricted.

"It was part of the city centre transport study published in June 2015, to make the north quays public transport and cycling only, which was changed to Eden Quay public transport only," Mr O’Brien said.

"We had strong opposition about Eden Quay but most submissions recognised the city needed to change. The introduction of the Luas meant not everything could remain the same.

"Aside from Eden Quay, most people had little issue with additional bus lanes on the north and south quays.

"We have to be conscious that part of the reason we proposed this scheme was to address a public transport blackspot, to make sure more people could move through this area. We wanted to ensure Luas Cross City could be introduced with minimal delays to services.

"There’s little point to introducing it, and finding additional delays."

The councils new proposals include:

  • A set of traffic lights on Bachelors Walk with priority for buses. This will allow buses move to the right-hand side of the road, to continue onto Eden Quay or turn right onto O’Connell Bridge.
  • One lane for general traffic which can go left onto O’Connell Street, or continue straight ahead onto Eden Quay.
  • No right hand turn onto O’Connell Bridge for general traffic.

The traffic signals on Bachelors Walk will require general traffic to queue, while buses clear the area in front of them.

Cycling lanes will also be provided.

"The big fear we have is for the Luas is because we have to move it across the bridge in one movement which could result in much more severe delays," Mr O’Brien said.

He added that 47pc of members of the public supported the scheme, but other stakeholders including business groups were opposed.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland, which operates Luas, and Dublin Bus were supportive.

Keith Gavin, from the Irish Parking Association, said there was a "huge number of groups" with "grave concerns" about the plans, and there was "nothing to say" the proposed ban on Eden Quay wouldn't proceed.

He also said there was a requirement to conduct a full environmental impact assessment, which would set out the noise and air quality issues which might arise.

The council insists there is no need for an EIA.

Cllr Mannix Flynn (Independent) said he expected the matter to be subject to judicial review.

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