Wednesday 28 September 2016

Car-free College Green would mean changes to 40 bus routes

Ciara Treacy

Published 12/04/2016 | 14:29

Artist’s projection of how College Green Plaza would look
Artist’s projection of how College Green Plaza would look

Plans to create a College Green Plaza and remove cars from the area could bring changes to as many as 40 bus routes.

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Dublin Bus said between 30 and 40 routes would be affected if the plan went ahead, but added that everything would be done to minimise the impact on passengers.

Operations manager Donal Keating said that having looked at the options for College Green, he believed that those decided on by Dublin City Council (DCC) and the National Transport Authority (NTA) were "probably the best proposals".

"What Dublin Bus has been able to do is work around schemes and minimise the impact for customers," he said.

"There are pluses and minuses, but I think as the major public transport provider we have always shown ourselves to be flexible and able to work on schemes.

Consultation

"Overall, I think from a public transport point of view there are many merits to this plan."

Some areas such as Dawson Street may benefit more from changes to routes, said Mr Keating.

The council is undertaking a process of public consultation over proposed traffic management measures at College Green. It began yesterday and will continue until May 24.

If approved, the measures would remove all east-west traffic from College Green, improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists and the flow of public transport.

This would also allow for the creation of a civic plaza in College Green, from Church Lane to Lower Grafton Street, which it is hoped would become a major tourism attraction.

Green Party councillor Ciaran Cuffe, who chairs the council's Strategic Policy Committee on transport, welcomed the plans for the city centre.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reclaim a civic space in the heart of Dublin city," he said.

"I think it is visionary, necessary and achievable.

"It's very important to note that safety is a cornerstone of this scheme. It will improve the safety, in particular, of more vulnerable road users."

NTA chief Anne Graham was also positive.

"From the NTA's perspective, our main concern is the efficient movement of public transport, and we support this proposal," she said.

"We now ask people to put forward their views via the consultation process."

The project would cost several million euro, but the council said it will not have detailed costs until the final design is produced.

Under the new simplified plan, buses and trams would run north and south along Grafton Street Lower and through College Green, connecting to Westmoreland Street and College Street at the northern end and Nassau Street at the southern end.

A segregated cycle track would run between the Bank of Ireland and Trinity College.

Workable

Dublin Chamber of Commerce has said businesses will need more detail when members meet with the council later this week.

"More than 150 million public transport journeys are made annually into and out of Dublin city centre from across Dublin and the surrounding counties," said chamber chief Gina Quinn.

"The creation of a pedestrian plaza in College Green would be nice to have, but ultimately it is a by-product of what must be a workable transport solution."

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