Motorists to be banned from College Green
€10m plan will create concert space holding up to 15,000 people
A €10m civic plaza capable of holding up to 15,000 people in the heart of Dublin has been unveiled by the city council.
Work will be completed by mid-2019 if An Bord Pleanála grants permission for an ambitious plan to remove traffic from College Green and create a pedestrian-only space.
Dublin City Council will seek permission later this month for the scheme which will result in a complete ban on buses, cars and taxis crossing to and from Dame Street.
The plans also mean that only buses, taxis and the Luas will be allowed to travel from Westmoreland Street to Nassau Street when Luas Cross City begins operations later this year. All private cars will be banned, and instead forced to detour around the city to travel from the northside to the southside, and vice versa.
Dublin City architect Ali Grehan said that creating a public space on College Green was a "flagship project" for the council, and that the area was currently marked by disorder, clutter, buses, traffic and pollution.
"We're completely under-appreciating this key asset," she said, adding the council planned to create a "living room" for the city. Permission will not be granted until at least October, and it will take 18 months to build the scheme at a cost of between €9m and €10m.The council said that if permission was delayed or refused, it would use traffic management powers to ban cars from the area to allow Luas Cross City to move freely through the city.
In all, a space of 7,300sqm will be created to include new trees and seating. Cars will largely be banned, although cash-in-transit vans will be allowed access to Foster Place to serve the Bank of Ireland, and disabled bank customers and those depositing large sums of cash will be allowed to use the car park at the front of the bank building on College Green.
The plaza could be used for large events including concerts or civic receptions, and a two-way cyclepath will be installed on the southside, opposite the Bank of Ireland, and a turning circle for buses put in place beside Foster Place to allow them to return west on Dame Street.
Taxi ranks will be relocated, and extra bike parking provided. The council said the traffic changes were needed because 625 taxis, 380 buses, 1,000 cyclists, 6,000 pedestrians and 40 trams per hour would use the area once Luas Cross City opened, which created "conflict". A number of "major changes" to bus routes would also be required.
The Henry Grattan and Thomas Davis monuments will be restored and reoriented under the plans, and 32 water jets installed. The scheme is designed by Paul Keogh Architects and Dixon Jones, with Mr Keogh saying: "There's not much bling to the project. This will be the canvas on which things can happen."
The public will have six weeks to make submissions to the board, which could also decide to hold a public hearing.