€3m plan paves way for family-friendly streets
Dublin shopping streets will undergo a €3m overhaul to bring the footpaths flush with the road, allowing better access for families with buggies and people in wheelchairs.
Work is expected to begin early next year and will form a continuation of the street upgrading works on Grafton Street, due to be completed in the coming months at a cost of €4m.
The plans will affect Chatham Street, Chatham Lane, Balfe Street, Harry Street, Swan Yard, Johnson Court and part of Wicklow Street.
It is the first time that major repaving has taken place on the streets since the mid-1980s.
"None of these works are of the scale of the Grafton Street project, which will be completed towards the end of the autumn. That was a full 18-month project, and these will be smaller," city council senior executive architect Kilian Skay said.
"Chatham Street, Harry and Balfe Street are the most challenging because they're a 24-hour traffic route. Dealing with that will be tricky.
"We will continue the granite paving from Grafton Street with Leinster granite on the footway, and Iberian granite on the carriageway.
"We see more pedestrian-friendly and accessible streets because we will be removing the kerbs, the entire street will be level.
"The thinking is to expand the high-quality pedestrian environment of Grafton Street into the side streets, but also in the context of universal design and making the streets more accessible for all."
As part of the works, the Dublin Bikes station at Chatham Street will be relocated to nearby Clarendon Street. In addition, street furniture, floral displays and trees will be planted. "Each of the streets are quite completely different architecturally," Mr Skay said.
"We're going to make the street surface more simple and not competing with the buildings.
"As part of the Grafton Street project – and these are extensions of it – we could not accommodate street furniture because of the number of people on the street, and trees couldn't be accommodated due to the number of utilities under the streets including ducting and pipes.
"We decided we would look at the side streets for seating. Chatham Street will have trees planted at both ends, with seating under the trees.
"We will also have floral displays on Wicklow Street and in front of the Westbury Hotel on Harry Street," he said.
The plans will be put out for public consultation from today until September 2 next and can be viewed at the Civic Offices.
A decision on whether to proceed or not will be taken by the city councillors later in the year.