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Some 54,000 face being stranded - as Dublin transport headache is laid bare


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Dublin is facing a major transport headache as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted over the coming months, unless many workers continue to stay at home.

City authorities are banking on a doubling of the numbers walking to work, and a tripling of cyclists to ease the problems associated with social distancing on public transport.

But even then, the city will only have transport solutions for 75pc of people who normally commute into or through the city centre, leaving around 54,000 people stranded.

A return-to-work mobility plan published by the city council last night expects public transport will only be able to carry 20pc of normal passenger numbers.

Car journeys are also expected to fall by 30pc because of restrictions on lanes to provide greater space for pedestrians and cyclists, traffic light sequencing that favours commuters on bike and foot and the removal of on-street parking.

Alternative car parking on the periphery of the city to enable park and cycle options are proposed but no firm details are included.

The plan retains the ambition of pedestrianising College Green, which proved controversial when an outline of the scheme was presented to councillors a fortnight ago, but the move is to be a gradual one.

Measures proposed include:

:: Improving pedestrian safety through the provision of additional space for movement and enhanced pedestrian areas;

:: Enabling more people to cycle by providing safer cycling facilities;

:: Providing additional space at many bus stops to facilitate social distancing;

:: Accommodating a certain level of car use, including possible additional parking provision on the periphery of the city core area;

:: Implementing various bus route changes required to enable the roll-out of cycling and walking measures while still maintaining a strong public transport network.

Footfall has fallen dramatically in the capital since March during the coronavirus lockdown.

It states: "In the College Green area, existing space for pedestrians will be increased and the protected cycle route will be extended.

"As services are diverted in a phased manner, then this will allow for gradually increased space for pedestrians and eventually the conversion of the complete space to allow for better pedestrian and cycling provision along the College Green and Dame Street route."

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The plan also sets out alterations that will be made along 14 routes into the city to improve facilities for cyclists and it describes how bus routes and the location of bus stops are likely to change. Further plans for urban villages and neighbourhoods are to follow.

The Dublin Cycling Campaign welcomed the moves. "The measures being proposed will be vital for making cycling a safe and comfortable option for the thousands of people who will be new to cycling in the city", said campaign chair Kevin Baker.

Transport Minister Shane Ross said: "We all want to see the eventual return of Dublin's famous vibrancy, and I believe that the plans published today are an important step in the right direction."

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