Proposals for the full pedestrianisation of South William Street have received the overwhelming backing of Dublin city councillors.
A motion by the Green Party’s Claire Byrne calling for the car-free measure to be included as an objective in the new Dublin City Development Plan (2022-2028) was supported by councillors from all parties earlier this month.
It’s believed there is a growing public appetite for the full pedestrianisation of South William Street, one of the most popular areas of the city for outdoor socialising during Covid-19 restrictions.
Councillor Byrne said part-pedestrianisation of the road, from Exchequer Street to the exit of the Brown Thomas Car Park – now renamed Grafton Car Park – had been achieved during the last development plan.
However, she argued this had not resulted in any major positive impact on the street or businesses.
She claimed a survey conducted before the pandemic found that 70pc of businesses were in favour of the full pedestrianisation of South William Street.
“I believe the public sentiment is very clear and people want to see the entire street traffic-free,” she said.
Councillor Byrne said she was hopeful her motion would lead to renewed negotiations with the owners of Grafton Car Park to see if solutions can be found.
“The egress of cars onto South William Street from the car park is still the biggest obstacle to full pedestrianisation,” she said.
She added there would be a feasibility study and formal consultation with businesses by Dublin City Council in advance of any pedestrianisation scheme.
“We now have it in writing as an objective in the development plan, which makes it easier to keep the project moving forward,” she said.
“We need to keep up the pressure to deliver full pedestrianisation as soon as we can, as it will be good for citizens and businesses.
“From a climate perspective, it will obviously help in terms of reduced carbon emissions and less traffic congestion.
“There may be pushback from some businesses, as you can’t please everyone with transformational projects such as this.
“Ultimately, it will be for the greater good, like the pedestrianisation of Capel Street has been.”
Grafton Car Park has been contacted for comment.