Locals fear Google HQ traffic chaos

PLANS: Anger at bid to close Barrow Street

Cormac Murphy

A PLAN to pedestrianise a street beside Google's Dublin offices has sparked widespread anger amid fears that it will lead to traffic chaos.

The proposal aims to close off a section of Barrow Street to cars.

Labour TD Kevin Humphreys and residents of the Charlotte Quay apartments are among the opponents.

The proposal is being seen as an attempt by Google to create a "compound" -- but Fine Gael's Kieran Binchy believes Dublin City Council is behind the plan.

He told the Herald it makes no sense to close off Barrow Street to through traffic.

"It will make traffic worse in the area. It will create rat-runs through the side streets, which are residential, and increase the pressure on South Lotts Road," he said.

Google already has the go-ahead for a three-armed link bridge connecting Google Docks at Grand Canal Dock in Dublin 4 to both Gordon House and the Gasworks office block.

It will be 4.2 metres high and nearly eight metres above street level. It is thought the development levies owed by Google from the bridge project has enabled the council to plan the Barrow Street scheme.


If approved, the council's public realm scheme will see traffic-calming measures introduced, including the closure of Barrow Street to traffic.

It is to be achieved by the installation of removable bollards, allowing pedestrian and cyclists only to pass.

Paths would be widened, pedestrian crossing points installed and the roadway resurfaced. A taxi rank would be removed and the Dublin bike scheme would be extended to the zone. New street lighting and furniture would be installed and tree planting undertaken.

Most of the proposals have received support, with the exception of the pedestrianisation plans.

"Put in broader footpaths and cycleways separate from the road and you achieve everything you want to achieve without creating dangerous rat- runs," said Mr Binchy.

While Google's bridge plans are separate, some believe the combined effect will be to create a company compound.