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Luas works 'will drive away city centre shoppers'

A BACKLASH has begun against planned St Stephen's Green traffic restrictions with fears shopping districts will be hit.

City councillors have expressed concerns that the proposals will restrict access to capital's key Grafton Street area.

The changes to traffic flows are being planned to allow for work to begin on the new cross-city Luas line.

The 5.6km route, known as Luas BXD, will link the existing city Red and Green lines and extend out to Broombridge railway station in Dublin 7.

The Railway Procurement Agency (RPA), which is overseeing the €370m scheme, said every care will be taken to ensure the impact on motorists, residents and businesses is minimised.



Dramatic

While the main construction phase will not start until 2015, a series of rolling enabling projects beginning within months will hit drivers.

But councillors are far from convinced the traffic flow alterations will work.

Fine Gael's Paddy McCartan said the changes will be "fairly dramatic", adding that they will "discourage cars coming into the city centre at all".

"We have to be very careful about the implications of this," he warned.

Labour councillor Oisin Quinn said his concern is the difficulty that will be created for people getting to the Grafton Street core, "which is really vital for the city".

His party colleague Mary Freehill said the removal of a taxi rank on Dawson Street is a "huge facility" which will be lost.

The changes are due to be implemented within months. One of the most dramatic will be the removal of buses and cars from Dawson Street.

On St Stephen's Green North, all traffic will be removed, as well as all parking spaces, between Grafton Street and Kildare Street.

Kildare Street, currently one way, will become two-way.

Turning left from Kildare Street onto the St Stephen's Green, traffic will be reduced to one lane heading to Merrion Row.

Heading west along St Stephen's Green, there will be one general traffic lane turning right onto Kildare Street.

Coming from Hume Street, cars will be able to turn right only onto St Stephen's Green, while buses can turn left.

From St Stephen's Green, buses will turn left onto Leeson Street or go straight ahead to Earlsfort Terrace.

BXD will begin as a double-track line from St Stephen's Green but will split into a single-track at the bottom of Dawson Street as the route is designed to go in a loop around the city centre.

comurphy@herald.ie


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