IRELAND’S NATIONAL PLANNING body has delivered a blow to the project seeking to pedestrianise College Green in Dublin city centre.
An Bord Pleanála was scheduled to outline its stance on the plans by 2 November. However, it has delayed its decision and directed that the period of public consultation about the project need to be extended.
Earlier this year, Dublin City Council (DCC) was instructed to provide more details to the planning organisation about the project to restrict the flow of traffic through a section of Dame Street on College Green.
An Bord Pleanála specifically stated that it required more details about the “wider implications” of these plans to ban motor vehicles from the busy road and the effect this would have on traffic in the city as a whole.
This information was supplied by DCC, and An Bord Pleanála has now ruled that interested parties need to be allowed time to review the ”significant additional data”.
The council will be required to advertise the extra information and take on board further submissions from the public.
Transport bodies such as Dublin Bus and the National Transport Authority (NTA) objected to the plan. Local business owners also said they were concerned that the plans could impact trade.
Dublin Chamber, which represents over 1,300 companies, has welcomed An Bord Pleanála’s decision to investigate how a pedestrianised College Green will affect traffic flow throughout the city.
“In principle, the creation of a pedestrian plaza on College Green could be great for the city,” said a spokesman for Dublin Chamber.
“However, a lot of questions remain about how College Green – and other areas of the city centre – will work in practice once the proposed changes are introduced.
Last month, a survey from Dublin Chamber claimed that data released by the NTA to show the success of new traffic measures for Dublin’s quays is at odds with rising commute times across the city.
The NTA claimed that some bus journey times on the quays are up to 45% quicker following the roll out of the bus prioritisation measures in the past few weeks.
Dublin Chamber said the data is at odds with journey times across the capital and highlighted that only 2% of respondents to its survey said there was an improvement in their commute time to and from work since the traffic changes on the quays took effect.
The plans to pedestrianise College Green were flagged by DCC in October 2016 when it revealed details about the €10 million project.
It was originally intended that the civic space would be in place before the Luas Cross City began operations, which are scheduled to begin later this year.
The new plans for College Green would see the area resurfaced with a granite paved space and trees lining the area. The council also intended to put in place a central water feature.
Although motor vehicles will be banned from the space, it is intended that bicycle lanes will be installed to facilitate some traffic through College Green.