Dublin city centre traffic: Pause new measures to limit cars pending review, employers say

Employers group says time is needed to examine how traffic restrictions would interact with construction of Metrolink and outcome for new city centre taskforce

A dramatic overhaul of how traffic is managed in Dublin set to begin later this summer should be paused to allow for an urgent examination of how the proposals will interact with other plans to rejuvenate the city centre such as the new taskforce for Dublin city centre and the construction of the Metrolink, employers group Ibec has said.

The Dublin City Centre Transport Plan being implemented by Dublin City Council aims to reduce the dominance of cars on the city’s streets by removing “traffic that has no destination in the city”.

According to the council, almost two out of every three motorists are passing through rather than stopping in the city. The first measures, “bus gates” on Bachelors Walk and Aston Quay restricting passage to public transport only, as well as a ban on private traffic turning left from Westland Row on to Pearse Street, will be implemented in early August.

Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, said “significant questions still exist on how the plans will affect access to the city centre at a time where footfall is reduced, and safety concerns remain high”.

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It suggested “not enough consideration had been given to its impact on businesses operating within city centre”.

In an assessment released on Monday, it called for “further detailed consultation with affected businesses”.

Aidan Sweeney, Ibec’s head of infrastructure and environmental sustainability, said a “thriving, and dynamic city centre is what we’re all aiming for, and this will involve significant changes to transport in and around the city centre”.

He said the proposed traffic changes do not adequately reflect the reality of businesses operating within the city centre. “These businesses are critical to the life and vibrancy of the city centre, creating employment and footfall, whilst also attracting shoppers, visitors, and tourists,” he added.

He suggested the proposed traffic changes have been developed independently of other initiatives that were also aimed at developing a thriving city centre.

“We are calling on Dublin City Council to pause any implementation of the plan to provide for a comprehensive engagement with stakeholders within the city centre on how such proposals will work alongside recommendations from the new taskforce for Dublin city centre. We must also factor in the construction of the Metrolink into the discussion.

“Dialogue is needed now to minimise disruption to the city centre during the lengthy construction phase. If Dublin is seen as difficult to access for shoppers, visitors, businesses, and staff, it will adversely impact the economic and social life of the city. In short, we need a city that works now and into the future.”

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