‘Bus gates’ on Dublin quays to be implemented in August

Bachelors Walk and Aston Quay will be restricted to public transport only, says council’s head of traffic

The first measures of the Dublin City Centre Transport Plan, which will restrict motorists driving “through” instead of “to” the city centre, will be introduced in August, Dublin City Council’s head of traffic has confirmed.

“Bus gates” on Bachelors Walk and Aston Quay along the river Liffey 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”, Brendan O’Brien told city councillors.

The bus gates will end the use of the quays as a “watery dual carriageway”, he said, and will “quite dramatically reduce private cars” in the city.

More than 80 per cent of submissions to a consultation process on the draft plan late last year supported its aim to end the dominance of cars on the city’s streets and reallocate road space from private vehicles to buses, cyclists and pedestrians.

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Mr O’Brien acknowledged concerns had been raised by some businesses and car users, including disabled drivers in relation to plan. However, he said the changes amounted to a number of “small area traffic management measures” which would be necessary to facilitate measures such as BusConnects and the Metro.

“We’re not suggesting for a second the city centre will be cut off, that there’d be no access and that nobody could cross north to south. All the bridges will still be open, it’s just some specific targeted measures to really reduce the amount of through traffic,” he said.

Once the changes were in place, people’s “mind map will change”, he said, and cars and delivery vans will still be able to access the city. He said “this plan is to reduce through traffic not cut off access”.

Several councillors said they had been approached by disabled parking permit holders who want to continue to drive through Bachelors Walk and Aston Quay.

However, Mr O’Brien said the Roads Acts allowed “no derogation to any traffic regulations”. He referenced pedestrian streets such as Grafton Street which did not permit use by any drivers.

“To allow disabled permit parking holders access to every street in Dublin is not feasible or legal under the current traffic regulations,” he said.

Guinness brewer Diageo had urged the council not to block its traditional “historic” route to Dublin Port by removing its lorries from the north and south quays.

Mr O’Brien said it was continuing to talk to Diageo to “find a solution” for the Guinness truck movements.

Speaking to The Irish Times in recent days, city council chief executive Richard Shakespeare, who was appointed last December, said the bus gates were “fundamentally positive” and the plan was necessary to achieving climate goals.

“If I can facilitate that by making it a little more difficult for motorists,” he said, “well then that’s exactly what I’ll do”.

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