Words: Ellen Kenny
A timeline is forming to finally pedestrianise College Green.
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has confirmed to The Business Post that College Green will start becoming traffic-free from next year.
According to Ryan, two car lanes will be closed from 2023 in order to begin the transition. From 2024, they plan to “take through traffic out.”
Ryan envisions a “race track around Dublin” on the north and south quays of the city and roads on Beresford Place, Westmoreland Street, Pearse Street and St Stephen’s Green.
“All these wide one-way multi-lane streets which are designed for as many cars as possible, that is no longer the way to go,” Ryan told The Business Post, “Dublin City Council has committed to changing all that, to take the traffic out of the city centre.”
Responding to Ryan’s comments about College Green, a spokesman for the council said plans for the public realm plaza would bring about permanent change and redesign in the area over the next number of years.
While College Green may begin its traffic-free measures from next year, construction on the street cannot start until at least 2024. In July, Dublin City Council (DCC) terminated its contract with Paul Keogh Architects to design and construct the pedestrianised street.
According to DCC, the new plan to extend the traffic-free zone from the gates of Trinity College Dublin to end of Dame Street has forced them to terminate their current design contract. Finding a new architect and developing a new contract has delayed the process of redesigning the street.
Plans to pedestrianise College Green were first introduced in 2015. However, An Bord Pleanála rejected these plans in 2018. In December 2021, the Council announced new plans to start the process of pedestrianisation by 2024.
Under the plans, buses, taxis and cars will be banned from the plaza that will run from the gates of Trinity to the junction at Dame Street and South Great George’s Street.
The National Transport Authority have already published plans for a redesigned bus network for the city. The plans route buses away from the College Green and east Dame Street area to facilitate the plaza.
Dublin is one of few European cities without a large plaza. A 2018 study found that 60 per cent of Irish people want to pedestrianise the street, while 22 per cent are against it.
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