In May this year, plans were revealed for a complete revamp of College Green in Dublin city centre, to turn it from the busy thoroughfare that it is today into a pedestrianised, tree-lined ‘plaza’.
The AA has given the plans a cautious welcome; recognising the benefits that it would bring to the city centre environment while also urging Dublin City Council to think carefully about the impact of displaced traffic in the surrounding area.
Conor Faughnan, AA Ireland Director of Consumer Affairs, said: “It has the potential to be terrific for the city – I think all citizens can see that. But at the same time the management of displaced public and private transport has to be handled sensitively.
“The way in which these changes will impact traffic cannot be ignored or reduced to an afterthought. It is incumbent on Dublin City Council to consider how displaced traffic will be managed and minimise any negative fallout on businesses in the area and those commuting to and from work.”
A spokesperson for the council has responded by saying that displaced traffic during and after the construction period will be accommodated by the “existing road space” nearby, and that road users will be alerted to diversions as early as possible. They added: “A signage strategy is currently being developed to ensure all road users know how best to access and traverse the city.”
As for the impact of the displaced traffic on surrounding areas, they said: “Arup Consulting Engineers were appointed to carry out a full Environmental Impact Assessment of the proposals, on College Green itself and on the surrounding areas.
“We are satisfied that the Environmental Impact Statement submitted as part of our planning application fully addresses the issues of displaced traffic and pollution and raises no cause for concern.”
The plans for College Green were submitted to An Bord Pleanála on May 18th, with a decision expected towards the end of the year. If approval is granted, it is expected that work will begin in late 2017 or early 2018, and take 12-18 months to complete.
That timescale means that work on College Green could begin immediately after the Luas Cross City project is completed in December, after four-and-a-half years of works along a 6km route through the city centre and northside – including College Green itself.
However, the DCC spokesperson sought to allay fears that the works on College Green would be similarly disruptive: “The construction of College Green cannot be compared to that of Luas Cross City,” they said. “While there will be some disruption during the College Green works, it will be managed and contained and every effort will be made to keep it to a minimum.”
For more on Dublin, here’s our Luas Cross City blog.