Artists impressions courtesy of Dublin City Council
AA Ireland has cautiously welcomed plans submitted by Dublin City Council to convert College Green in Dublin into a car-free, pedestrianised plaza. If planning permission is granted, the project will see traffic funnelled away from the busy city centre thoroughfare in favour of a large, tree-lined and granite-paved space. Work could begin in January 2018, and it is expected to take a year to complete.
Director of Consumer Affairs, Conor Faughnan, 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.”
Under the plans, buses, taxis and the new Luas Cross City trams will be confined to a north-south corridor at the western end, in front of Trinity College. A new cycle route will stretch along the northern flank in front of the Ulster Bank and connect with existing cycle lanes to the east and west. At the eastern end, a new turning circle will be used by buses travelling west along Dame St. They will then be diverted down adjacent streets away from College Green.
Dublin City Council say that the existing trees will be removed and 22 new trees will be planted. The Henry Grattan and Thomas Davis monuments will be restored and maintained, though the Thomas Davis monument will be moved slightly west of its current position.
The new plaza will also feature an open water sculpture comprising 32 individual water jets, and be used for large events and public occasions, with a capacity of 15,000 people.
The new plans come just as the city gears up for the final six months of the Luas Cross City project, which has caused significant disruption in the city centre since work began in June 2013. There’s also the question of what the changes during and after construction will mean for traffic congestion in surrounding areas.
Conor Faughnan added: “While redesigning this space into a pedestrian and cycle-friendly area could have a number of benefits for city, the way in which these changes will impact traffic cannot be ignored or reduced to an afterthought.
“These changes, if approved, will affect private and public transport within Dublin city centre and 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.”
We’d love your views on the plans – do you like the look of the new plaza? Would you use it? What effect do you think it will have on the city centre? Leave a comment below or on Facebook.