More streets to be closed to traffic in coming years, says RyanGary Ibbotson 26 Oct 2022
More streets throughout Dublin will be closed to traffic and be reallocated to accommodate cyclists and pedestrians over the next three years, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has confirmed.
The measures are among 35 “pathfinder” projects designed to transform public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure in 19 counties.
Speaking last week, Minister Ryan said the phased removal of cars from College Green will begin next year ahead of the development of a new civic plaza.
He also said that “major changes” will be made on areas north and south of the quays such as Gardiner Street, Dorset Street, Beresford Place, Tara Street, and St Stephen’s Green.
The wide multi-laned one-way traffic routes on several Dublin streets were no longer appropriate for the city, Minister Ryan said.
“I think it is absolutely right for us to say that within three years we’re going to move away from the current system, which is all about getting cars through the city, towards something that’s much more favourable to public transport, public realm, and pedestrians and cyclists,” he said.
Apart from College Green and Dame Street, the changes being advanced would not result in a “car ban — not completely.
“We need to take that road space and use it to make a better public environment a safer place to walk and cycle,” he said.
“The car has its place but it’s not in multi-lane motorway systems through our city centre.”
The 35 pathfinder projects throughout the country have been allocated funding largely through the National Transport Authority’s active travel grants.
However, Minister Ryan said that due to the “tight funding environment,” some projects will not secure the funding needed.
Minister Ryan asked the local Dublin authorities to “be fast, be brave, be bold,” claiming that fewer cars on the roads can “totally transform” Dublin and elsewhere.
He said that an implementation team would be assigned to oversee the councils progress and would hold their “feet to the fire” to ensure that deadlines are being met.
Dublin City Council has recently given updates on ongoing active travel projects in north west Dublin which aim to encourage cycling and walking in the area.
Upgrades to the Jamestown Road and St Margaret’s Road roundabouts in Finglas are currently in the tender assessment phase while the Finglas Village scheme, which includes the construction of more cycle lanes in the village, is in the detailed design stage.
The Glasnevin to Clontarf Cycling and Walking Scheme and the Cabra to Blanchardstown Cycling and Walking Scheme are in the later stages of planning.
Work on two projects, the Finglas to Killester Cycling and Walking Scheme, and the Santry to Poppintree Cycling and Walking Scheme have not yet begun, says the council.
Fianna Fail councillor for the Ballymun and Finglas area, Keith Connolly says that the update is welcome but the progress of the projects must match the amount of money spent on them so far.
“We need to see urgent progress on the Finglas Roundabout scheme,” he said.
“Over €1 million was provided to these schemes over two years ago by the government and the NTA yet we have seen very little progress.
“The current roundabouts at Lidl on St Margaret’s Road and the Jamestown Roundabout are very dangerous, particularly for pedestrians trying to cross.
“These roundabouts will be replaced by signalised pedestrian crossings in the new plans, but the progress is very slow.”
“The timeline for the other projects is understandably long, particularly for Finglas Village which won’t be completed until mid-2024 at the earliest.
“However, I think it needs to be done properly in conjunction with local residents and with a period of consultation as the traffic in the village at the moment is chronic, especially at the five arm junction during rush hour,” he said.