DLR recommends to permanently pedestrianise George’s StreetGary Ibbotson 03 Jun 2022
Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has recommended to local councillors that Lower George’s Street be permanently pedestrianised from next summer onwards.
Last week, the council told stakeholders that the pedestrianisation scheme will be introduced as part of a wider regeneration project for the entirety of George’s Street and Myrtle Square.
The works will include footpath restoration, public seating, trees and planters and the full redevelopment of Myrtle Square.
It is understood that the project will be filed as a Part 8 planning application by October 1.
A report will also be drafted to include solutions to outstanding issues such as the location of bus stops, hospital access, traffic management, business deliveries, car parking, and cycle infrastructure improvements.
Once the Part 8 and a public consultation are complete, councillors will then be asked to vote on the project.
If passed, detailed construction plans will be drawn up and a contract for tender will issued.
If all goes to plan, the council expects the scheme to be implemented by summer 2023.
Fine Gael councillor for Dun Laoghaire Lorraine Hall says she is “very supportive” of the proposal and says “it will transform Dun Laoghaire town.”
“It creates an attractive town centre for young and old and gives businesses the best opportunity to thrive in the long term,” she says.
She also says that there are “outstanding issues that need to be addressed, including the best location for bus stops, ensuring hospital access, and better traffic management around the town.”
Last summer, the local authority introduced a trial pedestrianisation period for the street which ran from July until the end of September.
A public consultation at the time found that more than two thirds of respondents were in favour of closing a portion of the street to traffic permanently.
Green Party councillor Tom Kivlehan says the reintroduction of traffic on Georges Street over a decade ago was a mistake and says the redevelopment of Myrtle Square as a public venue will only work if pedestrianisation is introduced.
“During the trial last year, people loved it,” he said.
“The vast majority of people were very happy with the way the street worked.
“However, if Myrtle Square is to be turned into a concert venue it would not be safe to have traffic driving directly beside it.”
Kivlehan says that George’s Street and Dun Laoghaire town will “flourish” and “footfall will increase” if pedestrianisation is permanently implemented.
“It will be to an advantage of the street,” he says.
Kivlehan also says that concerns raised by some local residents and businesses regarding accessibility will be addressed but believes the street will be well serviced.
“George’s Street is a small street so it is accessible,” he says.
“We got to remember that you couldn’t really park on the street anyway and there were only two loading bays either side.
“There is also a car park at Bloomfield Shopping Centre that can be used.”
Kivlehan says that towns around the country have largely benefitted from pedestrianising main streets and Dun Laoghaire will too.
“Pedestrianisation is better for kids, better for families, and better for people with disabilities,” he says.
Labour councillor Juliet O’Connell says she is also in favour of the scheme but believes that “things should be amended.”
“Things need to be tweaked to accommodate everybody – the trial was a success but not everybody was happy,” she says.
The move by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council comes after Dublin City Council permanently pedestrianised Capel Street in May.
New Street in Malahide has also been earmarked for pedestrianisation by Fingal County Council but the decision is currently the subject of a judicial review filed by residents and businesses opposed to the scheme.