Plan to make Dublin city centre car-free


RTÉ News has reported that a plan that would close off large sections of Dublin city centre to all private traffic is being considered.

Recommendations include the creation of a 'bus gate' area around College Green that would close off O'Connell Street, Westmoreland Street and Dame Street to all traffic except buses and taxis.

Chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport, Frank Fahey told RTÉ's Morning Ireland about a confidential draft report outlining the plan. Mr Fahey said closing city centre roads to private traffic would make way for a reliable, high-frequency bus service. He said this is the best way to ease city centre traffic congestion in the short-term.

The plan envisages 350 extra buses - with services running at 10 minute intervals off-peak and three minute intervals at peak times.

The closure could be implemented in April 2009 and includes a plan for private traffic flow around the city, involving the construction of two new bridges across the Liffey. There would be a temporary bridge at Macken Street and another at either Hawkins Street or Marlborough Street, to keep traffic from the car-free zone.

Dublin Chamber of Commerce says it is in favour of the plan - but, with the construction of Dublin's metro imminent, planning for the construction and implemention phase will be key.

Transport Minister Noel Dempsey will get  the draft report in the next ten days. After that, the Transport Committee will look at improving congenstion in Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford by making their city centres car-free.

Source - RTÉ News