Dublin Chamber, the group which represents businesses in the Dublin region, has expressed concern over the lack of clarity regarding how traffic will move around the city once the new Luas line opens later this year.
The Chamber, reacting to the publication today of new proposals for a pedestrian plaza on College Green, said the piecemeal approach to traffic planning in the city is causing great concern for businesses in the city and is making it difficult for firms to plan for the future.
Dublin Chamber has re-iterated its call for Dublin City Council to publicly publish details of how the proposed changes will impact on traffic movements in the wider city centre. The Chamber said that the proposed changes are likely to impact on traffic across the entire city, beyond the M50.
According to Graeme McQueen, Head of Public Affairs at Dublin Chamber: "In principal, the creation of a pedestrian plaza on College Green could be great for the city. However, a lot of questions remain about how College Green - and other areas of the city centre - will work in practice once the proposed changes are introduced. Crucially, uncertainty remains as to whether the traffic which will be pushed out of College Green can be accomodated on other already congested city centre streets. Re-imagining College Green represents an exciting opportunity for Dublin - but only if we get it right. But, get it wrong and the consequence will be that people won't want to come in to the city centre - neither by bus nor by car. The Council says it has done modelling work to show what impact the displacement of cars will have. This data should be made publicly available."
The Chamber said it is concerned by plans to make key areas of the city centre car-free, without a corresponding increase in public transport investment.
Mr McQueen added: "If the best transport plan for College Green ends up creating a large pedestrian plaza in the heart of the city that rivals that of any city in Europe, that would be a win-win. But it is vital that we don't lose sight of the fact that College Green is a key artery for public transport and must continue to work as such. The changes to College Green will have a significant impact on all modes of transport which operate in the city centre. Over 150m public transport journeys are made annually into and out of Dublin city centre from across Dublin and the surrounding counties. The creation of a pedestrian plaza in College Green is a nice to have but is ultimately it is a by-product of what must be a workable transport solution."