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The New College Green


Before the proposed changes


The New College Green

Dublin – Dublin City Centre  is known for its high traffic congestion levels and it is predicted that by the year 2023 morning journeys into the inner city will have risen with an additional 42,000 motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. College Green is to become a new landmark civic space and is situated in front of the gates of Trinity College.

It is a centre and main-crossing point for pedestrians, buses, cyclists and taxis, thus experiencing the majority of this congestion. Entering the inner city, almost every bus, taxi, tourist and pedestrian, and cyclist, will cross here at some point during the day as they make their way to work or places like Grafton Street, St. Stephen’s Green or O’Connell Street.

It is an area that has to be accessed when you go to Temple Bar, Dame Street and of course, Trinity College itself; these locations are huge tourist attractions, with famous landmarks across the perimeter. There are only two “traffic wardens” there at present to deal with this amount of congestion daily, sometimes only one.

In June 2015 the National Transport Authority and Dublin City Council published their joint “Dublin City Centre Transport Study”. This study was a set of proposals that suggests plans to curb the congestion in the College Green area and to improve overall movement for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users (bus, taxi and Luas goers).

In addition to the present traffic that College Green is experiencing, the Luas Cross City will be added to this, creating more traffic in the future. Towards the end of 2017 Luas Cross City services will commence. This service will pass through College Green, and has already re-designed the present street space in the College Green area.

The study found that because of the amount of traffic and congestion College Green experience, it can’t be enjoyed by tourists who visit the city in a qualitative manner; decreasing the value and quality of business in the area. The plan is to direct vehicular traffic away from the City Centre, but to facilitate vehicular access to the city for retail and commercial reasons, provided enough parking space is created.

It has been suggested that public transport only, will eventually serve the city, and that pedestrians will have more space to move around in once the footpaths are widened. Public transport is predicted to increase in the next few years and therefore the operational time period of the College Green Bus Gate will be extended in the near future.

The College Green Bus Gate was  introduced in 2009 to help motorists out of the area during peak-hours. One problem though, the narrow footpaths causes congestion for pedestrians, tourists and shoppers. There are always people waiting on busses and the lack of space makes it difficult for other pedestrians to get to their destinations comfortably.

Wider footpaths have been suggested once the one-traffic-lane plan is put in place; that additional space can be used for wider footpaths.

The proposed extension of the time period of the College Green Bus Gate means that Westmoreland Street will cease  to be a rough route for car traffic. Currently cars are prohibited from using the lanes during the hours of 7am and 10am and 4pm and 7pm, this will be extended to 24 hours prohibiting taxis, cars and vans from using College Green and Dame Street. Note: some allowance will be made to facilitate deliveries.

Westmoreland Street leads into College Green, from College Green you enter Grafton Street on the right of Trinity College and Suffolk Street opens to you right where Lower Grafton Street meets Nassau and Suffolk Street. Suffolk Street meets Church Lane on the right and leads back to College Green.

At present Grafton Street Lower and Church Lane are two carriageways that still have a lot of buses using the two lanes. The idea will be to reroute some of these bus services and allow for the two lanes to be used for cyclists instead. One traffic-lane in each direction on College Green Street and Dame Street has been suggested. With only public transport using the area and less traffic, two lanes would be unnecessary; this change will create additional space for wider footpaths.

Suffolk Street is in the process of being pedestrianised, and buses and vehicles can’t enter there anymore. All of these changes will provide pedestrians that come and go from the north side of the city with a safer space to move around in when they make their way to shopping and tourist attractions in the Grafton, St. Stephens’s Green, O’Connell and Temple Bar area. It will be a safer and more attractive environment for pedestrians once finished.

College Green has a lack of “safe-space” for cyclists and not much thought up to now has gone into solving this problem. More people are enjoying cycling into work and use DublinBikes these days. The idea is to re-design cycling routes that connects Westmoreland Street and D’Olier Street to Dame Street in a safer way.

All of these suggested changes to College Green will slow down the congestion of traffic, create space to move around in, look better and become a safer environment for tourists and pedestrians who wants to enjoy the many attractions Dublin has to offer.

The National Transport Authority has invested €150 million to make these changes to the city and will be aiming to get all of it done by 2023, that is eight more years in waiting, but so far so good. The Luas Cross City looks like it is almost on track, pedestrianised lanes like Suffolk Street are already operational as pedestrianised areas (even though it is only barricaded off from traffic and still looks like a street, not a pedestrianised footpath), and eight years is plenty of time to achieve a set of proposals that suggest roadworks and brick-laying; with no traffic leading into College Green as such, there will be plenty of space to finish this project.

I am excited, I love walking, hate waiting on traffic lights, and can’t say I enjoy being bumped into by those daydreaming-iPod users. Walking straight over to Grafton Street to grab some McDonalds without accidents or incidents is something I’m looking forward to.

One Response

  1. Tom Grey says:

    Good piece Jacqueline

    Dublin really needs to move towards being a more cycle and pedestrian friendly city with good public transport if we want any quality of life at all in what is to become a more highly populated city. This approach will also support a healthy and age-friendly city as we move towards an ageing society.

    Thanks again for the informative article.

    Tom Grey

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