Updated at 13.24
PROPOSED CAR-FREE zones in Dublin city centre could be extended to include north side retail streets as well as their south side counterparts.
The Herald reports that Dublin Lord Mayor Oisín Quinn has proposed to introduce a car-free zone one Sunday a month in the city centre, temporarily pedestrianising some roads and allowing markets and stalls to be set-up.
It follows a Grafton Street Quarter review published last month which said there was an “overwhelming call for pedestrianisation” in the city centre.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Lord Major Quinn said that this scheme, likely to be introduced next spring if approved, could potentially be extended to see areas around Henry Street, and towards Wolf Tone Square and Capel Street, closed off to traffic on these Sundays between 11am and 5pm.
He called it the “other logical zone” for such a measure, and that some of the streets were “in need of reanimation”.
This would be in addition to certain roads between Dawson Street and Georges Street, and around Stephens Green, on the south side.
Traffic would be diverted to surrounding streets during the closures, with some access allowed to car parks.
Connect retail districts
Westmoreland Street could also be temporarily pedestrianised in a bid to connect the north and south retail districts of the city centre.
Westmoreland Street (Image Credit: Google Maps)
“Westmoreland Street doesn’t’ work well enough. That and D’Olier Street are neglected, and extremely traffic dominated as they are essentially four lane highways.”
“Making it pedestrianised could provide pedestrians a link between the north and south core retail zones, as currently they generally don’t cross over between them.”
Lord Mayor Quinn said that car-free zones have grown popular in Latin American countries after Columbia introduced the measure, known as ciclovía, in Bogata.
“It also becoming popular in some cities in Europe as it draws people in to the city centre,” the Lord Mayor said, “and it has been the experience of local businesses that it draws more people in the area”.
When you close the roads and set-up a pop-up bike repair stand or sell some home-grown vegetables, a vibrant festival atmosphere becomes apparent. People appreciate the extra space and really love it extended.
He stressed that the temporary closures are a low-cost measure, and could highlight where €14 million in available funding for the Grafton Street Quarter should be spent.
By temporarily pedestrianising certain areas, it allows the council flexibility to experiment with different combinations of streets to see what works best, he explained.