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Concern that too many taxis could 'clutter' the new College Green civic plaza

Taxis are to be allowed drive on the bus and tram corridor at the planned College Green.

college 4 Design for the Luas corridor. Source: Dublin City Council

CONCERNS HAVE BEEN raised that the decision to allow taxis drive on the Luas line at the planned College Green civic plaza could “clutter” the proposed public amenity.

Plans for the completely revamped space were presented by Dublin City Council earlier this week with a decision by An Bord Pleanála expected in October.

There will be no space for vehicles on the plaza in front of the Bank of Ireland building, but buses and Luas trams will be able to move along the route in front of Trinity College towards Lower Grafton Street and Nassau Street.

In preliminary decision however, it was decided that taxis will also be able to use this route.

At the public meeting at the DCC offices on Wood Quay this decision was questioned.

dcc 3 The traffic flow plan for College Green. Source: Dublin City Council

Environmentalist Duncan Stewart said that taxis have been given too much freedom in Dublin city.

“In my view taxis are going to clutter and cause a lot of pollution and a lot of upset for the whole enjoyment of that civic space,” he told TheJournal.ie.

You know taxis are not a sustainable form or transport, and we have to recognise that. And we’ve given too much freedom to taxis in the city centre. I’m not try to say no to taxis, I’m not knocking taxis, they have a service to provide and they and it’s important, but they shouldn’t be in this area. There’s no need for them in that space.

If permission for the plans are granted, the plaza is not likely to be completed until early 2019 at the earliest.

At present, the decision to allow taxis to use the bus and tram corridor at College Green has been granted on a trial basis.

DCC’s traffic management plan for the area states that the decision following the taxi trial would be based on whether taxis impede bus or Luas operations.

A taxi rank currently at College Green would be moved further west on Dame Street.

Home Help Protests Taxis in line at O'Connell street, Dublin city centre. Source: Wanderley Massafelli/Photocall Ireland

Addressing Stewart’s concerns at the public meeting, Brendan O’Brien of the DCC’s traffic department said the “valuable” service provided by taxis must be considered.

“What we’ve said about the taxis on the Luas is that we would allow taxis on but we would examine it to see if it’s actually feasible,” he said.

This space is used at different times for different purposes. Taxis in the city centre, while you could argue there are too many taxis, you can’t argue about the fact that they provide a valuable social service to people getting home and also to people’s general safety. So you can’t just ignore them.

“We could have to look to see if they would need to be restricted, whether it’s restricted during the day or permanently,” he added.

In response, Stewart said that taxis should absolutely be allowed nearby but that allowing them actually at College Green itself was unnecessary. He also wasn’t in favour of the idea of restricting them only to certainly times of the day.

“Really there’s no need for them in that space, I think once you let them in it’s hard to get them out,” he added.

Read: Get stressed out sitting in traffic jams? One TD says it’s impacting on people’s quality of life >

Read: Plans for the new Civic Plaza at College Green will be submitted in March >

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Rónán Duffy

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