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Capel Street

Dublin City Council committee votes to make Capel Street permanently closed to cars

Dublin City Council made the street traffic free in May of this year.

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL’S Central Area Committee has voted in favour of making the pedestrianisation of Capel Street permanent.

The vote will now go forward to a meeting of the wider council.

Dublin City Council made the northside thoroughfare traffic-free in May of this year and it is the longest pedestrianised street in the capital.

Eight councillors voted in favour of making the change permanent today, with two voting against and one abstention. The vote was called following a discussion of a report on the progress of various improvements on the pedestrianised street, including new benches and plans for crossing points.

Cllr Cat O’Driscoll said: “A lot of what’s in this report is about making Capel Street and its surrounding areas accessible.”

She added that public opinion is “we want to have a traffic-free street.”

A public consultation on the pedestrianisation of Capel Street earlier this year found that the vast majority of respondents said their experience of the street has improved since it was closed to vehicle traffic.

The report says that, following a tender process, a landscape architect has been invited to design an interim improvement scheme for the street.

O’Driscoll said it was “regrettable” that it took so long to appoint a landscape architect. “I’m very excited to see their work, and we’ll be engaging with their workshops quite actively.”

Cllr Nial Ring opposed the vote taking place: “We should just clarify it once and for all [but] I don’t think should be foisted on us by the chair.”

He also said he had seen the street used “like a race track” by cyclists and scooter users.

Cllr Darcy Lonergan, the Deputy Lord Mayor, said in response that issues with scooters were not a result of the pedestrianisation scheme, but “a problem with human beings”.

“I think the scheme itself, we can all agree, it’s kind of working,” she said.

Cllr Joe Costello said that it was quite expensive to close the road to traffic, and a solution where it was accessible to traffic some days, and pedestrianised on other days, should be considered.

Chair of the committee Cllr Ray MacAdam said there had been extensive discussion on the issue, and warned that the agendas for upcoming meetings were already packed: “There is sufficient information there … Let’s get on with it. I am pushing for a vote.”

Despite some objections that a vote on making the street permanently banned to cars was not on the agenda, a vote was held and passed.

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