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Dublin: 10°C Tuesday 28 September 2021

Traffic-free measures at Dublin's College Green to be reviewed after security barriers draw complaints

The council trialled the first of three traffic-free events in the area today.

Metal barriers cordon off a section of Dame Street this afternoon
Metal barriers cordon off a section of Dame Street this afternoon
Image: Stephen McDermott/TheJournal.ie

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL will review how it implements a traffic-free zone at College Green following concerns that security barriers negatively impacted a trial of pedestrianisation of the area.

The first of three twelve-hour traffic-free events took place on the city centre thoroughfare today, when the council held an event to showcase the potential of a pedestrian plaza in the area.

The idea was first proposed in 2016 and sought to ban all traffic in College Green, before being rejected by An Bord Pleanála last year over traffic concerns.

The council hasn’t abandoned plans for a permanent plaza and aims to lodge a fresh application with ABP this year.

Three events have been planned on consecutive Sundays to show the public what the council is planning.

However, many took to social media to complain about the large number of security barriers used to make the area traffic-free on the first event today.

Although the proposed plaza would extend from east to west between Trinity College and Anglsea Street, a large space between Fosters Place and Anglsea Street was initially ringfenced by barriers, preventing public access.

20190721_134214 Barriers ringfence an area on Dame Street during today's traffic free event. Source: Stephen McDermott/TheJournal.ie

Those barriers were subsequently removed this afternoon, but a section of Dame Street – which will not be pedestrianised under the council’s plans but was closed to traffic today – was also cordoned-off by security barriers for the duration of the event.

Green Party councillor Neasa Hourigan said that the number of barriers in the area outnumbered the amount of seats for members of the public.

“I’m delighted to see the pedestrianisation trial of College Green go ahead but security guards, thousands of metal barriers, pedestrians being refused access to the space and no cycle parking is not what I had in mind,” she tweeted.

In a statement to TheJournal.ie this evening, Dublin City Council said it was “very pleased” with the large number of people who attended today’s event, but added that a review of its arrangements would take place before next week’s event.

“Crowd safety and protection of pedestrian space is a priority for the City Council and the safe running of the event today is a tribute to all involved,” a spokeswoman said.

“We are pleased that the various bus diversions appeared to work well and we acknowledge the cooperation of the public transport providers in facilitating this event and especially An Garda Síochána for all their assistance and support.

“As this is the first of a series of events, all the agencies will have a scheduled review next week of the event.”

The next traffic-free event in the area will take place next Sunday from 7am to 7pm.

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