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Almost all gates to Phoenix Park to remain open to traffic following public consultation

The OPW had proposed plans “to reduce through traffic over the medium to long term”.

Phoenix Park, Dublin
Phoenix Park, Dublin
Image: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

ALMOST ALL GATES to Dublin’s Phoenix Park are to remain open and fully accessible to vehicles following a public consultation. 

In January, the Office of Public Works (OPW) published a report suggesting change in how the landmark green space in the heart of the city is used. 

The OPW had proposed plans “to reduce through traffic over the medium to long term”. 

The Phoenix Park Transport and Mobility Options study was ordered after controversy over the reopening of side gates to car traffic during the summer of 2020 after Covid-19 restrictions were eased.

A public consultation process took place over six weeks between 29 January and 12 March. Over 2,200 submissions were received. 

Despite calls to reduce traffic through the park, the post-consultation report published today outlines a plan to keep all gates open and fully accessible as per normal operations with the exception of the Cabra Gate. 

As part of a pilot bus service initiative, it’s planned that the Cabra Gate will be accessible by bus only during the pilot period. 

A pilot bus service running from Heuston Station via Parkgate Street, Chesterfield Avenue, Cabra Gate to Broombridge Station, is now planned, subject to funding. 

There was a proposal to create a number of cul-de-sacs surrounding the park in a bid to reduce traffic. 

Today’s report sets out that plans for a cul-de-sac on the North Road will not go ahead. 

The report says: “As a result of the feedback received during the consultation, the North Road proposal will now be piloted as a one-way route from Cabra Gate to Garda HQ. Car parking will be maintained on the North Road. This will allow for comprehensive studies to be undertaken and reviewed.” 

The proposed cul-de-sac for the Upper Glen Road is to proceed on a pilot basis subject to data collection and review. 

The consultation report found that some 74% of people supported the view that the Phoenix Park roads “are primarily for people visiting and working in the park”. 

However, it says: “While the public supported the Movement Principles in general, some feedback suggested that traffic congestion may occur, particular in Castleknock and Chapelizod villages”. 

“Accordingly, the Ashtown Gate will remain two-way in the medium term until further studies are undertaken.” 

Walking and cycling improvement projects are also set to be implemented. 

Speed limits and parking

A 30km/h speed limit is to be introduced within the Phoenix Park. 

The report outlines that “concerns were raised with regard to the lack of parking within the park”. 

“However, it is noted that there are currently in excess of 2,000 surfaced parking spaces spread throughout the park including Farmleigh,” the report says. 

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“Given the high profile of the visitor attractions within the park and the need for some parking provision, a Parking Strategy will be commissioned for the Phoenix Park and surrounding areas in Q4 2021.” 

In addition, a review of the legislation pertaining to the by-laws of the Phoenix Park is to be undertaken with regard to the regulation of parking within the park. 

Speaking to The Journal following the publication of the report today, Green Party councillor Michael Pidgeon said it’s “a mixed bag” outcome. 

“There’s some great stuff in there around cycling and walking, the speed limit is welcome,” Pidgeon said. 

“A lot of the stuff that was long overdue that we’ve put a lot of pressure on is getting done,” he said. 

“But the disappointing bit I think is where there were slightly harder choices,” Pidgeon added. 

“They were around the changes to two of the gates that are not now going ahead. They said they’re going to defer them, but the only timeline we have for that is three to seven years, so I think it’s reasonable to be skeptical enough.” 

In a statement today, Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW Patrick O’Donovan said: ”I am delighted at the level of interaction and engagement by members of the public and key stakeholders during the consultation on the Phoenix Park Transport and Mobility Options Study.

“I have listened to the feedback and I am determined to implement the revised recommendations in the report which will help safeguard all users of the park for generations to come.” 

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