The €8m proposal to transform College Green into a pedestrian and cycle plaza will not be finished before the end of 2018, Dublin City Council (DCC) has said. Initially, it was anticipated that the construction would be finalised by summer 2017, around the same time as the completion of the Luas Cross City. The plan would ban all vehicles from passing through College Green and would see only pedestrians and cyclists allowed from Church Lane to Lower Grafton Street.
The council’s original plans were to pursue the construction under it’s own “in-house” planning process. However, following a public consultation, it emerged that a number of businesses and companies were in opposition to the proposal. DCC have now decided that they will submit the plans to An Bord Pleanála for their approval, delaying the timeline. The council hopes to make the submission to the board by March 2017. If the board allows the construction to go ahead, the pedestrianised plaza will be completed by the end of 2018 at the earliest but could continue into the early months of 2019. “If the scheme is approved, it will take approximately a year to construct,” architect Ali Grehan told The Irish Times.
Also speaking to the Irish Times, Brendan O’Brien, Head of Technical Services at DCC, stated that he expected An Bord Pleanála to announce their verdict on the application by the end of next year. He asserts that, if the board does indeed decide to accept the plans proposed by the council, the road adaptions required to accommodate the Luas could be done “simply and easily overnight.”
However, if An Bord Pleanála does not accept the proposal, the council will be forced to implement their own traffic management powers which do not include removing buses travelling to and from Dame Street.
In a consultation on the plaza, which can be viewed on the DCC website, the council outlined the proposed traffic management changes, as well as several maps showing the routes which the Luas and the public buses would take. DCC also describe the benefits of the scheme, which include allowing “easy access to public transport,” removing “conflicting traffic movements” and leaving signaling arrangements “simplified and more efficient.” The website also outlines how pedestrians will have a “large area to allow unhindered movement between the main retail areas and the pedestrian link to Trinity College [will be] simplified.”
A public workshop will be held on November 16 in order to put forward potential designs for the plaza. Speaking to TheJournal.ie, O’Brien said: “We are interested [in] what people would like to see in College Green or what their view (are). If this space was available, what way could it be used – that’s the theme of that event, so it’s not looking at traffic management or bus routes,” he explains. The ideas that emerge from this workshop will be passed onto the design team, who will be selected in December.