An Bord Pleanála have rejected a €10 million proposal from Dublin City council for a plaza at Dublin’s College Green due to the potential impact on bus routes and city-centre traffic. Concerns were also raised regarding safety and the board brought attention to “potential conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians, and of busses and emergency vehicles with both groups”.
Dublin City Council have been preparing the plans since 2015 and billed the project as a “landmark” opportunity to create civic-space in the centre of Dublin. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also tweeted his disappointment, adding that “hopefully Dublin City Council can work up a revised proposal”.
Dublin Bus had described the plans as “socially regressive” in limiting bus movement through the city centre. The report found that due to the “very small” levels of investment in Dublin’s transport infrastructure, plans to reroute buses along with quay were not appropriate. The board took the view that the impact on the bus system may have been so adverse as to negatively impact the “future role” of bus transport in reducing “public car usage in line with national policy”.
Dublin City Council’s original proposal described the move as essential to the smooth running of the Luas Green-line. The board was initially supposed to issue its ruling last November, one month before the cross-city Luas began operation. However, due to the large number of appeals against the plans, An Bord Pleanála decided to hold a public hearing and postpone their decision. A series of administrative problems saw the ruling pushed back even further until the decision was given almost a year later.
In a statement this afternoon DublinTown said that “While the development of the College Green Plaza, had significant merit” they recognised the concerns raised by An Bord Pleanála, specifically “the impacts on public transport and the ability of Dublin citizens to be able to access the city centre in a manner of their choosing.” They also said they remained hopeful that “there is significant opportunity to create a well-managed, world class civic space in Dublin City centre” and that they “still support the idea of a plaza in principle”.