January 15, 2021

Consultation on options for public realm improvements to Dame Street as part of the College Green project

Ciarán Cuffe, MEP for Dublin
Green Party Comhaontas Glas
The Tara Building
11-15 Tara Street, Dublin 2

Owen Keegan

Dublin City Council Chief Executive      

By email: collegegreen@dublincity.ie

Civic Offices, Wood Quay

Dublin 8, D08 RF3F

Re. Consultation on options for public realm improvements to Dame Street as part of the College Green project

Dear Mr. Keegan,

I write to express my support for Option 4 as detailed in Dublin City Council’s online consultation documents. This allows the entire area from South Great George’s Street to College Green to be  traffic-free outside of the hours from 6am to 11am. I note that the town of Pontevedra in Galicia in Spain has successfully removed vehicular traffic from much of its central area, and I believe Dublin can and should emulate its success. More specific concerns are detailed below.

It would also be appropriate to use locally sourced materials where appropriate, and to take into consideration their embodied carbon content with a view to minimising the carbon footprint of the built elements.

Heritage considerations

The Bank of Ireland and Trinity Collegeare important heritage buildings, and the subject area also includes significant Victorian and Modern buildings, as well as sculpture. There is an opportunity to reveal them to their best advantage, and also to ensure that tree planting does not block vistas as is currently the case

Green infrastructure and raised grassed areas

Many public realm improvement schemes in recent years such as the Grand Canal Plaza in Dublin’s Docklands area outside Rotterdam Central Station have incorporated significant areas of grassed surfaces in the form of raised areas of between half a metre or a meter above grade. It may be appropriate to incorporate similar areas within the scheme.

It would be useful to relocate the existing London Plane Trees from their existing position adjacent to the Henry Grattan Statue to a more appropriate location. Sensitive new tree planting would be appropriate, and perhaps native species could be incorporated, and perhaps some fruit or nut trees to allow for seasonal diversity.

Utility boxes, wiring, lighting, signage and seating

The devil is in the detail, and the debacle of ‘Luashenge’ which resulted in ill-considered placement of utility boxes in prominent locations in College Green needs to be addressed. It should be possible to place utility boxes in underground watertight chambers to ensure they do not disrupt the civic space. Ideally many of the luas support poles could be removed and replaced with direct fixings to buildings even including Protected Structures, as is the case with the Place Royale in Brussels, Belgium. Lighting also merits detailed design, and any submission to Bord Pleanála would benefit from the submission of  detailed nighttime perspective drawings.

Access for persons with disabilities.

It would be important that any car-free area has a height difference from areas that have unrestricted vehicular access so as to assist those who are partially sighted or blind. Research from Trinityhaus may be worth examining. It is also important that parking for those who have disabilities and drive is available close to the car-free areas.

Consultation with key stakeholders

It is imperative that continued consultation and engagement take place with all stake-holders, and particularly with businesses, residents and others who will be directly impacted by the proposals. It is noted that entities such as the Bank of Ireland, Trinity College, the Irish Stock Exchange, An Post and Car Park owners in the vicinity will take a keen interest in the changes that the scheme may entail, and direct engagement with them should continue.

Public Transport

It is accepted that removing east-west bus routes through College Green will cause changes for some bus users. However it appears that the proposed changes will add at most a 5-10m walk time for a small minority of journeys which would not appear to be unduly disruptive in the overall context of the scheme’s benefits. Some bus passengers will benefit, and there will be an opportunity to reduce congestion on the north-south luas/bus corridor

Multimodal journeys

In planning the detailed design of the proposed improvements particular attention should be given to the multimodal nature of journeys. Many will travel by bus and then walk to their final destination. Others may cycle and then continue on foot. Therefore issues such as footpath quality outside of car parks and  bicycle and scooter parking merit detailed consideration

Permeable, local and low-carbon materials

The Dublin local authorities have mandated Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) for many years. It would be appropriate that the scheme would incorporate the use of permeable paving and green infrastructure and perhaps be a model for best practice in this area.

The days of facilitating fast-moving traffic in our city centres is coming to an end. It is time for Dublin to embrace a vision for our city that is calmer cleaner, safer and accessible to all.

I wish you well as these plans move to their next stage.


Ciarán Cuffe

MEP for Dublin

Link to submission here.

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