I see works are already underway for Bus Gate, with the pedestrian crossing at the Trinity side of the College Street island being significantly widened. Of course why this wasn't done twenty years ago is anyone's guess. But credit where due, the granite kerbstones are being carefully stored, as is now standard practice in the city. Problems with antique paving in Dublin tend to arise with relaying though...
The opportunity should be taken at this point to rationalise and improve the College Street island, in spite of imminent Metro works, which are still some way down the line. All for extremely minimal expense, all of the trees here should be removed, along with the above-ground lavatory paraphernalia, telephone kiosks, tarmaced surfaces and signal boxes. A simple but attractive concrete-flagged surface with robust granite edging, a handful of elegant lamp standards and benches languishing in storage out in Marrowbone Lane, and some decent planters if needs be, would simply transform this important part of the city, restoring order, dignity and (shock!) sightlines to the portico of the House of Lords, and tide us over for a couple of years. As it is, significant amounts of the paving is already being dug up. Simple simple measures people...
Interesting view of College Street there, gunter. Makes the city look like a charming Tallin-esque toytown (with a dash of Soviet pazazz chucked in to the bottom left for good measure).
The presence of a considerable number of buses does not contribute positively to the urban environment obviously. Unfortunately, for the moment it is a vital public transport mode particularly given Dublin's obvious shortcomings in terms of rail. One of the worst aspects is the air pollution and this is exacerbated significantly by the stop/start nature of the current flow of buses through this area of town. If the passage of buses can at least me made smother and more efficient, then the environmental damage they cause will be lessened considerably.
Sadly, being pragmatic, Dublin's topography means that there are certain streets which will continue to serve the role as arterial routes for motorised traffic for the foreseeable future and unfortunately, I think it's unavoidable that College Green will have a role in this regard. The aim should be to reduce the amount of motorised traffic on these routes as much as possible (and any sort of restriction helps in this regard) while building largely pedestrianised zones in the urban islands created between them. This would be cheap and easy to achieve and would be a step in the right direction until it is no longer necessary to carry passengers by bus around the city centre and the entire centre can be reclaimed for pedestrians, cyclists and clean/quiet on-street trams. Is it my imagination or did the expansion of pedestrianisation in Dublin slow or stop 5 or 10 years ago?
I think you're probably right on this jimg. We have to be pragmatic until such a time as a wider transport infrastructure is in place. But the problem that so many people have with this plan, and understandably so, is that in typical fashion in this city, the scheme will be used as the opening of a door which may prove impossible to close again. Even amongst many business interests in the city, aside from their greatest concerns about perceived reduced shopping access to the core, they do view it in a manner as most of us here do - leading to a reduction in quality of an already significantly compromised core, where services and infrastructure take precedence over a quality civic life and enjoyment of place.
These latter points are critical factors in suburbanites' decision-making about where to go shopping and cultural consumption - not on a day-to-day basis, but for special or 'big ticket' purchases or services, at a time when Dundrum et al are increasingly catching up in terms of attractions, if not on experience. Negating the quality of the public realm of the city centre in the longer term is to compromise its most prized asset: the one element out-of-town centre cannot compete with on any level. There is a fear that the Irish public administration mentality, which tends to focus on micro practicalities, will simply sustain Bus Gate long beyond its shelf-life, while also making it more difficult to effect radical civic improvement of the city's ceremonial core. The implemented limited hours of operation is probably worth a shot anyway.