I can't see it that way sadly. Judging the record of Dublin Bus, the proposed restrictions will result in a long term increase in the amount of buses using College Green, which in spite of a reduction in private car numbers, can only be a bad thing. By association, this will also result in an increased number of buses being funnelled through the wider ceremonial heart of the city centre. The void created by the banning of cars will also simply be filled with the city's ever-burgeoning fleet of empty taxis. Conor Faughnan's recent drawing of a parallel with choked and hostile Oxford Street in London, filled by a cliff face of buses, was extremely apt. It was precisely the example I was thinking of during the public debate on the matter.
The statement released by the Mountjoy Square Society a couple of days ago sums matters up well I think:
Mountjoy Square Society Urges Dublin City Councillors to Drop “Bus Gate” and Instead Connect Luas
The Mountjoy Square Society strongly urges Dublin City Councillors to cancel the bus gate at tonight’s monthly meeting as we fear it will cause far more buses and coaches to be dumped in Mountjoy Square. This position was adopted unanimously by the society's members at its monthly meeting, held last night.
Despite Dublin Bus network reform announcements, first by the late Seamas Brennan, then by Cullen, and most recently by Noel Dempsey, no reform has occurred – with most buses following tramlines 70 years gone to a pillar also disappeared. It would be a rotten irony if more Dublin Buses blocking up College Green was to result in the Luas lines prevented from ever being connected. The Mountjoy Square Society urges connection of the Luas as a priority over facilitating an unreformed Dublin Bus.
The north inner city is abused by Dublin Bus; no service connects one end of Dorset Street to the other, no bus goes down Capel, North King, or Dominick Streets; instead Dublin Bus uses Mountjoy Square as a runway depot with many out-of-service buses parking up outside a crÃ¨che and childrens areas, blocking motorist’s sightlines and emitting cancerous fumes.
Dublin Bus refuses to provide passenger services after 6pm to Mountjoy Square, thus further stigmatizing business and residential interests. Despite the Mountjoy/ Summerhill depot due to be going, as scheduled in a 2001 council plan, even a reasonable suggestion by city officials urging a new ramp from the depot onto Summer hill – delivering speedier access onto O’Connell Street via Parnell Street – has been ignored.
Dublin Bus do NOT “serve the entire community”; they bully their way against the community and are a blight on the parts on the inner city they already dominate, such as Marlborough Street and Parnell Square. What hope for College Green if these custodians were to take primary charge – please see attached photograph of Broadstone Station in disgraceful condition.
Bus Gate is highly unlikely to deliver a better bus services in the absence of route reform; instead it facilitates worst practice. Little benefit is gained in the way of deterring private through traffic as O’Connell Street College - Green is already a large traffic cell area – since considered restrictions were introduced at Suffolk, South Great Georges, Pearse, North Frederick, Abbey, and Upper O’Connell Streets, as part of the Integrated Area Plan. The few cars currently using O’Connell Street – College Green already have to drive out of their way and are mostly not through traffic. Taxis and buses will simply make up for the private cars removed, not delivering for either cyclists or pedestrians.
Dublin Bus is part of the greater CIE created transport problem in the north inner city: in Mountjoy Square walls of coaches dangerously park up, yet many of these are on contract to CIE – who already have Broadstone, 90 acres at Connolly, etc. Beside Mountjoy Square is Croke Park, Europe’s 5th largest stadium, and sandwiched between two railway lines – yet CIE refuses to either install a station. This existing line would connect Connolly and Heuston Stations, and serve the communities in the North Circular Road, Phibsborough, Cabra, Russell Street, and Ballybough areas.
Facts provided by agencies have been few, yet Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) have stated at Metro North hearings, the time benefit to Dublin Bus journeys is only 1% if bus gate is inserted.
The Mountjoy Square Society notes and supports the Dublin City Business Association’s concerns; in the absence of leadership being given by central government prioritizing Luas lines being connected over bus gate, we call on Dublin City Council to give leadership in rejecting this scheme outright.
Issued on instructions by the members of the Mountjoy Square Society,