college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby PVC King » Thu Aug 18, 2005 7:41 pm

I agree that that type of objection has no standing and is based on emotive versus logical arguments; my one concern with any application for this site would be how the proposed changes would effect the setting of Fosters Place and College Green. This building is at a pivotal point and it is essential that the highest standards are applied to the shop front, any external furniture and the lighting used must be sensitive to the very high grade setting of Fosters Place.

Fosters Place is one of the few locations in Dublin that has retained a very strong sense of its period and to that end I think that the designation as a restaurant is probably the best possible use, I do feel that it could be possible to accomodate Starbucks at this location but that a number of very clear conditions would need to be attached to the way it is permitted to interact with the street.

Particular areas of concern would be:

1> Shopfront design
2> Signage design
3> Signage lighting
4> Access
5> Potential external furniture
6> Internal illuminated window signage
7> Restrictions on what is placed on the windows or in the windows (promo materials)
8> Materials for all of the above

The taxi situation on Foster Place must also be examined independent of this application. I have said this before but in my opinion a win win situation exists; namely establish a rank at the Foggy Dew to the side of the central bank with the build up of cabs going around the rear of the bank and in extreme circumstances back as far the front entrance of blooms hotel.
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby Daragh » Thu Aug 18, 2005 8:13 pm

Kefu and Dallas, just because there's a Centra convenience store two doors up from the proposed Starbucks site doesn't mean that the coffee chain should automatically get the go ahead to locate on Fosters Place. If anything, that's a reason to stop it! This is a prime city-centre location and one which could be used for much more useful and fashionable purposes!
A bland, multinational coffee shop which has thousands and thousands of outlets all over the world is hardly going to add to the supposed high-quality retail mix which the Council is trying to achieve in the city centre! Trust me, in a few years' time, Starbucks will probably have a store on every street in the country, just like Spar and Centra have now! That may be fine, but they shouldn't be allowed do it in such important locations, right beside protected Georgian buildings.
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby Paul Clerkin » Thu Aug 18, 2005 8:23 pm

Starbucks signage is quite unobtrusive in comparison to a Centra - they manage to blend in quite well in Edinburgh for example.
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby Paul Clerkin » Thu Aug 18, 2005 8:23 pm

So what should go there Daragh?
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby PVC King » Thu Aug 18, 2005 8:30 pm

I agree with the point that De Dallas is making we do bland like no other in this City, places like Cork and Belfast have retained far more than we have but ultimately this is a planning matter and until College Green is designated an Architectural Conservation Area, it will not have the same safe guards as O'Connell St and Cathal Brugha St in the form of a well written Integrated Area Plan.

The fact that Starbucks had no other outlets in Ireland at the time of the application means they cannot be considered a multiple.


College Green is however a conservation area so all proposals must be sympathetic to the numerous PROTECTED STRUCTURES that surround it.

It is zoned Z5 'To consolidate and facilitate the development of the central area, and to to identify, reinforce and protect its civic design character and dignity

I totally agree with DD, how did centra get permission for that specific signage.

It is time that retail zoning becomes less broad and more specific with specific zonings for:

1> Take Away / fast food
2> Betting Shop
3> Cafe
4> Convenience Store
5> Call shop/Internet Cafe
6> Discount goods/household
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby GrahamH » Thu Aug 18, 2005 8:31 pm

That seems a great idea, especially with the bus stop on the doorstep there, and easy access from both the northside and south of Dame St.

Regarding Starbucks, agreed about the appeal - it'll fall falt on its face. It seems to be grounded entirely on personal emotive issues.
Saying that, when College Green eventually becomes a special area of planning control, all fast food and convenience outlets ought to banned outright here.

Having never encountered a full-size Starbucks (I've led a sheltered life :)), I cannot comment on their modus operandi but as TP says, the greater concerns are shopfront design, signage and associated issues. These are the matters of importance in this crucial city space, not the politics.
'Eroding the civic life of the city' is a tad much, but saying that, any further inroads by similar outlets to College Green ought not to be permitted as a matter or preserving the uniqueness and character of the College Green environment.
This is where the problem arises with such outlets as we have seen elsewhere in the capital - too many and it's too late.
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby Morlan » Thu Aug 18, 2005 8:55 pm

I suppose a good comparison would be Edinburgh, however, the city would have a much stricter policy on shop signage than Dublin.

The Starbucks in Edinburgh's historical heart is reasonably unobtrusive on this prominent corner.

Image

Image

There's another one on Bread Street which isn't too bad either.

Image

Unfortunately, I think the Starbucks in Dublin will get away with pretty much anything.. as seen with Centra. :mad:
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby PVC King » Fri Aug 19, 2005 12:55 am

The former bank works very well,

I really believe that the Taxi situation needs to be resolved the use of the some of the best space in City for car parking is a great waste of the public realm and the way the overflow works into Foster Place is quite simply ridiculous.

Given that most taxi activity is generated from the Temple of Bars surely the most accessible space in Temple Bar should be used so that prime public realm can be returned to the public.
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby GrahamH » Fri Aug 19, 2005 1:22 am

Bread Street - what a delicious name :)

What really annoys me about the taxis in Foster Place, aside from their consumption of the area, is the way you can never cross that broad expanse of cobbles in comfort whilst enjoying the space around you without a grumpy old git in a taxi making faces trying to pull out with pedestrians 'in his way'.
And because of the huge expanse of cobbles there that is supposedly 'roadway', pedestrians feel obliged to continue walking quickly until safely back on the BoI or Dame St pavements on either side, as if they're blocking an access point or another street.

This whole enclave ought to be a pedestrian space, for the enjoyment of citizens and tourists, not Mr Taxi having a rest with his cheese sangwidges listening to Liveline.
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby PVC King » Fri Aug 19, 2005 1:32 am

Which type of Bread?


I'm not so sure it would be possible to fully pedestrianise Foster Place given service uses but certainly removing the taxi's should be an immediate priority given the disruptive practices you have outlined above. This in no small way has made this crossing point and by extension North South route very unwelcoming and only serves to funnel yet more people up the Westmoreland St to Grafton St access which with Luas coming will experience no relief whilst pedestrian counts will continue to grow. It is vital that every little measure possible be taken to take the City's relience off the Central Axis.

A further welcome move would be a resequencing of the lights at Church Lane and Foster Place with a pedestrian sequence added on the western side in favour of the pedestrian.
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby urbanisto » Fri Aug 19, 2005 11:41 am

Interesting to see views on this. Surely it is a valid point that appealling this particular application is asking the CC to draw a line under the downgrading of uses that is quickly taking hold along this stretch. Soon coffee shops will be talked about in the same way we are talking about convenience stores now...and when Starbucks really gets going you'll all be moaning at how you cant move without seeing one...thanks certainly what its like in London - 2 sometimes 3 to a street! Also while the Centra is terrible its possition is less prominent than the proposed Starbucks which faces argruably one of the most important buildings in the country. I think what this application highlights more than anything is how little thought it being put into the new uses that are taking over College Green. but as usual the CC have no desire to intervene and prescribe some more fitting uses.
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby kefu » Fri Aug 19, 2005 1:47 pm

Dublin would be a lot better with a Starbucks on every corner than it is with the existing Centra/Londis/Spar/off-licence on every corner.
Despite all the bad publicity, they're actually very civilised places. They always have free newspapers, Internet access, and plenty of seating including couches, as well as later opening hours.
I'm not saying the likes of Insomnia don't have these things but the notion that Starbucks is as bad as another Centra or another O2 shop is just plain wrong-headed.
I've been all over the east coast of America: in Washington, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. And in all three when there's a Starbucks in an historic building, they use it as an asset.
And what do we mean by downgrading - it's not like this area has lost restaurants or retailers. Correct me if I'm wrong but was this old Starbucks building not some kind of Eircom store.
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby urbanisto » Fri Aug 19, 2005 3:16 pm

I mean the move from institutions in landmark buildings ie the banks, university, tourist office etc to low end retail units such a convenience stores and takeaway coffee shops. At least Habitat is nivce and healthily in the middle with a well designed store and a high grade cafe. Winding Stair...nice book store with even more potential. Even the Italian restuarant (Caesars?) could create a bit of atmosphere if it were complimented with other such places.
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby urbanisto » Fri Aug 19, 2005 3:18 pm

BTW I have no problem with Starbucks..... I quite like it apart from its tendancy to dominate those places it sets up in. I just dont thinks its the right place for it here.
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby d_d_dallas » Fri Aug 19, 2005 5:56 pm

In the case of Starbucks dominating a place - take a trip down to Baggott St where there are two Insomnias practically opposite each other. This isn't Chicago or San Fran! I would be challenged to find a part of the city centre not graced with an OBriens. It's totally hypocritical (and very Irish!) to get all upset over the arrival of Starbucks when infact we've done quite a good job creating our very own version. I'm not even going near Spar-bucks.
I have no doubt that when they open their outlet on 1 College Green it will be tastefully done from the outside and not as abrasive as it's convenience oriented neighbour.

What irritates me is the how clichéd it is: of all the places Starbucks could locate in Dublin...
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby urbanisto » Fri Aug 19, 2005 6:04 pm

What do you mean cliched?
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby Daragh » Sat Aug 20, 2005 2:24 am

Dallas, as Stephen quite rightly pointed out, this isn't necessarily anything to do with Starbucks itself, or ideed anything 'anti-American'. There's a wider issue here which concerns the use of prime city-centre locations for tacky shops, such as convenience stores, or mega chain stores. And while Starbucks itself may not have any other outlets in the city centre for the moment, there are already dozens upon dozens of coffee shops in the city centre. Again, as I keep on saying, having a Starbucks on Fosters Place doesn't really help with the Council's plan of diversifying the retail mix which the city centre offers. A good selection of high quality shops/restaurants is what is needed to keep the city centre thriving and ward off the competition posed by out-of-town shopping centres (which by the way offer an amazing selection of restaurants and clothing stores).
Dallas, you also say that - 'I would be challenged to find a part of the city centre not graced with an O'Brien's. It's totally hypocritical (and very Irish!) to get all upset over the arrival of Starbucks when infact we've done quite a good job creating our very own version.'

Is this not therefore a perfect reason to make sure that we don't worsen the situation by allowing Starbucks/coffee chains to do the same all over again?

As for what should go there, I think a high-quality, up-market clothing store would be perfect. Practically every major fashion label in Europe is trying to get a presence in the Irish market, so I'm sure any number of takers could be found.
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby kefu » Sat Aug 20, 2005 11:29 am

If any number of takers could be found, they would have rented the property.
Fortunately, we live in an economy where any business - whatever their nationality - can still set up shop wherever they feel they're most likely to turn a profit.
I find it quite ironic that Irish arrogance is now such that we want to control exactly what goes where on our city streets. Imagine us telling a major international company twenty years ago: 'Yeah, we want you but you'll have to go down the alley because you aren't classy enough for our main streets.'
It doesn't happen elsewhere, and that includes cities like Bath and Edinburgh with a far more extensive repertoire of fine buildings and a better preserved core than we have.
And while certain guidelines might be acceptable as a once-off for the regeneration of O'Connell Street or similar efforts in the future, this practice can not apply citywide.
I also really don't understand how a 10-6pm fashion retailer is somehow better than a 7am-9pm (or later) coffee house where people can sit down and meet.
By the way this argument is going, people are trying to make out coffee shops are akin to McDonalds or sweet shops. They aren't. Surely, we should welcome anything that is not a pub/newsagents/kebab shop in the greater Temple Bar area.
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby d_d_dallas » Sat Aug 20, 2005 11:37 am

Clichéd as in Starbucks shopping list for Europe: Ok we need a space directly under the Eifel Tower, Colosseum, etc do those MP guys in Westminster drink venti half-caf soy skinny caramel machiato frappuchinos?
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby Daragh » Sat Aug 20, 2005 4:06 pm

em, Kefu...that exact opinion is what allowed O'Connell Street to turn into the big, dirty, smelly dump full of tacky convenience stores and fast-food outlets that it is today!!! O.K. O.K., so they've tried to spruce to street up a bit, but until there's actually a reason to go TO O'Connell Street rather than simply pass THROUGH the street to get to Henry Street, then it'll never be the grand, majestic, fashionable boulevard which the Council, and almost eveyone else I'd presume, want it to be.
You should also note Kefu that major cities all over the world have extremely strict guidelines concerning what goes where in their prime city-centre locations. London is a good example, where Oxford Street has strict limits relating to the location of fast-food stores on the street, as the London authorities recognise that the street needs to remain a retail-based shopping destination. If fast-food outlets want to set up shop in the capital then they simply go to Leister Square or wherever.
I don't know why so many people have difficulty understanding the benefits of some light regualtion regarding the opening of shops in the cty centre. Everything else in our lives is regulated by the government in some shape or form, so why not this?
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby kefu » Sat Aug 20, 2005 4:30 pm

Daragh, it all seems pretty simple to me because a fast food outlet is not the same as a coffee shop.
If all the McDonalds/Burger Kings/Supermacs on O'C St were replaced by cafes, do you think it would be a "big, dirty, smelly dump".
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby Daragh » Sat Aug 20, 2005 5:01 pm

It may not be as bad if all the fast-food outlets were replaced by coffee shops, but it wouldn't be much better either as there'd still be a major lack of choice regarding the use of the outlets on the street..
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby Alek Smart » Sun Aug 21, 2005 12:29 am

Interestin to note that after at least one post on this board and some 6 weeks after the new top layer was rolled out,the Pedestrian Crossing at Bank of Ireland/College Green remains naked in terms of Road Markings.
This ensures a VERY interesting time for thousands of pedestrians every hour as they stare down the approaching drivers.
I am therefore assuming that The CITY MANAGER and the DIRECTOR OF TRAFFIC are both on holiday or otherwise indisposed as I feel certain they would not want to expose citizens and visitors alike to the HIGHLY increased risk of injury and/or death which the present bleak and black scenario presents.
Wonder what the safety statement for this location reads like..?......"Run a little faster "......?
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby GrahamH » Sun Aug 21, 2005 5:26 am

Have to agree with you 100% Alex - this is absolutely scandalous. I too used the crossing recently with no markings and motorists were just bewildered as to where to stop once the lights began to change - likewise pedestrians crossed just anywhere they could.

It really beggars belief that the City Coucil Roads Division or whoever is responsible for this are even daring to leave College Green of all places like this - it encapsulates their attitude to public safety 100%. The fact that they know they can get away with College Green being left in such a state is nothing short of frightening, both in terms of the possible implications in this instance, and their wider operations in the city.

How dare they endanger public safety because they can't be bothered to get up of their backsides and finish the job.
I use this crossing daily, often twice, and am only too well aware of the dangers of this crossing. Both the speed and size of the vehicles using this stretch of road, and the volumes of pedestrians availing of the crossing ought to make this of all jobs in the city - if not just from a shallow PR perspective - of greatest priority in the protection of public safety.
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Re: college green/ o'connell street plaza and pedestrians

Postby Devin » Mon May 08, 2006 9:58 am

SHORT-SIGHTED APPROACH TO LUAS DOES NOT WORK IN THE LONG RUN
Garret FitzGerald

On several occasions in 1997 I wrote in this column about Luas, Dublin's light-rail tram system.

I argued that because of the volume of traffic that would be generated by the proposed line from Stillorgan (and eventually from Bray) to Stephen's Green and onwards towards the airport, it should be designed and built as a full-fledged metro (i.e. underground) rail system through the city centre rather than as an on-street tram.
I based this argument on official traffic projections made in the early 1990s which I modified to allow for the implications of the Celtic Tiger ........

……….. In addition, continuing it on-street to O'Connell Street would greatly congest the difficult Dawson Street/Nassau Street corner and the narrow street between Trinity College and the Bank of Ireland ………

In 1997 there was immediate strong opposition to my suggestion that the Luas project should be reviewed in the light of these facts.

However, after that year's election, the PDs, returning to government after five years' absence, grasped the half of my argument about congestion in the city centre. Yet they apparently did not grasp the even more crucial element of my case about traffic volumes.

As a result the new government was then persuaded to adopt a short-sighted, half-measure by stopping the Luas tram at Stephen's Green instead of converting it into a metro running in a tunnel from just south of Ranelagh and onwards through the city centre.

As I predicted, Luas traffic volumes have already been much higher than planned.
Indeed, despite the termination of the tram service at Stephen's Green, there have from the outset been problems of capacity shortage at peak hours ………

……….. Instead of taking the opportunity to create now a through metro service between south Dublin, O'Connell Street and the airport, the current plans involve spending money on the construction of two almost parallel Luas and metro lines between Stephen's Green and O'Connell Street.

However, duplicating the new metro between Stephen's Green and O'Connell Street by extending the over-ground Luas even further into the city will disrupt the whole south city centre for several years and, when completed, will slow the passage of two-thirds of our city bus services.

© The Irish Times 06/05/06


(Excerpt)


I see Garrett Fitzgerald is up to his old tricks again.

He was almost single-handedly responsible for the disastrous decision to stop Luas coming through College Green in 1998 and now he wants to stop it second time around, saying the metro from Stephen’s Green through the city centre is enough. He seems to want to maintain the traffic-choked third-world city-centre we have now. I wouldn’t mind but the old fart mightn’t even be around to see any of the current transport plans brought to completion.
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