Re: Re: college green/ o’connell street plaza and pedestrians
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You see, this is what is so frustrating about this city – the RPA are given free rein to carve up the city centre according to their lines on a map and notional nodal hubs and what have you, with external regard limited solely to the competing aims of Dublin Bus and other traffic. What about the requirements of the built environment and the special character of the city’s main thoroughfares? Is this not a further major element worthy of consideration? Is this not as important, if not indeed more important, as a long term and unchangeable constant, than the flexible operational needs of competing transport modes? I find a parallel with the billboards debacle – the city authorities, the guardians of the city, are willing to allow the very essence of what is recognisably Dublin, what forms the image and character of the city in the mind of its people and visitors – i.e. its main streets and spaces – to effectively be handed over to another authority with no urban design planning background, to play with at will in a manner not unlike passing them a giant box of Duplo bricks and a few base boards and telling them: “here you go, make us proud”. Only in this case the miniature town has already been built, and they’re being allowed at it with a giant bale of Chinese granite, a mountain of silver poles and 20 kilometres of suspended cabling.
This has been the nub of the issue for me from day one as regards passing Luas through College Green, Westmoreland Street, O’Connell Bridge and along O’Connell Street, and apologies for reiterating it at length, but sometimes you do wonder if you’re going ever so slightly cracked rather than the authorities being the ones beating the wrong drum – the scoffing attitude of some of the staff of the RPA towards such prissy issues as dignified public space, uninterrupted views and vistas, and coherent and sensitively designed thoroughfares merely contributing to this snowballing popular opinion that Luas = wholesome goodness. Rather than DCC leading the way on this with a set and determined vision for the historic core of the city, they’ll shortly be running around cleaning up the mess and dusting around the edges of the trail of Urbanism by Engineer the RPA has left in its wake.
Very simply, any ambitious plans for the College Green, College Street and indeed O’Connell Bridge centres will be turned to watered-down dishwater should these spaces be subject to the extent of cabling, poles, platforms and all other attendant paraphernalia that the Luas travels with. It is utterly inexcusable on College Green, offensive crossing the Liffey and O’Connell Street, and at best highly undesirable along the other major thoroughfares. One need only look at the disaster of Middle Abbey Street to observe what is in store for the coherence of Westmoreland Street. And what’s more, I suspect this entire issue will only rear its head in typical Irish planning Taraesque style, once the project has begun (if ever). Now is the time to make these critical decisions.