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

Home Forums Ireland college green/ o’connell street plaza and pedestrians Re: Re: college green/ o’connell street plaza and pedestrians


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.

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