THERE have been calls for the pedestrianisation of two Dublin streets to continue after Dublin City Council confirmed the traffic-free weekends on Capel Street and Parliament Street will come to an end this weekend.
he street have been closed to traffic on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings for the past 11 weeks to facilitate outdoor dining.
The pedestrianisation of the two streets has proved popular and Dublin City Council announced today that more 300,000 people have visited the new traffic-free areas.
The streets were closed off to traffic on weekends to allow restaurants and pubs serve outdoors during Covid-19 restrictions.
However, locals residents, TDs and business owners have expressed disappointment in the decision not to extend the trial.
On Twitter, Street 66 bar on Parliament street said businesses were not consulted about ending the pedestrianisation of the two streets, and asked Dublin City Council for the results of the trial.
Panti Bliss, the owner of Panti Bar on Capel Street, said the decision to end the pedestrianisation was “absolutely enraging”.
“We were told that the pedestrianisation was a six-week trial. It was HUGELY successful,” said the publican and LGBTQ activist said on Twitter.
“The ‘trial’ has been a massive, unqualified success. To now go BACKWARDS is outrageous,” the business owner added.
This is absolutely enraging. We were told that the pedestrianisation was a 6 week trial. It was HUGELY successful. Then it was bizarrely announced the “trial” was being extended another 6 weeks. Then another 2
ALL HUGELY SUCCESSFUL
And now this?!@hazechu @RayMcAdam @JanetPHorner https://t.co/3gEpqYUHig
— Dr Panti Bliss-Cabrera (@PantiBliss) August 23, 2021
Meanwhile Fine Gael inner city councillor Ray McAdam said the decision is a “Grabbing defeat”.
On Twitter, the councillor said he would be speaking with officials to try and extend the pedestrianisation scheme.
Grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory is what this is!!! Iâm off for another few days but will be speaking with officials tomorrow, to least extend the scheme, until we secure approval from something further at our #September @DubCityCouncil meeting. https://t.co/8InpCzLeQa
— Cllr. Ray McAdam (@RayMcAdam) August 23, 2021
Junior Education Minister Josepha Madigan said that 300,000 people was a “huge success, so why end it now?”
TD Ciaran Cannon also said he was “deeply disappointed” with the council’s decision, adding: “Really thought that we were on the cusp of a vastly better capital city, where people come before cars.”
The process of closing off the streets involved the removal of some on street parking and extending pavements.
In May the local authority held a public consultation, seeking views on traffic reduction in the city to facilitate pedestrianisation.
The two-week consultation gathered 4,500 submissions and a largely positive reaction to proposed changes, with 85 pc in favour of pedestrianisation, leading the council to adopt even more radical measures than proposed.
Now that Covid-19 restrictions are beginning to ease and indoor dining has resumed, the trial pedestrianisation of the two streets is coming to an end.
At the outset of the trial, which had already been extended from mid-July, the council said it would assess the results of the trial once it was complete.