Businesses criticise Council’s recommendation to ban cars after 11am
Business group says decision to ban cars from certain locations in the city after 11am "addresses the wrong issue"
11 May 2020 | 0
A report from Dublin City Council which recommends that access to motorised vehicles after 11am be denied in several locations across the city, has been criticised by business representative group, DublinTown.
On review of the report, DublinTown said it agrees that parts of Dublin city centre should now be pedestrianised, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The group believes this would ensure the safety of commuters and pedestrians in the city centre, and would be a positive move as increased pedestrianisation potentially brings increased footfall to the city for shopping and socialising.
However, DublinTown argues that the report published by Dublin City Council neglects the key issues at hand and does not address the intrinsic wastefulness of single occupancy vehicles or the cost of congestion which is primarily an issue before 11am. A higher proportion of people use their cars during the peak morning period than do post 11am when shoppers tend to come into the city, the group points out.
“Surveys of businesses show that support for pedestrianisation of locations like South William and Drury Streets is high, with 70% of DublinTown members endorsing the pedestrianisation of South William Street and 61% also calling for it also to be implemented on Drury Street,” said Richard Guiney, CEO of DublinTown, “There is support from the public, with research conducted by Red C showing that 61% are in favour of similar proposals. The results of pedestrianisation are self-evident, with businesses on Suffolk Street reporting increases averaging 15% when their street was pedestrianised in 2018.”
“However, the recommendation from Dublin City Council to ban cars from certain locations in the city after 11am addresses the wrong issue and shows no consideration to the economic impact on the city, particularly as we focus on a safe resumption of business activity over the coming weeks and months,” Guiney said.
“Most vehicles entering the city every day are single occupancy driven into town before 11am by those with free car parking space in the city,” he added. “The city Corden Count notes that 28% use their car to access to the city during the morning peak, while customer research commissioned by Dublin Town and the NTA confirm that 20% of shoppers use their car post 11.00am.”
This means that a higher proportion of a larger number use their car to access the city during the morning peak. “The proposals put forward by Dublin City Council neglect to address this point,” said Guiney. “These measures target the minority of cars which are typically families driving into town at off peak times, and these are vital for the survival and recovery of business in the city.”
DublinTown also criticised the report’s release allegedly with no consultation with Dublin’s business community or even Dublin City Council’s own Transportation Strategic Policy Committee. “If implemented, it is likely to further threaten jobs in a city already reeling for the effects of Covid-19,” Guiney said.
“Instead, we need to reimagine and reinvent public transport in the city, not only so it meets our needs today, but so that it is future-proofed for the decades ahead,” he added. “In a move to further ease congestion around peak times and encourage healthier lifestyle choices, DublinTown’s members are calling on Dublin City Council to make Dublin a more cyclist-friendly city and reallocate road space for use as segregated cycle lanes.”
In addition to segregated cycling lanes, DublinTown believes that the widths of the city centre paving should be increased to improve accessibility both during and after the Covid crisis, particularly for wheelchair and buggy users.