Retailers’ alarm at new transport plan for Dublin
Two groups representing retailers in Dublin City Centre have spoken out against a proposed new traffic management plan for Dublin city centre.
10 August 2015
Proposals to redefine traffic management systems in Dublin City Centre have been critisied by two retail industry bodies, Retail Ireland and DublinTown. The groups said that the transport plan would make key parts of the city inaccessible to shoppers travelling by car, which would in turn have a damanging knock-on effect on city centre retailers.
The National Transport Authority has outlined proposals to displace private car access to, through and within certain city centre zones. The Dublin City Centre Transport Plan said the number of trips forecast into the city was expected to increase by 20pc by 2023 and warned that the road network simply could not cope with the extra traffic, citing the severe congestion that the city endured during the boom years.
However, Retail Ireland and DublinTown warned that the restrictions would have the opposite effect, creating enormous problems for shops receiving deliveries, and for customers trying to get their purchases home. The proposals, the groups said, come at an already chalenging time for Dublin City Centre, which is facing competition from suburban shopping centres and the pressure of ongoing major Luas work to connect the Red and Green lines.
In response to the new traffic system proposed by the NTA, Dublin retailers have proposed the following steps:
- Reconsider the proposal to maintain easy and convenient access to the City Centre by private motorists.
- Conduct further impact assessment studies to evaluate the economic consequences of the new system
- Carry out consumer research to gauge public awareness and opinion on the new measures
- Compare other cities that have undergone similar changes and the impacts that took place in those cases
- Make a formal commitment to work with city centre business operators on all future aspects of the move
Data from the CSO indicates that Dublin City Centre houses almost 10,000 retail and wholesale companies, which employ 27% of the entire city’s private sector workforce – around 70,000 people. The city’s large retailers have expressed concern at the impact the new system would have on turnover and footfall.
“City centre retailers support efforts to improve Dublin’s public transport and the city’s environment for pedestrians and cyclists,” said Conor Whelan, managing director of Eason and chairman of Retail Ireland. “However, these efforts should never come at the expense of private traffic access, to the point where large portions of the city centre are entirely inaccessible to shoppers who prefer to travel by car.
“Dublin retailers have raised very serious concerns about the car parking, tourist coach parking and the ability of commercial vehicles to conduct deliveries,” he said. “We are disappointed that the measures were published without any consultation with Dublin’s retailers, which themselves play an enormous role in city life and generate a large portion of the DCC’s income throughy commercial rates.