Dublin City Council has removed many of the barriers from College Green after Dubliners complained about the organisation of today’s car-free Sunday.
The area has been shut off to traffic for the first of three Sunday’s in a row.
The council said it was trialling the measure to give a taste of what the space would be like if it was permanently pedestrianised – however, there were complaints that large parts of the space had been blocked off.
Green Party Councillor Patrick Costello said there was a high security presence in the area with only four entry points to the space.
Was all prepared for an amazing fun day on a pedestrianised College Green but what we met were barriers. Only FOUR entry points with two security at each. Really appreciate Dublin City Council for trialling but if we're going to do it PLEASE let's do it right #StreetsAreForPeople pic.twitter.com/aehBfMkhiF
— Patrick Costello (@Costellop) July 21, 2019
Meanwhile, his party colleague Cllr Neasa Hourigan that while she was delighted to see the trial go ahead, “security guards, thousands of metal barriers, pedestrians being refused access to the space and no cycle parking is not what I had in mind.”
I'm delighted to see the pedestrianisation trial of College Green go ahead but security guards, thousands of metal barriers, pedestrians being refused access to the space and no cycle parking is not what I had in mind #StreetsAreForPeople pic.twitter.com/zbmPDPWBlJ
— Cllr. Neasa Hourigan (@neasa_neasa) July 21, 2019
By lunchtime many of the barriers had been removed so people could enjoy the car-free streets.
Organisers are planning a picnic and other family-friendly events throughout the day.
— TransportTrafficTravel (@transportdublin) July 21, 2019
— Stephen Hanley (@StephenHanley9) July 21, 2019
This morning, business groups said the College Green trial could give a taste of things to come for Dublin.
The council is trialling the measure after An Bord Pleanála last October turned down a plan to permanently pedestrianise the area.
At the time planners raised concern about the effect on traffic and these test days will help determine what the impact would be.
City planners then hope to re-submit the proposals.
Dublin Town CEO Richard Guiney said the temporary closures will put the idea to the test.
“We are great believer in trialling things like this,” he said. “It gives you the opportunity to see whether it works or it doesn’t work.”
“I am reminded of Janet Sadik Khan in New York when she was proposing to create a plaza on Times Square and there were people saying there would be traffic jams from Montreal to Mexico city if that went ahead.
“They said, let’s do it for a week and see how it goes – and it was a success.”
Over 1,000 buses travelling east-west across the city are being diverted away from College Green and sent down the quays each day - with measures in place along the Liffey to deal with the extra traffic.