Hugh Hourican of the Boar’s Head on Capel Street
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Dublin City Council has extended the pedestrianisation of Capel and Parliament Streets following a huge backlash from local businesses.
The has been running a trial pedestrianisation between 6.30pm and 11.30pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays over the summer months but the council announced yesterday that it would end after this weekend.
But following representation from Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland and other councillors, the trial has now been extended until September 26.
Speaking after the extension was confirmed, Councillor Gilliland said: “This trial has been hugely successful so far.
“It makes perfect sense for it to continue until the end of September. I am delighted that, with the support of cross-party colleagues, we have been able to secure this extension. I would encourage anyone who hasn’t already done so to come in and see for yourself what a fabulous outdoor initiative this is.”
Businesses had slammed any move to end the pedestrianisation of Capel and Parliament Street as ‘”ridiculous” and “against public health advice”.
Pubs and cafes in the area told Dublin Live that they assumed the trial would be extended past the coming weekend as it had been such a success.
Jo Wrafter-Murphy, who works at Outhouse Cafe on Capel Street, told Dublin Live the decision is “just ridiculous”.
She said: “It is counter-intuitive and goes against the whole idea of why it was introduced in the first place.
“I understand Irish weather is unpredictable but people have been making the most of what has been available to them and it just seems like a ridiculous idea. They heralded it as a success but they are taking it away at the same time.”
She added: “I think it does go against the public health advice and it makes one question the decision making.
“Why is this decision being made without any proper consultation with the public?”
Hugh Hourican of the Boar’s Head on Capel Street said getting rid of the cars has attracted a lot more people to the street.
He said: “It has been a massive success. It changed the face of Capel Street. I would be very positive about it continuing on.
“If you went back to 2019, when we had some form of normality and you looked up Capel Street on Friday, Saturday or a Sunday night, you wouldn’t come up Capel Street.
“In the last couple of weeks, there have been a lot more tourists and it has attracted more people onto the street.”
Stuart Scott of McNeill’s pub said the pedestrianisation has been “brilliant” and predicted “traffic congestion, noise pollution and emissions” will all return if it is ended.
He said: “It will just return to what it was – traffic congestion on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It’ll be no good at all.
“There will be a return to traffic. That’s what will happen. The noise pollution. You’ll have the Green Party going mad over the emissions.
He added: “This is the problem that we have. They [DCC] could spend thousands on consultations and on agreeing to disagree and they are going to say, ‘no, we will do it this way’.
“I find that a waste of money.”
Gary Gannon, a TD for the area, told Dublin Live that he blamed “conservative” Dublin City councillors for the trial coming to an end.
He said: “There’s some conservative councillors on DCC who seem intent to hold the city back and modern, cycling first city that is safe to get around. We saw that with the objections to the Sandymount cycle route and Capel St seems to be a consequence of that decision.
“DCC needs to be brave, continue to pedestrianise and remove private cars from our city as much as we possibly can.
He added: “The days of cars clogging up our city centre should be consigned to the past. DCC looks very foolish here championing the success of a project while taking it away from the citizens of Dublin.”
The council also announced today that a period of public consultation to ascertain people’s views on all perspectives of the traffic-free streets scheme will commence on Monday 30th August.
It added: “This was originally planned as part of the initiative. Dublin City Council will also engage specifically with residents and businesses in the immediate area.”
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