Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport Shane Ross has welcomed the publication today, by Dublin City Council (DCC) and the National Transport Authority (NTA), a framework of proposals to address the new and urgent needs relating to commercial activity and mobility in Dublin City Centre, which have emerged as a result of the Covid-19 Public Health Emergency.
The goal of “Enabling the City to Return to Work” is to allow the city to function under the new arrangements arising from the Covid-19 crisis, both in terms of providing space for safe movement of people and business activities, and in accommodating the changed transport patterns.
The overall aim of these proposals is to ensure that people and the vibrancy they bring, can return to the city.
The plans will allow people to return to retail and leisure activities and enable the city to return to work. In addition, it will allow people to visit family and friends and, in time, allow schools and colleges to reopen all in line with government guidelines and timescales.
The objectives of the plan are:
- To ensure safe access to, and movement within, Dublin City for all users;
- To provide sufficient movement capacity to cater for the changed travel patterns; and
- To support the economic recovery of the city and the region.
As the restrictions are eased with workplaces, schools and shops re-opening, the numbers of people travelling and moving around the city will start to increase again. More space is going to need to be allocated to social distancing and to supporting shops and businesses operating in this new environment.
The measures proposed to enable this include:
- Improving pedestrian safety through the provision of additional space for movement and enhanced pedestrian areas;
- Enabling more people to cycle by providing safer cycling facilities;
- Providing additional space at many bus stops in order to facilitate social distancing;
- Accommodating a certain level of car use, calibrated with other transport needs, including possible additional parking provision on the periphery of the city core area; and
- Implementing various bus route changes required to enable the roll-out of cycling and walking measures, while still maintaining a strong public transport network.
The document as published today is focused on the city centre, the radial routes approaching the central area and a number of urban village interventions. There is little doubt that additional measures and interventions in other areas of the city will be required and the plan will be updated on an on-going basis to reflect this.
Work is already underway on assessing requests for further interventions that have been received from the public and elected representatives, with particular reference to the other urban villages and schools.
There will be a phased approach to implementation over a six to twelve month period. Measures will be implemented on a temporary basis and will be subject to review.
Other locations will be added to the framework as areas are surveyed, equipment becomes available and local proposals are developed. Areas with high numbers of cyclists and pedestrians will be prioritised to ensure that the maximum number of people can move freely throughout the city on safe, connected and coherent transport routes.
A copy of the document was circulated to all members Dublin City Council earlier today and they will continue to be briefed on the progress of the plans in the weeks and months ahead.
A dedicated webpage with details of the proposals including maps, images and videos will go live soon with support from DCC’s and NTA’s various social media outlets.
Members of local communities will also be kept informed, and a dedicated email address is to be set up.
Minister Ross said: “These improvements will support Government’s Roadmap to Reopening Society through providing increased walking and cycling capacity on major commuter routes as we move through the Phases and support the gradual reopening of city centres.
In order to ensure our pedestrians and cyclists can move about safely during these challenging times I am pleased to announce that my Department has been working in conjunction with the NTA to make our roads and pathways safer and more user friendly for all.
I can confirm that relevant works identified will be funded through the NTA under my Department’s Sustainable Mobility Investment Programme.
We all want to see the eventual return of Dublin’s famous vibrancy, and I believe that the plans published today are an important step in the right direction.”