Dublin’s Parliament Street to be made ‘traffic free’ for three evenings a week

Council to trial the pedestrian and cycle-only zone on Parliament Street on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 6.30pm to 11pm

Dublin’s Parliament Street is to be made “traffic free” for three evenings a week until the end of August starting from this Thursday, Dublin City Council has said.

Cars were last summer banned from Parliament Street and Capel Street, which face each other over the River Liffey at Grattan Bridge, on weekend evenings. The council subsequently decided to make the Capel Street car-free zone permanent, but had retained traffic on Parliament Street, in part due to its use by buses.

The council said it would again trial the pedestrian and cycle-only zone on Parliament Street on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 6.30pm to 11pm.

During these hours, the 69 bus will use Bachelors Walk, O’Connell Bridge and Townsend Street before returning to its normal route, while the 79a will divert to Eden Quay, Rosie Hackett Bridge and Burgh Quay and terminate at Aston Quay.


Traffic volumes have fallen dramatically on most streets surrounding Capel Street in the past two months. Cars have been banned for a 400m stretch on Capel Street since May 20th making it the longest traffic-free street in the city, ahead of Grafton Street and Henry Street.

The pedestrian and cycle-only zone stretches for most of the length of the street from Parnell Street and Ryder’s Row at its northern end, to Strand Street in the south. The Luas Red line crosses the street at Abbey Street and traffic can cross at this point but in an east-west direction only. Deliveries are permitted from 6am-11am daily, after which bollards prevent entry. All car parking has been removed from the street.

The pedestrian zone ends at Strand Street, with the area between Panti Bar and Jack Nealon’s pub to the quays remaining open to traffic. This will facilitate the planned pedestrian plaza on nearby Liffey Street, which the council said necessitated the use of this part of Capel Street for an exit route for traffic from Liffey Street.

Council engineers have assessed the effect of the changes on 11 roads surrounding Capel Street and found most had seen decreases in traffic volumes, some of which were “very significant”, the council said.

Traffic did increase on two streets: Strand Street Great, which is now the only access point to the part of Capel Street still open to cars and which has seen a 20 per cent increase in traffic, and Little Green Street which runs parallel to Capel Street in the neighbouring markets area. Traffic on Little Green Street runs in a north-south direction, as did Capel Street traffic before the restrictions, and volumes have risen by 25 per cent.

However, on most surrounding streets, traffic numbers have collapsed. On Mary Street, a small section of which remains open to cars, traffic has dropped by 98 per cent. Little Brittan Street, which used to be an access route for Capel Street, has seen a 90 per cent drop in traffic. Other surrounding streets have also seen substantial reductions with a 60 per cent drop on Strand Street Little, a 52 per cent drop on Arran Street East and a 36 per cent drop on Jervis Street.

The council also studied a number of major junctions in the area to assess the effect of the Capel Street car ban on their traffic numbers. The junction of Bolton Street and Capel Street saw a 9 per cent increase in traffic while at Church Street and North King Street, the largest and busiest junction in the area, traffic increased by 4 per cent. The council said traffic volumes at these points were still lower than pre-Covid levels.

The traffic department is proposing some traffic changes to improve traffic flows in the area, with plans to make a section of Arran Street East two-way, to allow traffic to access the quays. A similar provision is under consideration for a section of Jervis Street, to allow traffic leaving the Jervis Shopping Centre car park to use Strand Street, and for King’s Inn Street, which links Bolton Street to Parnell Street.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times