Complete ban will halt near-10,000 motorists illegally driving at College Green every week

Dublin City Council to move to 24-hour traffic restriction from May 29th

Almost 10,000 motorists have been illegally driving through Dublin’s College Green every week, according to Dublin City Council which is imposing a permanent ban on private traffic from the end of this month.

From May 29th, the “bus gate”, which currently prohibits private traffic from driving through College Green from 7am to 7pm on weekdays, will be extended to a 24/7 ban, with work to reconfigure the space beginning on Monday.

Brendan O’Brien of the council’s traffic department said part of the reason for the permanent ban was to tackle the numbers of motorists who did not obey the current rules restricting their use of College Green.

“If you look at the counts on it, we have about 28,000 private vehicles a week and 30 per cent of them are during bus gate hours so enforcement, or people using it during the bus gate hours, is quite an issue.”


In 2009, the council proposed a complete ban on all traffic except public transport from College Green. However, when the bus gate was introduced a year later it had been watered down to a 7am-10am and 4pm-7pm weekday ban. In mid-2014, when Luas construction work made the area practically impassable, the ban was extended to 7am-7pm on weekdays, with no restrictions on Saturday and Sunday.

However, Mr O’Brien said a time-limited ban has always been difficult to enforce and was becoming increasingly out of step with public transport usage patterns.

“The 7am-7pm was in some ways to mimic the peak hours but increasingly that’s no longer the case,” he said. “We are moving towards a 24-hour public transport service or a very considerably extended public transport service and, in line with having more bus lanes 24-hour, it makes sense to move to this.”

The permanent ban would also allow the council to cut down on the “eyesore” of signage used to alert motorists of the operational hours of the bus gate.

“The space is really cluttered down there,” he said “the big VMS [Variable Message Signs] sign blocking the view of Trinity College that was there to flag to people whether it was in service or not in service – we want to remove that and declutter that area and make it much better for public transport, but taking, as well, a lot of the eyesore out of it.”

In addition to the ban on private traffic driving through College Green, the right hand turn from Church Lane, which runs between the H&M clothes shop and the old Ulster Bank branch, will be eliminated, meaning motorists will have to turn left down Dame Street, leading them away from College Green.

Asked if sanctions had been imposed on drivers who drove through College Green during the bus gate hours, the council said it had no role at present in relation to motoring offences, such as using a bus lane during prohibited hours. It added it was a matter for enforcement by An Garda Síochána.

The Garda did not respond to queries.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times