Controversial Dún Laoghaire plan to restrict cars, create more pedestrian spaces is approved

Councillors sign off on €20 million ‘Living Streets’ scheme after marathon meeting ends after 2am

A controversial plan to restrict cars and create more pedestrian and cycle-friendly spaces in Dún Laoghaire town centre was approved by councillors at a marathon meeting that ended early on Tuesday.

Members of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council approved the ‘Living Streets’ scheme shortly before 2am after agreeing a number of amendments including that it should be subject to “an independent review of traffic levels, economic environmental and other metrics”.

They also agreed the implementation of the plan, including traffic restrictions and pedestrian zones, be monitored by the council’s Dún Laoghaire Area Committee. The scheme was approved by 30 votes to seven.

The scheme proposed “modal filters” at Tivoli Road, Cross Avenue and Clarinda Park West to deter vehicular traffic. In addition, parts of George’s Street Lower, Sussex Street and Convent Road would be pedestrianised.


The council says the plan would create a safer walking environment through reduced traffic, footpaths would be widened and there would be more facilities for cyclists and additional tree planting and seating areas.

However, the plans have split the local business local community as well as residents.

Issues raised by councillors at the meeting centred around the economic impact of the Living Streets plan on businesses in the town, universal access, a “modal filter” on Tivoli Road to restrict vehicular traffic, the removal of buses from George’s Street as well as the displacement of traffic on to surrounding roads.

Separate motions to omit the Tivoli Road modal filter, tabled by councillors Mary Fayne (FG) and Justin Moylan (FF) were each defeated by 24 votes to 14.

In relation to the economic impact of the Living Streets scheme Maurice Dockrell (FG) asked officials if an economic assessment of the impact on businesses in the town had been commissioned from a qualified expert, such as an economist.

He was told an economist had not been commissioned.

Mr Moylan raised concerns about universal access, particularly to the HSE premises on Tivoli Road and St Michael’s Hospital in the centre of the town. He asked if the plans had been subjected to a disability impact assessment.

Officials responded that the project developers had “discussions with local disability groups” and have a designated team member to advise on disabilities.

Michael Clark (FF) said the proposed pedestrianisation of George’s St had not received the scrutiny it deserves. “Pedestrianisation failed in the past and was reversed by councillors,” he said.

He also said “Tivoli Road is not a rat-run, furtively used by wiley motorists; rather it is a long-established route connecting Blackrock, Deansgrange and Monkstown with Glasthule and Dalkey.”

Cllr Dave Quinn (SD) successfully proposed the scheme include an “independent review of traffic levels, economic, environmental and other metrics” to take place after two years.

Officials said the modal filter on Tivoli Road was “fundamental” to the entire scheme. They said the road was not wide enough for alternatives such as a one-way system with cycle lanes in each direction.

Cllr Melisa Halpin said the project noted the majority of patients at St Michael’s Hospital were able bodied, but she said that meant “there is a minority that is not”. She proposed a shuttle bus to be provided in the town that would cater for users of the town’s medical facilities.

Cllr Jim Gildea was told the overall budget was €20 million with €9.8 million for construction costs and the remainder for staff and contingency costs.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist