The Irish Times view on Dublin's latest traffic plan: a strategy worth supporting

Dubliners want a more pleasant, more accessible city - after years of talking it is time to get on and implement a plan

Many years have been spent debating solutions to Dublin’s traffic problem. From time to time, Dublin City Council and a succession of State transport authorities have produced plans to end the gridlock. Invariably these are either abandoned, or diluted to amount to very little.

The council and the National Transport Authority should therefore take encouragement from the reaction to their latest proposed scheme. More than 3,500 submissions were made on the draft Dublin City Centre Transport Plan with the feedback – the results of which will be presented to councillors on Wednesday – resoundingly positive.

More than 80 per cent of responses were supportive, with some measures securing approval rates above 90 per cent. A particularly thorny issue, reducing road space for private vehicles “to facilitate a more efficient public transport system”, was supported by 81 per cent.

Much of the credit for this positive reaction should go to the city council and the way it has presented and framed the plan. It is not, it has repeatedly emphasised, banning cars from the central areas, rather it wants to “remove traffic that has no destination in the city”, and it has presented the data backing up the rationale for this move; two out of every three cars in the city are just passing through and not coming to town to shop, work or enjoy any of the other amenities of the city.

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Dublin’s businesses don’t need those drivers. This has been recognised by the Chamber of Commerce, which has been supportive of the plan, and by many individual businesses. Some car park owners, not surprisingly, object.

Diageo, which owns the Guinness brewery, queried how it would reach Dublin Port from its St James’s Gate premises without using the quays. The council had a startling figure to present in response to Diageo, noting its business accounts for 90 per cent of the five-axle lorries on Bachelors Walk during the day.

The council has been given a clear direction; Dubliners want a more pleasant, more accessible city. It is time to get on and implement this plan.