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  • Southside

Mixed reaction to ‘new’ College Green plan

Thursday, 18th May, 2017 8:00am

Story by Neil Fetherstonhaugh
Mixed reaction to ‘new’ College Green plan

The new-look College Green would boast pedestrian spaces and water features.

Mixed reaction to ‘new’ College Green plan

The new-look College Green would boast pedestrian spaces and water features.

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THERE has been a mixed reaction to Dublin City Council’s plans for the renewal of the capital’s College Green.

The council recently unveiled its “exciting and creative design” for the green as a civic space in the heart of Dublin.

Designed by Dixon Jones/Paul Keogh Architects, the newly shaped College Green development will be a dramatic 7,300 sq metre area for people to enjoy in the heart of the city centre.  

An attractive tree lined and granite paved space has also been designed to facilitate major public gatherings and processional events through the city. It will have the capacity to accommodate up to 15,000 people and will be fully equipped with the infrastructure required to stage large public events.

In order to enhance the views of the historic buildings and optimise the space for public events, the existing trees will be removed and 22 new trees will be planted.

The existing Henry Grattan and Thomas Davis monuments will be restored and retained as key focal points on an axis with the gates of Trinity College.

The Thomas Davis monument will be relocated slightly further west of its current position.

 The council says the civic space will reclaim College Green’s historic footprint from the gates of Trinity College to Anglesea Street, and will include Foster Place.

There will also be a defined cycle route to allow cyclists traverse the new civic space to connect with cycle lanes to the east and west of the space. 

 An innovative and “playful element” of the new College Green space, according to council plans, is an open water sculpture with 32 individual water jets which will be controlled depending on the seasons and events taking place at College Green.

 As part of the design there will be a new turning circle for buses at the western approach to the space.  Taxi ranks currently in the College Green area will be relocated to adjacent streets. There will be two-way traffic routes for taxis, buses and the new Luas Cross City running in a north-south direction around the front of Trinity College.

 Dick Brady, Assistant Chief Executive, Dublin City Council, said that the proposal to remodel College Green as a pedestrian–priority space is a Dublin City Council and National Transport Authority initiative.

“The College Green project is a major public realm project which reflects the council’s desire to continuously improve the city’s attractiveness for citizens, support its economic vibrancy and maintain its place as a top destination for visitors,” he said.

 Dublin City Council will submit the project to An Bord Pleanála for consideration later this month.

Subject to planning permission, construction of the College Green civic space is scheduled to commence in January 2018 following a public tender process and will take a year to complete. 

 Dublin City Architect, Ali Grehan, said the proposed design for College Green was shaped following extensive consultation with the public and stakeholders.

“The clear preference was for a pedestrian and cycle friendly open space,” she said. “This College Green project is a unique opportunity for Dublin to reclaim an urban space of prime civic importance and of national and international significance.”

 However, Dublin Chamber, the group which represents businesses in the  city,  has expressed concern over a perceived lack of clarity regarding how traffic will move around the city once the new Luas line opens later this year.

The chamber, reacting to the publication of the new proposals for a pedestrian plaza on College Green, said the piecemeal approach to traffic planning in the city was causing great concern for businesses in the city and making it difficult for firms to plan for the future.

According to Graeme McQueen, Head of Public Affairs at Dublin Chamber: “The creation of a pedestrian plaza on College Green could be great for the city. However, a lot of questions remain about how College Green - and other areas of the city centre - will work in practice once the proposed changes are introduced.

“Crucially, uncertainty remains as to whether the traffic which will be pushed out of College Green can be accommodated on other already congested city centre streets.

“Re-imagining College Green represents an exciting opportunity for Dublin - but only if we get it right,” he added. “But, get it wrong and the consequence will be that people won't want to come in to the city centre - neither by bus nor by car.

“The council says it has done modelling work to show what impact the displacement of cars will have. This data should be made publicly available."

Labour’s spokesperson for Dublin, Senator Kevin Humphreys, said the delays to the proposals for a new civic plaza at College Green were disappointing.

"The decision to make an application to An Bord Pleanála for the long-expected plans for a civic plaza at College Green introduces huge uncertainty as to whether the plans will go ahead,” Senator Humphreys said.

"This will also add further delays to the project, meaning it will be over two years before the work is done, should it get permission.

"Dublin City Council could have pursed a Part 8 planning application which has been used for many major projects in the past.”

"Instead, the earliest likely date for a decision by An Bord Pleanála is October, with the work then expected to take 18 months to complete, bringing us to April 2019.


Pictured at the presentation of plans for a revamped College Green are Ali Grehan, Dublin City Architect, Paul Keogh, lead architect, Paul Keogh Architects and Edward Jones, Dixon Jones Architects. PHOTO: CHRIS BELLEW

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