Submission on Grafton Street Quarter Draft Public Realm Plan
The Dublin Cycling Campaign made a submission on the Grafton Street Quarter Draft Public Realm Plan.
The draft plan describes a vision of a lively area offering retail, night life and a great walking experience, which is at one with our own strategic vision of creating ‘a vibrant Living City where people can safely enjoy cycling and walking’.
We welcome in particular the recognition of the long term need to balance the movement of cyclists and pedestrians together with the need for commercial activity, as well as the aim of creating a safe environment day and night; the commitment to reduce on-street car parking and the emphasis on preserving architecture and creating new civic spaces.
However if the Plan is to be more than a facelift and truly transform the Grafton Street area into a vibrant, liveable, sustainable quarter it needs to include some bold decisions on reducing motorised traffic and some simple steps to encourage greater access and permeability for cyclists. In the long history of the Grafton Street area the use of private motor cars is a very recent addition.
Motorised traffic doesn’t mix well with the growing number of pedestrians on the narrow streets and the balance needs to be corrected in favour of pedestrians and cyclists to ensure the vitality and economic attraction in the area. Given the 25% growth in population in the Dublin in the last 10 years, nothing less than a severe curtailment of traffic in the Grafton Street area will enable the development of new civic spaces, wider footpaths for pedestrians and space for the growing number of cyclists who visit the area and cycling commuters who use it as a transit route.
Throughout the Plan the importance of access for people arriving by car has been overstated and the potential for growth of cyclists and the benefits this would bring have been underestimated or ignored.
A study conducted by DIT in 2009 showed that only 10% of shoppers on Grafton Street have travelled there by car. The largest group came by bus (35%), followed by walking (20%) and nearly as many cycled as drove (9%). And cyclist numbers have doubled in the city since 2009.
In summary we believe the Plan needs the following additions to support the aims of refocussing on the area’s unique proposition and character and developing a sustainable cultural and economic quarter:
A pro-active policy to encourage the switch from private car to public transport and walking and cycling.
A strategy and vision to switch a large bulk of commercial deliveries to cycle based deliveries.
Access to streets:
· Give permit-only access to delivery vehicles and cap size and weight
· All motorised traffic, including taxis, severely curtailed on the minor streets around Grafton Street
· Cyclists permitted to use all minor streets (in all directions) with priority given to pedestrians
· Cyclists permitted to use Grafton Street in the early morning and late evening
A more comprehensive view of links for pedestrians and cyclists from the Grafton Street Quarter to the rest of the city centre.
Removal of all on street car parking in favour of wider pavement space and provision only for loading access by permit
A bike parking strategy:
· Bike parking needs to be multi locational as cyclists are just like pedestrians and pop in to shop / dine. Cyclists have and spend money.
· Bike parking on side streets off very busy streets is a good choice.
· Secure parking is also a huge benefit and should be mandatory for any car parking operator to provide.
· A policy to deal with illegally parked or abandoned bicycles, which will inevitably be required as cyclist numbers continue to grow!
A call for changes to planning laws to allow a rich mix of enterprises in the area
A strategy for ongoing maintenance and upgrading of the facilities
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