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street ahead Overwhelmingly positive response to Dublin's Capel Street pedestrianisation

'The Northside shouldn’t be playing second fiddle to what has been happening on the southside'

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The car-free pilot project on Capel Street was extended three times last year. Pic: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The car-free pilot project on Capel Street was extended three times last year. Pic: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The car-free pilot project on Capel Street was extended three times last year. Pic: Gareth Chaney/Collins

There has been an overwhelmingly positive response to the announcement that Dublin’s Capel Street will be pedestrianised from next month.

The proposal is set to come into effect within the next three to four weeks after Dublin City councillors voted in favour of the measure earlier today.

There were over 1,700 submissions sent to DCC on the proposed pedestrianisation, with 91% of these supporting the proposal. Some 97% of the submissions from the general public (1,311) were in favour of pedestrianisation.

While the street will be traffic free for a majority of the day, delivery vehicles will still be able to access the street between 6am and 11am on a daily basis.

It will be the largest traffic-free space in the city, longer than both Grafton and Henry Street.

Measures were put in place by DCC last summer to allow for temporary pedestrianisation of both Capel Street and Parliament Street to allow outdoor dining.

After 17 weeks of weekend, a three-week public consultation on the pedestrianisation followed, with 7,000 people responding to the survey sent out by DCC.

The latest feedback found 90% of people were in favour of the move although some businesses wanted an evening car ban instead.

Head of technical services with the city council, Brendan O’Brien, said: “Our preference is not to have people opposing us; not to have people dragging us down the High Court,” he said.

“We really do want to work with people and we think this will be successful.”

Director of Services Karl Mitchell told Newstalk that traffic free streets on the southside have created vibrancy that can be replicated.

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“The Northside shouldn’t be playing second fiddle to what has been happening on the southside so I think this shouldn’t be seen as a negative,” he said. “It should be seen as a real opportunity.”

DCC Senior Executive Engineer Clare French said a final date for the changes still needs to be finalised – but the street will be pedestrianised at some point in May.

The street will be made traffic free through the use of temporary bollards.

DCC has said that no permanent works will be required.

“To ensure smooth operation and to assist in people becoming familiar with the changed arrangements, traffic management personnel will be on site for the first two weeks of operation,” the council said.

There was massive reaction on social media with many taking to Twitter to express their delight.

“Phenomenal news to once again show that Northside is the best side,” one fan of the proposal tweeted.

“Great news,” added another, “and in the tender for the fruit market, could look to this and supporting walking from Henry Street to Capel street and fruit market as a vibrant area like Covent garden.”

“Someone (not me) needs to organise an annual food festival on Capel street to celebrate its pedestrianisation," one suggested. "There is a teeny tiny street in New Orleans that has a sandwich festival every year and it is so incredibly class, imagine what we could do with all the unreal food."

“Great stuff,” one person added. “Does this mean that Capel Street can become Dublin's version of Soho?

Cllr Ray McAdam tweeted: “Capel Street will be implemented next month. For 18 months I’ve worked with local residents, businesses & colleagues to advance plans that will ultimately transform #CapelStreet, make it more pedestrian friendly and support business on the street #NorthInnerCity #onwards.”

Minster Eamon Ryan also tweeted: “Well done to everyone who engaged so enthusiastically with @DubCityCouncil in the proposals to make #CapelStreet Traffic Free. 91% in favour, including residents and businesses."

“Brilliant to see confirmation that pedestrianisation on Capel Street will be coming back after last year's pilot, said another.

“Fair play to all of us who signed the petition and emailed DCC to call for a liveable city with more safe outdoor public spaces for people to enjoy themselves."

Pantibar owner Rory O’Neill, who goes by the stage name Panti Bliss, said he welcomed the plans in general and was delighted for the “colourful and eclectic” Capel Street.

However, he expressed disappointment the proposal did not include the last section down to the quays or Strand Street, which runs down the side of his bar.

“Strand Street connects Capel Street to Liffey Street and will now have enormously increased levels of traffic forced down it, ostensibly to accommodate the construction of another hotel,” he told Independent.ie. “But I live in hope that it will be included in the future.”

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