Business owners and residents have warned of “unprecedented traffic chaos” as road closures and diversions along one of Dublin’s busiest commuter routes come into effect next week.
The “temporary” measures, which come into effect next Monday and will last until March 2024, are needed to facilitate significant work on Annesley Bridge and North Strand Road as part of the final phase of the Clontarf to City Center (C2CC) project.
The €62 million project, when completed, will provide dedicated cycle facilities and priority infrastructure for buses along a 2.7km route from Clontarf to the junction of Amiens Street and Talbot Street.
Traffic regulations during the works will see city-based private vehicles diverted at Fairview Strand, Ballybough Road and along Portland Road before rejoining North Strand Road at the Five Lamps.
Under the plan, Annesley Bridge Road and North Strand Road will be open to incoming buses, bicycles and taxis as usual. Both roads will continue to facilitate all outbound traffic throughout the work programme.
In addition, the Clontarf Road railway bridge will be reduced to one lane in each direction between August and the end of this year, with both inbound and outbound traffic being routed through one of the two arches.
Independent councilor Damian O’Farrell called some elements of the transport plan “unnecessary” and warned of “unprecedented commuter chaos for the next 18 months”.
“The reality of what’s being proposed won’t really be home until the changes go into effect next week,” he said.
Another independent councillor, Nial Ring, said he had received “a huge amount of very negative and angry feedback” from residents in North Strand and Ballybough.
“Residents are absolutely shocked, not just by the proposals, but by the way they have been informed and the fact that this will be for at least next year,” he said.
Duncan Graham, chief executive of Retail Excellence, said city centers had suffered the most from the pandemic and called for a “balanced approach” to the proposed scheme. “Right now I only see one step to get less traffic on the streets, but we have to think about how we use our cities and attract people,” he said.
Mr Graham said Retail Excellence will monitor the impact of the project on city center businesses.
Local businessman Damian Duggan said he was forced to lose time after 42 years in his jewelry business in Fairview when work on the proposed bike path began in March.
Duggan Jewelers had its busiest Christmas ever in 2021 but seven months later the shutters have finally come down and the store is now up for sale. “After three years of screaming, screaming, and yelling about this project, I finally had enough of it all,” he told the Irish Independent.
“The day work on this project began was the day I announced my sale. If you had told me six months ago that I was working for someone else, I would have laughed at you.”
Mr Duggan believes new traffic rules will be detrimental to local businesses and will turn Marino “into a parking lot and rat run”.
“Kids can’t go to a football game at Fairview Park because there’s no parking,” he claimed. “You don’t have access to the playground if you have three kids and a buggy and need to get there by car.”
He said he has repeatedly called for the bike path to go through Fairview Park.
Dublin City Council has urged the public to use alternative modes of transport where possible. The local authority has distributed flyers to 60,000 households and businesses in the area and set up a dedicated project website as part of an information campaign.
Mark Crowther, Chair of the Marino Residents’ Association, said the organization has two representatives on the C2CC steering committee and is pleased with the level of consultation Dublin City Council has undertaken to date.
The Dublin Cycling Campaign expressed its support for the project, saying it will “reduce people’s dependence on private cars”.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/after-three-years-of-screaming-and-shouting-im-forced-to-close-businesses-anger-at-car-ban-on-busy-dublin-route-41890848.html ‘After three years of yelling and screaming I must close’: Business anger at car ban on busy Dublin route