Businesses force council to drop traffic diversion plan

DUBLIN City Council has abandoned plans to free up a major traffic bottleneck in the heart of the city centre following the threat of legal action by department store Brown Thomas.

The council’s director of traffic, Owen Keegan, confirmed that opposition from traders in the Grafton Street area led by Brown Thomas had resulted in its decision to cancel plans to alter traffic flows in one of the city’s main shopping districts.

The council originally intended to divert traffic away from Mercer Street, where there is regular congestion due to the large number of cars using the adjoining car parks at the Stephen’s Green shopping centre and the Royal College of Surgeons.

Mr Keegan admitted that he was disappointed at the reaction from the businesses, while also expressing surprise at opposition to a scheme which was designed to help traffic flow in the area.

“It is going to be a nightmare coming up to Christmas,” he predicted.

Brown Thomas said the council’s attempts to block off Mercer Street were “nonsensical” at this time of year. Criticising the lack of consultation with business interests, it said it appeared the measure was solely designed to facilitate the owners of the two car parks without any consideration for other traders.

Traffic congestion in Dublin is also set to worsen as the council plans to block a major cross-city route by preventing access to St Stephen’s Green from Harcourt Street from early next year.

Mr Keegan acknowledged that restricting cars from accessing St Stephens Green from Harcourt Street would cause “real difficulties” but defended the plan by claiming there was a general need to reduce volumes of traffic in the city centre.

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