Dublin Chamber of Commerce would like to see the trial pedestrianisation of some of the capital's streets extended to weekdays.

The trial, which is taking place in areas in the south of the city around Grafton Street including parts of South Anne Street, Duke Street, and South William Street, Drury Street and Dame Court, has been running at weekends since the end of July from 11am to 11pm as part of a broader strategy for traffic control. 

According to Dublin City Council,  the pedestrian trial has gone very well to date, and reaction over the weekends was largely positive.

Publishing pilot details earlier this month, the council said the step was designed to provide space for safe movement of people and to help businesses to overcome the Covid-19 inflicted downturn.

A council survey showed that extra foot traffic has had led to increased turnover in shops of between 40% to100%.

Businesses, shoppers, restaurants and cafe goers have given very positive feedback towards the trial.
Graeme McQueen, Dublin Chamber spokesperson, said that businesses need all the help they can get.

"We've got another weekend to go, so we're very hopeful that it's going to be another good weekend," said Mr McQueen.

"We'd like to see these trials extended for the rest of August, and probably into September as well. Businesses in the city centre really need the help. Numbers are still down on where they would have been pre-Covid.

"The big challenge is particularly through the week. Mid-week is really, really quiet between Monday and Thursday. So we may need to look at bringing this pilot trial into those days, as well," he said.
"This allows people to have the confidence to go back into the city centre. Get families back in, get people back in shopping - that's going to help the businesses, that's going to save jobs."

Meanwhile, the Dublin Cycling Campaign is encouraging Dubliners to leave their cars at home if they are heading in to see the pedestrianised streets.

Kieran Ryan, of the Dublin Cycling Campaign said: "We'd recommend using some of the primary routes along the Grand Canal Greenway, the Royal Canal Greenway, and the new protected cycle route along the Liffey Quays.

"And if you're looking for somewhere safe and secure to park your back when you're in the city centre, we highly recommend the dedicated cycle parking inside the Park Rite carpark on Drury Street.

"It's indoor, it's free, it's secure, it's monitored, and it's a great place to leave your bike if you're accessing the new pedestrian streets in the area."

The council's plan for weekends only and time limited pedestrianisation for some streets in the South William Street area comes nearly a decade after businesses in the area requested a more substantial trial of pedestrianisation.

The then Lord Mayor Andrew Montague facilitated a public meeting in the Mansion House but the proposals are understood to not have developed because car park owners and business interests were unhappy with the plan despite access to car parks being maintained.

Janet Horner, Green Party Councillor for the North Inner City said it is an "obvious move" for the city centre.

"This is something businesses want. The first weekend of the trial was very successful even if there are still a few tweaks and a few changes needed for next weekend," she said.