Pedestrianisation Affecting Dublin Shop Owner

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Dublin City Council Civic Offices, tags: shop - CC BY-SA

Doc Huysmans, a seasoned comic book shop owner in Dublin city centre, shares his experiences after five years at Capel Street.

Following a trial period in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Capel Street in Dublin is now exclusively for foot traffic as per the decision of Dublin City Council since May 2022.

Pedestrianisation, Huysmans believes, is “an excellent innovation,” but he acknowledges challenges for his business. An investment of €290 million has been made public by the National Transport Authority to improve infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists.

Unfortunately, we have so many broken parts of our country that need to be fixed first, a proper transport system that actually allows people to get in and out of the city is paramount.

Doc Huysmans

Furthermore, The National Transport Authority has allocated €290 million in funding to aid local authorities in implementing walking and cycling infrastructure. This announcement coincides with Dublin City Council being presented with a proposal to limit car access to the city center.

It also suggests limiting automobile access to certain parts of the city center and establishing pedestrian precincts. Businesses on Capel Street, like Dublin City Comics, face initial concerns with parking and deliveries.

Previously, parents could easily park outside Huysmans’s shop for their children, but this is no longer an option. Although parking remains available nearby, the loss of immediate parking spaces has resulted in a decrease in footfall for Dublin City Comics.

Trade lost

Starting from now, all shop deliveries on Capel Street need to be finished before 11 am.

“We’ve lost a lot of trade on the higher end items like large statues and big figures because people just can’t get them on buses to get them home,” Huysmans expressed.

Moreover, anti-social behaviour is also another concern for Huysmans and other business owners on Capel Street. Since the Dublin riots in November, garda numbers in the area have grown, contributing to dealing with the problem.

[The gardaí] have been very active in moving the guys on, but they’re just there every day and it’s not really a nice thing for people to come around the street and see a lot of guys drinking on a corner like it doesn’t really promote a family atmosphere unfortunately.

Doc Huysmans

Concerning visitor traffic, Dublin City Comics now relies more heavily on weather conditions than it did previously.

We’ve observed certain days when rainfall leads to a complete drop-off in business,” he mentioned.

Mr. Huysmans has identified some positives amidst these changes. He remarked that the street now has a much-improved appearance.

However, he noted that the road surfacing carried out by the council has resulted in drainage issues.

I’m optimistic that with the arrival of summer, we’ll witness an increase in foot traffic.” Huysmans added.

However, he expresses concerns about drainage issues caused by the council’s road surfacing.

Council wants motorists out of the city

The perspective of Councillor Nial Ring is that Dublin City Council’s emphasis on car-free city centers disregards the necessities of local businesses.

Mr Ring asserts, “Not everyone can cycle or walk; we need to consider the practicality for people with families and those who require a car.

The Dublin City Council member expressed that Dublin City Council is “hell-bent on getting private motorists out of the city“.

Speaking on the same program, Councillor Darragh Moriarty asserted that research conducted by the council indicates that six out of ten cars are not heading toward the city center as their destination.

They are trying to get through it to get to somewhere else. There are numerous other alternative routes that they could take rather than clogging up our city centre streets. I think the quays, for example, haven’t worked for decades.

Councillor Darragh Moriarty

Mr. Moriarty further stated that the council has established ambitious objectives aiming to decrease downtown traffic by 40% by 2028.

To achieve these goals, they must implement measures such as the one discussed.

He emphasizes the importance of prioritizing public transport, cyclists, and pedestrians to create a desirable city-centre environment. It’s about making the city centre an appealing place for people and “unclogging” it from current traffic congestion.

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