Dublin City Council have voted (by an overwhelming majority) to remove the “bus gate” that has been in place in the College Green area of the city at rush hour over the past 4 months. (Irish Times: http://url.ie/2rr1)

The removal is temporary, but weakens the resolve of the council to put public safety, the environment and accessibility above the unfounded concerns of the commerce lobby in the future development of Dublin City.

If you live in Dublin, I urge you write to your local councillor so that they might remember the concerns of the cities residents when the scheme comes up for review next year. You can get their contact details here: http://url.ie/2rqz

Below is what I’ve written to every councilor in my local constituency (feel free to re-post, send yourselves, edit and re-use etc.):

“As a constituent of yours, I am writing to express my disgust at the decision to remove the College Green Bus Gate over the course of the Christmas period. The bus gate is the single most visible, positive development that has occurred in the city this year, with the possible
exception of the Dublin Bikes program.

At a time when the entire country is in recession, the use of retail figures by the commerce lobby should have been seen for the fraud that it is. There is endless data available to city planners and councillors alike which proves that abroad, when mass transit replaces
cars and when air quality, traffic congestion, accessibility, noise pollution, tourism potential and street safety are all improved… the cash starts to flow.

The busy Christmas period is one when the city needs to be more accessible, and the bus gate removal is a definite step backwards in that regard. Thousands of cars will make the journey time through College Green as long and more frustrating than that around. How anyone can
think that shoppers are now avoiding the city centre shops because of a minor traffic restriction operating only a few hours a day is beyond me. People are trying to save money because they are unemployed, or crippled by a mortgage, something the commerce lobby most likely don’t and will never understand.

Decisions like this, temporary ones, create confusion in the population. “Is it running?, Is it not?, Is it being enforced?” all of which will serve to damage the measure even if kept in place in future.

I can only hope that by writing this email I, and others like me will be remembered when the bus gate comes in for it’s review in 2010. Keep it, it’s a good thing, and commendable decision by the council earlier this year, which will serve the city well in the long run.”