Council Briefs: Changes on Francis Street, and a Struggle Against Bin Removals

Changes on Francis Street

Works are due to start early next year on Francis Street, to make it more pedestrian-friendly and draw more people down it, said Dublin City Council economic development officer Stephen Coyne, on Tuesday.

The revamp to the street, known for its antique shops, is to start with Irish Water replacing water mains the length of the street from January, Coyne said, at a public information session at the new Hyatt Centric in the Liberties. “In March, we’ll come in with our paving project,” he said.

The council’s plan is for the street to stay as a single-lane one-way street for traffic, with a speed limit of 30kph, but of a more consistent width and with wider pavements. “In some places, the pavements will be double what they are now,” Coyne said. That’ll mean more room for tables and chairs, he said.

There’s no cycle track planned because of space issues, Coyne said. “With the traffic calming that’s inherent in that, it’ll be more pleasant to cycle down anyway.” The number of parking spaces on the street will fall from 63 to 42, he said. The council also plans to put in 20 new trees, and sustainable drainage measures.

In the past, some in the antique shops on the street have raised concerns about rising rents and how wider developments in the neighbourhood threaten knock-on effects in terms of changing uses. “That’s happening already, the rents on the street are increasing,” Coyne said. As they are around the city, he said.

Auditing College Green

At a meeting of the council’s South East Area Committee on Monday, Labour Councillor Mary Freehill sought backing for a traffic-safety audit of College Green, focused on pedestrians and cyclists.

Friends recently had bad accidents there, she said. “It really brought home to me how dangerous it was.” It’s not just cyclists outside Trinity College – pedestrians too have fallen and slipped, she said.

Freehill asked – as others have in the past – whether there needs to be something put in the Luas tracks around Trinity College to stop cyclists catching their wheels there. Councillors supported Freehill’s motion.

Taking Out Bins

Councillors keep complaining about public bins being stripped out of streets. But nothing seems to have changed, they say.

The area manager has to stop taking out public bins as a solution to illegal dumping, said a motion from Green Party Councillor Claire Byrne, at the South East Area Committee meeting on Monday. Instead, they should “look for alternative measures to address the problem”.

Across the city in the North West Area Committee meeting on Tuesday, Fianna Fáil Councillor Keith Connolly had a similar motion.

Byrne’s motion had been triggered by workers taking out a bin at Portobello Harbour. “It’s not a solution to illegal dumping,” said Byrne. “I just think we need to review it as a policy.” Her fellow area councillors agreed.

Waiting for Repairs

Residents in Pearse House, a public-housing complex near Pearse Street, were without water for almost a week, said Claire Byrne, the Green Party Councillor at the South East Area Committee meeting Monday.

Labour Councillor Dermot Lacey said he’d recently put in a question about a couple in social-housing waiting three years for the council to repair damage that its workers had done, he said. And another family waiting six months for a toilet to be repaired, he said.

He criticised the maintenance section – wondering aloud whether it was “a lack of resources” or “bad procedures” or “a lack of money”.

Byrne tabled a motion to call on the area manager to review the response times of the Housing Maintenance Section when issues such as water shortages occur. Area councillors at the meeting backed the motion.

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Lois Kapila: Lois Kapila is Dublin Inquirer's editor and general assignment reporter. She covers housing and land, too. Want to share a comment or a tip? You can reach her at [email protected]

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