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DublinTown Feedback On Pedestrianisation Trials In Wider Grafton Street Area

  • Fri 04 September, 2020

DublinTown welcomes the chance to provide feedback on the pedestrian trials in the wider Grafton Street area.

DublinTown issued four separate surveys to members in the affected area over four weeks. These surveys were issued electronically to our extensive mailing list as well as being collected by our staff who visited business premises in the area after each of the trials. DublinTown also received specific feedback by email, phone and WhatsApp from member businesses. In total, this equates to over 300 individual responses over the period of the trial.

The key findings are as follows:

  • The business community in the wider Grafton Street area (South Great George’s Street to Dawson Street) are broadly supportive of increased pedestrianisation.
  • When asked about their preferences as to whether the pedestrianisation scheme should be made permanent, the businesses replied in the fourth week’s survey to the affirmative, with only 15.2% of respondents saying that they were firmly in the belief that the pedestrianisation should be discontinued. 49.4% wanted the pedestrianisation to continue 7 days a week, while 35.4% wanted the pedestrianisation to continue weekends only.
  • There was especially good feedback and cooperation among businesses in and around South Anne Street, with special mention to the speed with which the footpaths were widened and the support given to businesses.
  • Good work done by Dublin City Council in relation to streets like Suffolk Street was highlighted.

While this clearly demonstrates the positive attitudes towards the pedestrian trials, there were several specific issues identified as problematic by multiple businesses over several weeks. It was felt that addressing these issues would garner great support for future schemes and improve the trading environment.

These are as follows:

  • Traffic management at the junction of Wicklow Street/Andrew Street/Exchequer Street/South William Street created some issues, specifically with backlogs due to vehicles leaving the Brown Thomas car park and turning right. There were questions as to how this would be managed long-term, e.g., will traffic lights be installed at the junction? Will a traffic control box have to be installed on already narrow pavements as a result? There were also specific complaints about the presentation of the junction with the stop-go system and the appearance that the area was under construction.
  • Signage, information and aesthetics – entry and exit points to the area were poorly signposted, the presence of flat-bed trucks and vans at key points as traffic control measures, stop-go traffic controls, dirty traffic and construction signage did not provide a suitable welcome to the area, nor did it explain the purpose of pedestrianisation or communicate that this was being done to make the area more attractive. Specifically, the South William Street junction with Exchequer Street and the area at Drury Street (Fade Street end) were mentioned.

If the pedestrianisation were to be made permanent, significant improvements and investment would need to be made for proper signage and aesthetically pleasing road closure infrastructure – such as the planter pots used on Wicklow Street or Suffolk Street. It is also crucial that signage is clear and understandable, for example, during the trials it was not effectively communicated that car parks were still accessible or what the best route to access them was.

  • Loading bays and bollards – Loading was cited as a significant concern by several businesses. It was not made clear where loading was expected to take place, with several loading bays cordoned off. Also, loading bays that were not allocated for outdoor seating were on occasion cordoned off from early morning or were occupied for large portions of the day by contractor vehicles working for the City Council. The general issue of lack of enforcement in relation to loading (vehicles, especially contractor’s vans staying for several hours at a time on double yellows or in loading bays) was highlighted as an ongoing issue that needed to be addressed.

It was suggested that areas given over to seating should be available for loading up until 11am each day, as these spaces tend not to be used for seating prior to this time. Also, it was suggested that the loss of some loading bay did increase congestion of loading in certain areas and lead to an increase in delivery vehicles double parking etc.

  • Car parks – there was specific issues raised by a small number of businesses about the lack of clarity in messaging and signage for the car parks in the area. It was not made clear that these remained open and were accessible and what the preferred access routes were. Messaging made it appear that entire streets were closed permanently.
  • Outdoor seating – there was feedback from individual businesses about a level of confusion about which businesses could have outdoor seating and where. There are anecdotal reports that businesses were told that certain businesses were not allowed seating or that other agencies had objected to certain areas having seating. Clarity on these issues going forward is required.
  • Bins on South William Street – there were requests for more litter bins in the South William Street area. Specifically, the “Big Belly” or segregated waste bins.
  • Dishing on footpaths on Drury Street – businesses asked for better footpath dishing on Drury Street to allow for better wheelchair and buggy access.
  • General condition of road and footpath surfaces – the poor quality of the road and footpath surfaces in several streets was cited by numerous businesses across all areas where there were pedestrian trials as well as the footpaths on Wicklow Street. There was, however, strongly positive feedback in relation to the widened footpaths on South Anne Street and positivity about the reception that the collaborative business approach received from Dublin City Council.
  • Additional, permanent, public seating such as more public benches was requested in the wider Grafton Street area.
  • There was also interest from businesses from the north side of the city asking for similar trials to be carried out there. DublinTown has suggested Lower Mary Street as one such possible location.

DublinTown has engaged market-leader Springboard to monitor footfall levels in the city centre. Below are results for cameras relevant to the pedestrian trail area. Results from the Dublin Town footfall cameras for the period of the pedestrian trials is as follows:

Weekend one of trial

Dublin City Centre | Saturday 25 July 2020, Week 30, Footfall By Location
LocationYear On Year (%)Week On Week (%)
Total city wide-48.4%-5.7%
Dame Court-49.7%-2.0%
Grafton St at Card Gallery-53.2%-7.9%
Grafton St at M & S-48.9%-3.4%
South Great Georges-48.2%-10.4%
South King St-48.3%-0.6%
South William St-50.5%-14.3%


Dublin City Centre | Sunday 26 July 2020, Week 30, Footfall By Location
LocationYear On Year (%)Week On Week (%)
Total city wide-48.2%3.7%
Dame Court-48.6%4.5%
Grafton St at Card Gallery-51.6%-1.0%
Grafton St at M & S-47.2%13.2%
South Great Georges-47.2%-0.9%
South King St-47.2%13.4%
South William St-46.5%-0.1%


Weekend two of trial

Dublin City Centre | Saturday 1 August 2020, Week 31, Footfall By Location
LocationYear On Year (%)Week On Week (%)
Total city wide-36.8%5.4%
Dame Court-43.3%-11.2%
Grafton St at Card Gallery-40.9%8.2%
Grafton St at M & S-41.3%3.9%
South Great Georges-39.2%3.9%
South King St-32.2%3.9%
South William St-45.4%6.4%


Dublin City Centre | Sunday 2 August 2020, Week 31, Footfall By Location
LocationYear On Year (%)Week On Week (%)
Total city wide-38.9%1.8%
Dame Court-36.2%6.3%
Grafton St at Card Gallery-41.1%2.4%
Grafton St at M & S-38.7%2.2%
South Great Georges-38.7%3.8%
South King St-38.7%-5.3%
South William St-45.9%1.7%


Dublin City Centre | Monday 3 August 2020, Week 32, Footfall By Location
LocationYear On Year (%)Week On Week (%)
Total city wide-41.0%-5.6%
Dame Court-40.7%-35.9%
Grafton St at Card Gallery-44.4%10.2%
Grafton St at M & S-44.0%-8.0%
South Great Georges-41.1%-8.0%
South King St-41.3%-8.0%
South William St-52.4%7.0%


Week three of trial

Dublin City Centre | Saturday 8 August 2020, Week 32, Footfall By Location
LocationYear On Year (%)Week On Week (%)
Total city wide-32.5%6.6%
Dame Court-31.3%24.5%
Grafton St at Card Gallery-37.8%3.2%
Grafton St at M & S-31.8%11.7%
South Great Georges-31.2%18.0%
South King St-31.2%3.0%
South William St-36.6%17.8%


Dublin City Centre | Sunday 9 August 2020, Week 32, Footfall By Location
LocationYear On Year (%)Week On Week (%)
Total city wide-47.8%-9.1%
Dame Court-43.3%-8.3%
Grafton St at Card Gallery-48.8%-7.8%
Grafton St at M & S-49.7%-12.2%
South Great Georges-49.7%-12.8%
South King St-49.7%-4.2%
South William St-58.6%-17.4%


Week four of trial

Dublin City Centre | Saturday 15 August 2020, Week 33, Footfall By Location
LocationYear On Year (%)Week On Week (%)
Total city wide-32.9%3.4%
Dame Court-29.8%5.7%
Grafton St at Card Gallery-37.8%5.7%
Grafton St at M & S-33.0%-0.1%
South Great Georges-49.3%-24.0%
South King St-28.8%22.3%
South William St-42.7%-5.9%


Dublin City Centre | Sunday 16 August 2020, Week 33, Footfall By Location
LocationYear On Year (%)Week On Week (%)
Total city wide-43.7%0.4%
Dame Court-53.1%-11.7%
Grafton St at Card Gallery-46.5%-5.8%
Grafton St at M & S-44.0%-2.7%
South Great Georges-60.8%-29.1%
South King St-35.5%7.7%
South William St-55.3%-1.1%


Week five of trial

Dublin City Centre | Saturday 22 August 2020, Week 34, Footfall By Location
LocationYear On Year (%)Week On Week (%)
Total city wide-40.2%-4.9%
Dame Court-20.1%1.6%
Grafton St at Card Gallery-47.3%-10.5%
Grafton St at M & S-39.0%-1.6%
South Great Georges-52.2%-2.1%
South King St-46.0%-21.7%
South William St-51.6%-9.9%


Dublin City Centre | Sunday 23 August 2020, Week 34, Footfall By Location
LocationYear On Year (%)Week On Week (%)
Total city wide-38.1%16.7%
Dame Court-34.3%20.7%
Grafton St at Card Gallery-47.4%13.7%
Grafton St at M & S-37.8%22.6%
South Great Georges-54.6%15.9%
South King St-32.4%22.7%
South William St-57.6%14.2%