In 2004, the Luas, a light rail tram running through the city, was added to the already complicated Dublin public transport network. The network was previously made up mostly of a large fleet of buses and the heavy rail DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) line running for about thirty three miles between North Dublin and North Wicklow.
The Luas consists of two lines, the red line operating on the north side of the city and the green line on the south side. It was originally planned that there would be a connection between the lines on O'Connell Street and St. Stephen's Green, however, this connection was missing from the service when it was originally launched. This meant a fifteen-minute walk across the city for anyone needing to use both lines.
Now, however, after ten years and a €150 million ($207.6 million) investment in the project from the European Investment Bank, the process of linking the two lines has finally begun. The decision to link the two lines is not without its difficulties. The connection will run through the historic College Green area of the city and up the busy, and often chaotic, Dawson Street. Work commenced on the line running along Dawson Street in early March 2014 with the one-way road being reduced to a single lane in some parts. This has of course put extra pressure on the traffic flow in the city, with blockages leading to buildup of traffic entering the city center from the south.
Dawson Street is a favorite with Dubliners, but it's also popular with tourists visiting the Lord Mayor’s mansion and a number of businesses located along the section currently occupied by construction. Although the connection is welcomed in order to bring more people to the area in the future, it is undeniable that for now the noise and construction are causing inconvenience for businesses, especially those located on the East side of the street which is blocked with a large metal barricade.
The loss of business to those affected at this time of year, when thousands of tourists visit the city for St. Patrick’s Day, has the potential to be hugely damaging and it’s hard not to question whether enough planning was done to consider the specific concerns of those directly affected by the construction along the street. It remains to be seen if the connection of the two lines will provide enough of an incentive for Dublin commuters to leave their cars at home and travel on public transport like many of their European counterparts.
How have other cities managed to improve their transport network with minimal impact to commuters and businesses in the area?
Credits: Images by Rebecca Mullen. Data linked to sources.