O’Connell Street Integrated Area Plan

For most people, O’Connell Street is the centre of Dublin city - it is traditionally where trams stopped and in later years where almost every bus route passed through it. Up until the 1960s O’Connell Street was known for its cinemas, the GPO and Nelson’s Column. With the destruction of the column and the closure of all except one of the cinemas, the street has become a garish strip of discount stores and fast food restaurants. As the street increasingly became a problematic area after dark, and business interests became concerned with the perceived fall in the quality and pulling power of the street, Dublin Corporation formed a committee to come up with a development plan for the street and its environs.

In February 1998 Dublin Corporation launched a new action plan for O’Connell Street. This plan came about because of the very real concern that O’Connell Street was not living up to its potential as the finest street in the city and it had serious problems that needed to be addressed. To this end, an area covering O’Connell Street and parts of the surrounding streets has been designated for the execution of an integrated area plan. As part of the scheme, individual buildings and groups of buildings of merit have been listed. Others that the corporation feel should be redeveloped or are in need of repair have also been listed for attention.

The plan looks at an area wider than just O’Connell Street and takes in the adjoining properties back as far as Marlborough Street on one side and Moore Street on the other. In also extends north to include Parnell Square and south across the river to College Street, along with Westmoreland Street and D’Olier Street.

The O’Connell Street plan concluded that nothing short of a redefinition of the existing uses was necessary if the street was to become effective as the main street of the capital and of the country. This involved the development of a range of uses that generate animation, vitality and the kind of atmosphere that draws all sectors of society into the street and makes people want to stay.

The objectives of this plan were:

  • To radically improve the environment for pedestrians.
  • To create a perception that the street is safe and secure.
  • To generate a sustainable mix of building uses.
  • To secure refurbish and the future of Georgian buildings on Parnell Square West.
  • To create strong linkages between O’Connell Street and other areas, especially with other integrated area plans, e.g. Historic Area Rejuvenation Project (HARP), North Inner City Integrated Area Plan.
  • To achieve sustainable uses for under-used and vacant buildings in the environs of O’Connell Street.
  • To draw Parnell Square into a more dynamic relationship with O’Connell St.
  • To achieve a quantum leap in the design and presentation of public spaces.

The main recommendations of the development plan included:

  • Widening of the pavements and central mall and reducing the number of traffic lanes in either direction to two lanes
  • Construction of a Luas station (new tramway system) in Lower O’Connell Street
  • Construction of a plaza outside the General Post Office for use during civic celebrations and events.
  • Extensive replanting of trees in a more geometric fashion to provide strolling boulevards in the paved areas.
  • A competition to find a replacement for Nelson’s Column to add a vertical emphasis to the street.

Achievements to Date

  • The Spire has been constructed.
  • O’Connell Street has been completely refurbished.
  • All monuments have been restored and cleaned to their original condition.
  • A new central median/pedestrian area has been constructed from O’Connell Street to Parnell Street.
  • A new Civic Plaza has been created outside the GPO, for use during celebrations.
  • New ‘Shop Front Guidelines’ have been implemented for O’Connell Street.
  • O’Connell Street has been designated as an ‘Architectural Conservation Area’.
  • A ‘Special Planning Control Scheme’ has been introduced.

Other Achievements

  • Numbers 4 and 8 on Eden Quay have been refurbished.
  • A new Jury’s Inn hotel has been constructed on Parnell Street.
  • Work has commenced on the refurbishment of the ILAC centre.
  • A new retail and residential development has been built at the former Walden site on Parnell Street.

Posted by Reflecting City Team on Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Planning • (0) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
Page 1 of 1 pages