Panti is leading a chorus of calls for the pedestrianisation of all of Capel Street after Dublin City Council announced their plans would ignore the area around PantiBar and the top end at Strand Street and Capel Street.
The newly announced plans are supposed to open up Dublin’s streets to pedestrians to accommodate an outdoor summer as restrictions on outdoor dining and drinking are due to be relaxed in June. The area of Capel Street only between Ryders Row and Parnell Street will be traffic-free on a 24/7 basis.
Parking spaces will be removed on Ormond Quay and Mary Street and some between Mary Street and Little Britain Street. Temporary footpaths will also be installed in parts of Capel Street and in Strand Street, Ormand Quay and Mary Street. The changes are due to come into effect on May 24.
“The proposed “pedestrianisation” of Capel Street is a total disappointment. As I originally worried, it’s only the very far end of the street,” Panti said on Twitter. “And the Pantibar end? No change *at all*. Even left with the full three lanes of traffic!”
One of the reasons Capel St is THE best street in the city (not for debate) is that apart from the Spar and the bank, it is all small independent local businesses. You want a rubber stamp, hammer, dildo, cake, sushi, falafel, suit, aprons, dart board? We got it.
And lots of cars
— Dr Panti Bliss-Cabrera (@PantiBliss) May 7, 2021
DublinTown, the business group representing 2,500 businesses in Dublin City Centre, has also expressed its concern with the partial pedestrianisation plans announced by Dublin City Council which will also see South Williams Street ignored.
“Part pedestrianisation of streets is confusing for customers and may act as a deterrent to their full use of city streets. It is also confusing and frustrating for businesses who need access to the street for outdoor dining and queueing,” they said in a statement. “Dubliners love their city and want it to survive. They know that many businesses will not make it through the pandemic and that those surviving are financially vulnerable. They want them and their city to return to full strength. All parties including Dublin City Council have to play their part to give struggling businesses a fighting chance.”
The LGBTQ+ community were also up in arms at the thought of a pint in the sun at PantiBar being taken away from them through lack of pedestrianisation. “@DubCityCouncil don’t fully appreciate that in putting no effort into Capel Street and leaving @PantiBliss with three lanes of traffic outside her bar. They’ve piqued the ire of the Gays. Gays don’t drive and we walk really fast. We love a good pedestrianised street,” said Twitter user YasCaoimhin.
— Kate Dolan (@caatdolan) May 7, 2021
The frustration felt by many at the news was summed up by Panti: “Whether it’s very big things or small things – whether justice for Magdalene survivors and breast cancer services, or just public toilets and livable streets – progress in this country only seems to come on the heel of public outrage now, and its exhausting.”
Dublin City Council have opened up a public consultation form online until May 14 (which can be found here) where people can give their thoughts on the new plans.
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