6. Link Streets (Dublin St. & Tullow St.)
Urban linkages are important for the regeneration of the wider Town and this intervention looks at two prominent streets in the Town, Dublin Street and Tullow Street. These are already primary retail streets with independent shops, restaurants, cafés, pubs and nightclubs. They also provide for the movement of people in the Town, both east to west and north to south. The upgrading of these streets will deliver key connections and ancillary services for the community, students and visitors alike.
The upgrading of the urban environment and public realm along these streets also provides the opportunity to address existing traffic and pedestrian safety issues. This Intervention has looked at ways in which existing public space can be enhanced and largely traffic-dominated streets can be ‘greened’. Through the consolidation of on-street parking, along with the introduction of trees, lush planting and new seating areas the critical role of the Town Centre as the heart of Carlow will be reinforced.
This Intervention seeks to support the vitality of the Town Centre as the retail/ commercial core while delivering the visual uplift that will unify the overall Town Centre, including the River Barrow, Civic Spine and key retail and educational areas. The greening of these streets will also contribute to improved visual amenity and the realisation of the overall climate change objectives that are a core element of this Strategy.
Health & Wellbeing Principles
- Provides improvements in the public realm to encourage activity;
- Allows for linear green spaces to be developed;
- Increased opportunity for physical activity;
- Improved air quality (reduction in car numbers);
- Contributes to a positive outlook and good mental health; and
- Promotes community initiatives.
“Nothing in this world is more simple and more cheap than making cities that provide better for people” - Jan Gehl
Renewing and improving streets is a constant feature of urban development and it is essential that each time alterations occur, that they bring benefits that realise a more accessible and pedestrian friendly environment. Along Dublin Street and around the Tullow Street area, the Strategy promotes a more ‘walkable’ Town Centre.
Tullow Street and Dublin Street are key link streets which form part of the historic Town Centre of Carlow and are at the heart of its retail and commercial offer. Upgrading the streetscape along these will provide a distinct improvement in road safety, traffic capacity, pedestrian priority, enhanced linkages and town liveability.
The improvements are designed to make the area more user-friendly to pedestrians and cyclists, with design changes to encourage people of all ages and abilities to walk or cycle for leisure, travel or exercise. In relation to exercise, linking into the other Interventions proposed, these changes will have the cumulative benefit of creating routes around the Town Centre which can be used for physical activity and add to the overall attractiveness of the Carlow Town as a place to live. Improving the connections between the key retail, educational and civic spaces in the Town will entice people to spend more time in a vibrant and modern Town Centre.
The important role this Intervention plays in the network of streets around the town core is not only functional but also perception. As one arrives in a place it is often as they transition between different areas that they alter their behaviour or become more aware of their surroundings. This Intervention will alert people to the connections between different areas of the Town Centre, from the Civic Spine to the Retail Core. It will have the effect of encouraging people to look for new links and to move around and through the Town.
The creation and maintenance of a healthy public realm for Carlow is essential to the achievement of a thriving, vibrant, sustainable and attractive Town Centre that everyone can enjoy and take pride in. The places where we live and work have a significant impact on people’s health and wellbeing and a built environment that encourages more walking/cycling has a direct benefit on people’s health. Furthermore, the ability to easily navigate a space through good design, lighting and signage can contribute to a person’s ability to function and to feel good, while good amenities, such as seating, encourage usage of public spaces.
- Prioritising walking, cycling and public transport use;
- Creating a vibrant Town Centre through the delivery of an enhanced public realm with improved accessibility for sustainable transport modes;
- Improving connectivity between the Town Centre and natural assets such as the River Barrow and River Burrin; and
- Facilitating appropriate and well designed access to natural spaces, features and landscapes.
Carlow County Council is strengthening its position to be proactive and ahead of the curve in supporting public realm initiatives which aim to make public spaces usable, safe and inviting in a post-COVID society. The vision for this Strategy places the Health & Wellbeing of Carlow Town at the core of its regeneration. This Intervention and the initiatives proposed will provide a safe and open environment for pedestrians and will demonstrate that properly planned and designed urban areas and amenity spaces can be safely accessed post-COVID. Carlow Town will have the capacity for larger pedestrian-friendly infrastructure with less reliance on and support for car usage. The focus will be on how people can safely move around with proper social distancing and space to walk and cycle, which people are choosing to do in increasing numbers as a result of COVID-19.
Key Development Interventions
- Development along Tullow Street and Dublin Street comprising upgraded paving solutions, planting scheme and street furniture
Key Linkage Interventions
- Improved connectivity at junctions (Tullow/Dublin Street, Potato Market, Shamrock Square)
- Key Development Interventions
- Development of a safe and walkable space
- Improved relationship between cars and pedestrians
Key Physical Changes
- Redevelopment of the public realm
- Introduction of shared surfaces
- Improved planting and greening arrangements
- Consolidation of on-street parking
The interventions outlined above should deliver the following;
- An improved Town Centre experience for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists;
- Enhanced connections between key Town Centre areas; and
- Increased vitality and vibrancy which will improved Town Centre retail numbers.
The regeneration of Dublin Street and Tullow Street can be implemented over a phased period so as not to hinder the business currently operating in the area. Key to the development of this Intervention will be ‘buy-in’ from both traders and the local community in order to facilitate the improvements in the public realm and recognise the need to reduce car numbers in the Town Centre.
The key feature of this Intervention is the upgrading of the streetscape along Dublin Street and Tullow Street. The costing for the projects contained in the Link Streets Intervention will be dependent on the detailed designs brought forward in terms of materials, fixtures, ground works etc. Notwithstanding this, in order to assist with achieving a high level understanding of such costs, the upgrade works to O’Connell Street in Limerick were reviewed as an exemplar as it is a recent example of a budget based on current market costs for such street improvement works.
The works to O’Connell Street which cover the area from the junction of Denmark Street to Barrington Street, a distance of approximately 786 metres in length, have been costed at approximately €9.1 million. For this investment Limerick City & County Council secured €4.1 million in European Regional Development Funding via the Designated Urban Centre Grants Scheme. Based on the above costing for O’Connell Street, Dublin Street could at today’s rates cost somewhere in the region of €1.5 - €1.8 million.
This Intervention will provide a platform for additional commercial activity along Dublin Street and Tullow Street. The Fairgreen Shopping Centre currently experiences an approx. weekly footfall of 100,000 visitors, compared to that of approx. 10,000 visitors to a traditional major retailer in the Town Centre. This contrast in footfall between the peripheral retail core and the historic Town Centre is significant. This Intervention, through the enhancement of connections between these two core retail areas, as well as to the Civic Spine, will improve overall accessibility within the Town Centre, encouraging a more even distribution of footfall and resulting in improved retail prosperity along these streets. The enhancement of the streetscapes will also provide an incentive for property owners and businesses in the area to improve their commercial offering in keeping with the surrounding spaces.
Phasing & Costs
- The costings for the upgrade works to Tullow Street is dealt with as part of the Town Centre Intervention.
- The overall cost for the Dublin Street Proposal will be in the region of €1.5 - €1.8 million.
- At this juncture it is envisaged that the works will be carried out in a single phase project.
Phasing & Costs
- The overall cost for the Tullow Street Proposal is €1,871,255.
- At this juncture it is envisaged that the works will be carried out in a single phase in 2024
- . Subject to the completion of the Part 8 process the abovementioned allocation of costs per annum may be altered to reflect a more detailed work programme.
- The above cost include for Local Authority resources at €47,229 over the 2 years.