Section of Phoenix Park avenue closes at weekends

A “Mad Hatter’s” street party is to mark the start of weekend closures of a small part of the main avenue in the Phoenix Park, which handles 10 million car journeys per year.

The Office of Public Works has given notice that it is to close of around 1.2km of Chesterfield Avenue, the main road in the park, from 10pm on Friday evenings to 10pm on Sundays.

The closures will start in two week’s time, on Friday April 8.

The park’s conservation management plan (PDF) recommends the “closure of most roads to vehicular traffic at evenings and weekends” — although the current plan comes nowhere close to this. No weekday evening closures are currently planned.

The avenue stretches from Parkgate Street near the quays to Castleknock and serves as a commuting route from the Dublin 15 area to the city centre, but there are no plans to restrict motorised traffic at weekday rush hours.

Chesterfield Avenue is to be closed between the Phoenix roundabout near the middle of the park and the Mountjoy roundabout at the Casleknock end. Access to the park’s car parks will be maintained.

The OPW said the aim was to increase “use of the park as recreational resource for the public to enjoy” and restrict “unnecessary and or through [motorised] traffic at weekends”, which was recommended in the recently published Phoenix Park Conservation Management Plan 2011.

“The closures will be monitored closely for the Spring-Summer period as an initial pilot project,” Margaret Gormley, park superintendent, said in a statement.

The closed road will be used on Saturday April 9 to host a Mad Hatter-themed family street party, part of the Phoenix Park 350th Anniversary celebrations. The street party will run from 12 noon to 4pm.

The OPW said that “pedestrians, cyclists, runners, and toddlers” will be allowed on the avenue and the event will include a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Easter egg hunt, children’s games, a farmer’s market, and music.

Other measures in the conservation plan include discouraging commuting motorists from using parking spaces provided to park users and visitors to the Zoo.

Chesterfield Avenue was recently closed for a number of months for road repair and resurfacing working.

On the discussion website, one commuter wrote: “Prepare for 3 months of gridlock!”. While the works were ongoing, there were mixed views; One person on the site said: “I reckon it’s added on about 12 minutes to the journey time in the morning”, while another replied: “If anything its improved my commuting journey time… by about 10~15 mins.”

View Phoenix Park in a larger map

CORRECTION: This article originally stated a much larger section of the main avenue was to close. This was an error on our part, we apologise for the error and any confusion which it may have caused.

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