First it has a bad neighbour – Trinity College Dublin. It’s difficult to get to Pearse Street from the rest of the city, because Trinity cuts through what would be a natural street plan. From Front Gate to the Science gallery, there are no access routes permanently open to the public. What access there is, tends to only be open very limited hours such as 8am to 10am. The street plan problem is exacerbated because while Trinity owns many of the buildings along the street, the buildings open into the campus. The buildings facing on to Pearse Street seem abandoned, decaying and unusable.
To compound the problem, the train line runs overhead, causing noise pollution and creating visual shadows. That lowers property values in the area, and creates an uncomfortable atmosphere. The street is also a major artery into town from South Dublin, but it leads through areas with alot of social housing and social problems.
That’s where it gets interesting though. The classic regeneration model, well the one that’s thought that actually works, is to start at both ends and gradually regenerate towards the centre. Local traders are clearly interested in putting their best foot forward, then further along the street, the new Trinity Biosciences building is opening, bringing a huge amount of life to the area. Further still, the Docklands regeneration with its new bridge, new theatre, and the connection to the Luas seems to be working. In the future there are plans to move Pearse Station onto Pearse Street itself, and who knows, maybe even put the Dart underground.
There is a lot of scope right now, to make small improvements that would really improve the atmosphere on Pearse Street. A small amount of plant life, a few brighter colours, paint the windows and doors of Trinity, maybe remove some of the street furniture clutter, a pedestrian crossing in a place people want to cross . . .
A little work, a lot of gain, and a real opportunity to collaborate.