The Metropole Hotel has opened a new coffee and crepe bar onto pedestrianised Harley Street. Photo: Shane Clarke/Twitter.

WHAT once was a “rabbit run for traffic” has been pedestrianised to improve Victorian Quarter plans north of the River Lee post-Covid.

Harley Street has been pedestrianised as part of the €5 million construction of Harley’s Street pedestrian and cycle bridge, linking the city centre and Victorian Quarter.

Prior to lockdown, up to 11,000 pedestrians and cyclists travelling between the city centre and the Victorian Quarter benefitted from the improved connectivity to and from the city centre each day.

As we enter phase three of the Government's roadmap to reopening society and business and business reopen their doors after over three months of closure, the Metropole Hotel has opened a new coffee and crêpe
bar on the pedestrianised street, a concept which other businesses in the city centre have also been experimenting with.

General manager of the hotel, Roger Russell, said that although it had only opened last weekend, that the response has been “very positive” and people have been welcoming of it.

“Harley Street was always a street that was used like a rabbit run for traffic and now that it's been pedestrianised I even noticed that it's a sun trap when the sun is shining, it’s beautiful down there.

“You can sit out there and have a cup of coffee and a crêpe, it’s a very simple offering but it’s nice and the feedback that we’ve got from people has been phenomenal. They love it,” he said.

The small bar consists of four tables that can sit two people and are placed two metres apart on the street.

Mr Russell said that discussions have been taking place with City Council in relation to the Victorian Quarter, which consists of MacCurtain Street and the surrounding area, to see what changes can be made to the streetscape to allow for more businesses to increase capacity with outdoor dining.

“One of the things we’re looking at is Harley Street and how we can make it more of a destination.

“Some sort of a market on the street would be great to drive people into the area and we want more people to come into the city centre.

 “Retail is on its knees now so if we can help at all by setting up a market that brings people into the city and we can create a comfortable environment where people can come and sit out and have a cup of coffee then hopefully more people will come into the city centre and give the businesses some hope,” he said.

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