Soils in the vicinity of roads are recipients of contaminants from traffic emissions. In order to obtain a better understanding of the impacts of traffic on soils, a total of 225 surface soil samples were collected from an urban park (Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland) in a grid system. Metal (Pb, Cu and Zn) concentrations were determined using a portable X-ray fluorescence analyzer. Strong spatial variations for the concentrations of Pb, Cu and Zn were observed. The spatial distribution maps created using geographical information system techniques revealed elevated metal concentrations close to the main traffic route in the park. The relationships between the accumulation of Pb, Cu and Zn in the roadside soils and the distance from the road were well fitted with an exponential model. Elevated metal concentrations from traffic pollution extended to a distance of approximately 40 m from the roadside. The results of this study provide useful information for the management of urban parks particularly in relation to policies aimed at reducing the impact of traffic related pollution on soils.