The National Transport Authority (NTA) has today launched the second round of public consultations on the sixteen core bus corridors earmarked for development as part of the BusConnects programme.
The latest round of public consultation on the Core Bus Corridor Projects centres on the Preferred Route Options for all sixteen corridors. This comes following the first round of public consultation on the Emerging Preferred Routes in late 2018 and early 2019.
The BusConnects programme is an integral element of Project Ireland 2040, the Transport Strategy for the Greater Dublin Area 2016-2035 and the Climate Action Plan published in June 2019. Its aim is to develop an enhanced bus system that is better for the city, its people and the environment.
By delivering 230km of continuous bus priority and 200kms of cycle tracks, the Core Bus Corridor Projects will help more people move from their cars to a better, more reliable and more efficient bus system. This is a critical element in reducing carbon emissions and congestion in the capital city.
During the six-month consultation process, the NTA received approximately 13,000 written submissions, including submissions with multiple signatories. Community Forums were also established for each corridor to enable a two-way dialogue with local communities where solutions to certain challenges were co-created.
Despite the issues varying across each corridor, a number of common issues were identified including the potential impact on properties.
Following extensive engagement with the local communities across Dublin, the NTA’s revised proposals contain several design changes that aim to minimise the impact of the project on properties while maintaining bus priority and enhancing cycling facilities.
Revisions to the initial proposals have ensured a 42% decrease in the number of properties impacted by the project, with:
One of the biggest concerns raised during the first round of consultation was the removal of trees in historic areas of the city. The NTA has introduced multiple changes to protect long-established trees in historic parts of Dublin, which have resulted in:
This has been achieved through the maximisation of existing road space by new one-way systems, the introduction of Signal Controlled Priority, Bus Gates and off route cycle tracks.
Less developed trees along a select number of Core Bus Corridors have been identified for replacement to ensure the provision of safe cycling infrastructure. This follows extensive topographical surveys in recent months. Included is a new two-way segregated cycle-track running inside the grounds of the Hermitage Golf Club on the Lucan to City Centre corridor.
A comprehensive replanting programme will ensure more trees are replaced than are removed during the development of Core Bus Corridor Projects.
Consultation on the revised proposals begins today and runs until Friday, 17th April. A series of information events will be hosted across the Greater Dublin Area during March. Dates, times and venues are available at www.busconnects.ie.
All submissions in the second round of public consultation will be reviewed by the NTA. Technical, environmental, and transport impact assessment work will then take place with final plans due to be presented to An Bord Pleanála for statutory approval in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Anne Graham, NTA Chief Executive Officer said:
“In 2018, we first unveiled our plan to deliver continuous bus priority along Dublin’s busiest bus corridors and high-quality cycling facilities. Through extensive public consultation and direct engagement with communities across the region, we’ve been able to pinpoint areas of concern along each of the sixteen routes.
We have responded constructively to the issued raised and have put forward alternative proposals that help to mitigate many of these challenges raised by the public. This has helped to dramatically reduce the number of properties that will be impacted and to work with communities to create new public realms across the city.
Considerable emphasis has been given to meeting the needs of the increasing number across the city choosing to cycle to work and college. We’re proposing modern infrastructure that will provide new options for children and their families to be able to cycle safely both between, and within, their local communities.
I’m confident that the revised routes will greatly improve journey times and most importantly will reduce CO2 emissions by having more people move from their car and onto the bus. We are also moving forward to creating a fleet of low emissions vehicles with half of the fleet due to be converted to low emission buses by 2023.
Although we are aware that a project of this scale and investment will bring challenges, BusConnects is needed now more than ever. With our cities growing, continuous bus priority and more cycle lanes will be needed to create a sustainable public transport system fit for the future.
I would invite the people of Dublin to share their views on the Preferred Route Options in the coming weeks.”