BusConnects: 130 at-risk D4 trees festooned with red ribbons
Trees have been proposed for felling under BusConnects plans
Councillor Paddy McCartan and his supporters are tying ribbons around the trees that may be cut down for the BusConnects programme on Merrion Road, Dublin. Photograph: Tom Honan
The ribbons appeared on Tuesday night on 130 trees that have been identified for possible felling on Pembroke Road, Merrion Road and Nutley Lane to facilitate road widening for the core bus corridor route from the city centre to UCD.
Attaching the ribbons was the work of Fine Gael councillor Paddy McCartan and his supporters, to illustrate the potential “environmental and visual damage” of the National Transport Authority’s (NTA) bus corridor plans, according to Mr McCartan.
“We want to create an awareness for the community as to the potential destruction of these vintage trees, some of which have been there for more than 120 years.”
Mr McCartan said most local residents appeared to be unaware that up to 160 trees could be felled to make way for the BusConnects route.
“A lot of people thought it was going to be only a few trees, I don’t think anyone realises the scale of the destruction proposed. These magnificent plane trees are a feature of the area, it will alter the vista and the whole environment.”
When asked if the action was merely an election stunt, Mr McCartan said: “My answer to that is I have a responsibility as a public representative to make sure people have as full information as I can provide. Leaflets will be read by only a certain number of people; this visibly demonstrates the effect. We decided it was the best way to inform the public. I want to make sure people know exactly what’s proposed so they can make a submission to the NTA by the May 31st deadline.”
A spokeswoman for the NTA said it was working to balance the concerns of local residents with the need to improve public transport and cycling infastructure.
“Our goal is to minimise the impact where possible on trees, and the amount of space needed from gardens and footpaths, but we still need to achieve quality bus and cycling infrastructure.”
The plans released for public consultation were “concept designs” she said, and more detailed plans would be developed shortly.
“We are in the process of appointing design teams. They will be in place within the next two weeks and will include urban landscapers and environmental specialists among others, who will develop the detailed level of design.”
These more detailed plans will be released for public consultation in the autumn, ahead of the submission of an application to An Bord Pleanála next year.
“We are listening and taking on board people’s observations and submissions,” she said.