Final plans for the creation of 16 continuous bus corridors and segregated cycle lanes across Dublin city have been released for public consultation by the National Transport Authority (NTA).
The NTA intends to lodge an application to An Bord Pleanála next March for this major infrastructural element of its BusConnects project, which has also seen a redesign of the entire network of bus routes across the capital.
The construction of the 230km of bus priority lanes, which would require the felling of more than 3,000 trees and acquisition of part of 726 front gardens, is scheduled to begin on the phased basis from 2022, with each route taking approximately two years to complete.
While the number of gardens affected by the scheme has been reduced from 776, more trees will be cut down, a total of 3,050 up from 2,449.
The felling of trees had been a source of much opposition to the scheme in recent years. The NTA said the “vast majority of what may be considered landmark, long term and established mature trees along many of the city’s streets and suburbs will not be impacted”.
Much of the tree removal is to facilitate the construction of 200km of segregated cycle tracks the NTA said, and the trees were “largely smaller and less mature, the majority of which will be replanted”, it said.
“Places where trees are a cornerstone of the area’s Urban Realm like Baggot Street, St. Mobhi Road and the Rathgar Road among many others, will largely remain untouched.”
The scheme has also seen some traffic redesigns, including a bus gate at the Lower Leeson Street entrance to St Stephen’s Green, which will divert cars onto Hatch Street and Earlsfort Terrace.
The Dublin Cycling Campaign said some junctions have not been designed to “best practice international” standard, leaving cyclists particularly vulnerable to left-turning vehicles.
The NTA had initiated what it hoped would be the final round of public consultation on the preferred routes in March of this year. However, due to Covid-19 restrictions at that time, it decided to hold another round of public consultation that begins today and lasts until December 16th.
Submissions will be reviewed ahead of the lodging of a formal application with An Bord Pleanála next year. All 16 corridors are not expected to be completed until 2027.
A system of segregated, continuous bus lanes for Dublin was first announced in 2014. In 2017 the NTA it announced the potential routes for these core bus corridors – which it hoped to have completed by the end of 2019.
The network redesign, published in September, involves changing bus routes across Dublin, with increased frequency of many services, but a slight reduction in the number of direct routes to the city. It will be implemented, as part of the BusConnects programme, from next year.