‘The Luas was the light at the end of the tunnel,’ say disappointed Lucan locals

Local councillor Joanna Tuffy says congestion is a huge problem in the village

 Cllr Joanna Tuffy, with traffic congestion in Lucan Village, Lucan, Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Cllr Joanna Tuffy, with traffic congestion in Lucan Village, Lucan, Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

 

Lucan residents were first told a Luas line would be extended to their area in 2008.

Now, with a delay of at least another 10 years for the project, the residents of the west Dublin suburb feel like they “might never get it at this stage”.

On Tuesday, the National Transport Authority (NTA) published its draft transport plan for the Greater Dublin Area, under which no new train or tram lines will be built within the next decade.

According to the scheme, planned major rail projects including Luas lines to Finglas, Lucan, Poolbeg and Bray, as well as the Metro and Navan rail lines, are not expected to be delivered until after 2031.

Labour party Cllr Joanna Tuffy, from Lucan, said congestion is a huge problem in the village, and an increase in bus capacity through BusConnects will not be enough to meet demand.

“The one thing we were kind of hoping for was the luas for Lucan. The buses won’t make the kind of difference that the Luas would make, with the reliability and the speed,” she said.

“It really transformed places like Tallaght. People were hoping that was on the way here.”

Cllr Tuffy added that there is a “huge number of new houses” about to be built.

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“The Luas was the light at the end of the tunnel that could reach areas that currently aren’t being catered for by the train and things like that. It honestly seems like we never get it at this stage,” she said.

According to the NTA, the northside Metrolink will not be completed until at least 2031, while the Metro South section would not be proceeding.

The south metro project would have involved upgrading the Luas Green line to Charlemont to Metro standard but a planned Luas line to Sandyford/UCD would mean this would not be needed, according to the NTA’s director of planning and transport.

The Dublin Commuter Coalition, a group campaigning for a better transport system, described this move as “disappointing”.

Feljin Jose, the group’s spokesman, said getting Metro North to the statutory planning stage next year would be a “huge milestone”.

However, he added that it had to be delivered by 2032 by the “absolute latest”, and any further delays would be “completely unacceptable”.

“We need to halve our transport emissions by 2030, but there will be no new luas lines and no new metros in that time. The plan is hopelessly bad. We expected a lot more,” Mr Jose said.

However, the campaign group highlighted that the plan is a draft and can still change. They encouraged members of the public to make a submission to improve the provisions.

The underground Dart plan has also been shelved for at least 20 years,which the campaign group said is a “big thing”.

“It’s something we should have built decades ago, and to think we might only get it in the 2050s is a testament to how poor the ambition is with regards to transport in this country,” he added.

Eugene Barrett, from the Metro South West group, which represents 39 residents’ associations, expressed considerable disappointment that there will be no metro lines serving his area.

“There’s an overdependence on BusConnects to deliver the moving of people out of cars. In Dublin South West, the pinch points of Terenure, Harold’s Cross and Rathmines, they’re still there and they cannot handle the extra number of busses,” he said.

On the MetroLink, he said it was just “putting it off another 10 years”, adding that the lack of a line on the south side “comes as a big blow”.

“It’s not really giving us much for the immediate future. There’s more and more houses being built at a rapid pace and they just don’t see any alternative to getting out of their cars,” he added.