Adopt bus proposals or Dublin will ‘grind to a halt’ – NTA

Chief executive says the choice facing the city is to halve journey times or face stagnation

NTA says the introduction of the corridor would reduce travel time from Swords to city centre from 71 to 40 minutes. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

NTA says the introduction of the corridor would reduce travel time from Swords to city centre from 71 to 40 minutes. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins

 

Dublin city will “grind to a halt” if the proposed compulsory acquisition of parts of some 1,300 gardens to allow for the creation of 16 high-speed bus routes does not go ahead, the National Transport Authority has said.

Announcing the plan, which would cost €2 billion over the next nine years, the authority’s chief executive, Anne Graham, warned that workers would be unable to rely on travel times and the economy and investment in the city could be seriously impaired by traffic congestion.

The core bus corridors set out under the plan would typically incorporate two bus lanes, two segregated cycle lanes, footpaths and one general traffic lane in each direction. These would require road widening in many areas, or diversions and restrictions for parking and private transport.

Ms Graham said the authority would be “generous” in its mitigation scheme for affected properties, with new walls, gates and landscaping provided and urban public spaces improved. She said new mature or semi-mature trees would be used to replace trees that needed to be felled to widen roads.

Core Bus Corridors Project

She said that what was being announced was “a discussion document” and would be followed in the autumn with advanced proposals before a period of public consultation. Planning permission would then be sought from An Bord Pleanála and was expected by 2020, with works planned to start that year. Finance for the scheme has been committed under the Government’s capital plan for 2017-2027, Ms Graham said.

Travel times

Taking the example of the Swords to Dublin city corridor, Ms Graham warned that without any intervention, the current travel time of 71 minutes for the 12km journey would rise to 80 minutes by 2027. She said the introduction of the corridor would reduce the travel time to 40 minutes.

The authority said the travel time on the 10km Clongriffin to Dublin city bus corridor is up to 65 minutes. This would rise to more than 85 minutes if nothing is done or fall to 30-35 minutes if the scheme goes ahead.

Ms Graham and deputy chief executive Hugh Creegan were unable to provide precise details of which properties would lose parts of their gardens. Mr Creegan said the reason for this was that the authority had not yet finished detailed mapping of the routes.

For example, while the details released by the authority included a core bus corridor – which would provide segregated space for cycling – on the N11 from Bray to the city centre, the scheme does not indicate what would happen in Donnybrook, where some cycle and bus space is shared with private motorists.

Instancing a similar difficulty on the northside of the city, Mr Creegan said the Malahide Road between Fairview and Griffith Avenue was restricted in width so cyclists would be diverted via Brian Road and Charlton Road. A new road for public transport only would be provided between Clare Hall and Belmayne Avenue.

Mr Creegan said some routes would see up to 200 properties affected, while others would affect none.