BusConnects: ‘If they take the garden I won’t be able to get the car in’

Donnycarney residents voice concerns about losing parts of gardens to BusConnects plan

“It’s hard enough now, if they take the garden  I won’t be able to get the car in,” says Donnycarney resident Joseph Jordan of the BusConnects plan. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

“It’s hard enough now, if they take the garden I won’t be able to get the car in,” says Donnycarney resident Joseph Jordan of the BusConnects plan. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/The Irish Times

 

It is just after 9.30am at Donnycarney Church on the Malahide Road, north Dublin, where buses and cars whizz by every minute. Some cyclists take to the footpath, as conditions appear safer there than on the roadside.

Elderly residents from St John’s Court shuffle across the busy road, when they can, pushing shopping trolleys.

Residents located between the church and St John’s Court are among 345 households issued with letters from the National Transport Authority (NTA), informing them they will lose part of their front garden to accommodate bus and cycle lanes under the BusConnects plan.

Joseph Jordan (60) lives with his wife Geraldine, who is a wheelchair user and has multiple sclerosis.

“It’s hard enough now, if they take the garden I won’t be able to get the car in,” Mr Jordan told The Irish Times.

I keep telling her it’s not going to happen straight away, it’s not worth worrying about

“We’re not being told exactly whether it’s a metre, half a metre, two metres. We don’t know anything. We got the letter with the plans but it’s still not telling you anything. We just don’t know.”

Mr Jordan said his wife was “upset” about the plans, which he believes will be introduced “regardless” of local opposition.

“I keep telling her it’s not going to happen straight away, it’s not worth worrying about. When the time comes, we’ll worry about it. We’ve enough to worry about,” he added.

The NTA notified property owners along four of the proposed corridors in November; Clongriffin to the city centre, Swords to the city centre, Blanchardstown to the city centre and Lucan to the city centre.

A further 1,000 property owners are expected to be informed in the coming weeks, and a public consultation process will run into the middle of 2019. The NTA has offered one-to-one meetings with those affected.

Under the BusConnects plans, current bus numbers would be replaced by a new lettering system from A to G, indicating seven main routes through the city, with buses running every four to eight minutes on these core routes. File photograph: Getty Images
Thinking of Changing? The BusConnects plan envisions plenty of change for Dublin. File photograph: Getty Images

Maria and Stephen Fuery, who have been living on the Malahide Road for 20 years, said they are concerned about increased levels of traffic and noise pollution.

“It’s already dangerous, dirty - you have all the dust coming in from the traffic. This area is not going to be a nice area to live in,” said Mr Fuery.

“There’s no management of speed structure here. Any time you come out here, you’re coming out onto a four-lane highway.”

The couple said they haven’t been told “anything” about compensation, which the NTA said will be on average €25,000 for affected property owners, but are clear they will be objecting to the proposals.

Nobody has been around to talk to me about it, not a soul. I’ve been here waiting for them

“It’s not going to happen,” Mr Fuery added. “My understanding of a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) is that your quality of life must not be disturbed. Under a CPO, it must be maintained to a certain standard ... My answer to them is no, you’re going to have to put up a struggle to get this.”

Davrul De Siún (86) said the Malahide Road is already busy “all day long, non-stop”. Pointing to a seal on his front door frame, he said “the place is sealed, everything here is sealed to try and block out the sound”.

“It’s not very clear how much they’re going to take, they have red crosses on the map which don’t really signify much,” he said.

“Nobody has been around to talk to me about it, not a soul. I’ve been here waiting for them. I might ring them but I’m waiting to see what my neighbours say.”

The NTA has stressed that any decision to proceed with the upgrading of bus and cycle lanes will be subject to planning approval from An Bord Pleanála and construction of new lanes would not begin until 2021.