North Dublin residents prepared to sacrifice gardens for BusConnects

Alternative two-way option sees widening of Swords Road through Santry

Anne Graham, CEO, NTA with map of  phase one of the BusConnects Core Bus Corridors project.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Anne Graham, CEO, NTA with map of phase one of the BusConnects Core Bus Corridors project. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Some residents in north Dublin have said they are prepared to lose part of their front gardens to make way for bus and cycle lanes under the BusConnects project as it is “the lesser of two evils”.

Between 70 and 80 properties on Swords Road in Santry are being told they may be impacted by an alternative plan now being considered by the National Transport Authority (NTA) for the proposed Swords to city centre bus corridor.

Concerns had been raised by local businesses and residents in recent weeks about an aspect of the plan, published in November, which would see one-way traffic passing through Santry in the northbound direction, while southbound traffic would be diverted via Coolock Lane and the Santry bypass.

The alternative option includes a widening of Swords Road through Santry to allow a traffic lane in each direction to be maintained, in addition to the bus lanes, impacting on the 70 to 80 properties by between one and two metres.

BusConnects aims to overhaul the current bus system in the Dublin region by redesigning the network and building 16 high-capacity bus and cycle corridors into the city.

Some 345 property owners in north and west Dublin have already been informed they face losing part of their front gardens under the plans and a further 1,000 are expected to be notified in the coming weeks.

Resident Aidan Feehan said his preference would be to give up a metre of his front garden as opposed to the one-way system.

Mr Feehan said last week he had not received a letter from the NTA, but had been informed by a local TD that his property is likely to be affected.

“Looking at it now, losing one metre of the garden compared to a one-way system is really not much of a loss,” he told The Irish Times.

“I work in Sandyford so I know what a bad commute is and I know what a good commute is. If this helps keep things going, I think for the next projected 40 years, then definitely I’d be on board with supporting it.

“Maybe I’m in the minority, but I think little sacrifices have to be made for the greater good. A metre from the garden doesn’t seem too bad.”

Ann Nevin, who has been living on Swords Road for 40 years, said losing part of her front garden is “the lesser of two evils”.

“Ideally we don’t want anything to change, but if something has to change . . . we would sacrifice that,” she said.

“A long time ago there was another proposal, a good few years ago about doing something similar and it never got off the ground. So I’m kind of thinking this may never get off the ground either.”

The constituency office of Fine Gael TD Noel Rock also lies on Swords Road, though the Dublin North West deputy also said he has yet to receive a letter from the NTA.

Mr Rock said he did not mind losing his car parking space but that “anything that affects someone’s home always has to be treated with sensitivity”.

He said many of the constituents who had been into his office in recent days were in favour of the alternative option, even if it meant losing part of their gardens.

The NTA has said that just two households on Swords Road have sought one-to-one meetings so far and that a number of properties on the road are considered “commercial”.

It previously said property owners who lose a portion of their gardens will, on average, receive a compensation payment of €25,000.