The Irish Times view on Dublin’s new bus routes: A step in the right direction
Proposed changes will improve quality of life for a majority of the capital’s residents
The proposed investment of €2 billion in 16 high-speed bus routes in Dublin should be welcomed. Photograph: Alan Betson
The proposed investment of €2 billion in 16 high-speed bus routes in Dublin forms an integral part of the National Development Plan and should be welcomed as a measure that will improve transport mobility while improving the quality of life for commuters in the metropolitan area. As with all such projects, however, the sensitive treatment of negatively affected individuals and businesses will be critical in ensuring the public good prevails.
Population of the greater Dublin region is expected to grow by a quarter of a million during the next 20 years and it is facing key challenges in housing affordability and transport systems. Those pressures are particularly intense within the metropolitan area where rental charges and traffic congestion threaten economic growth. In spite of that, local resistance to the construction of apartment blocks and other measures that may affect property prices remains extreme.
Higher population densities will drive apartment construction at the expense of semi-detached homes
The 10-year capital investment programme, published by the National Transport Authority (NTA), will involve extensive road widening and cycle paths. An estimated 1,300 homes and businesses could lose part of their front gardens or parking areas during that period. But they will be compensated, if necessary through compulsory purchase orders, and the NTA has undertaken to landscape relevant areas and seek alternative parking for affected residents.
If Dublin is to provide an acceptable quality of life for the majority of its citizens in the coming decades, difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions will have to be taken. Public transport, cycle lanes and pedestrian facilities are likely to be promoted at the expense of private motoring. At the same time, higher population densities will drive apartment construction at the expense of semi-detached homes. These changes will impact negatively on some people. But if the city is to function in a sustainable fashion and provide not just employment but an enjoyable quality of life for its residents, that is the direction in which we must travel. This public transport initiative should be given a positive response.