The Campaign's Planning Submission on BusConnects Blackrock/ Belfield
The BusConnects Core Bus Corridors offer a once in a lifetime opportunity for cyclists in Dublin. BusConnects is the National Transport Authority’s (NTA) masterplan for bus travel in Dublin. One of the key initiatives is the Core Bus Corridors, in which the NTA proposes to build 230km of bus lanes and 200km of segregated cycle track across all the routes. This would make BusConnects the largest cycling infrastructure project in the history of the state. We need to ensure that BusConnects delivers to its full potential.
The proposal to build improved walking, cycling and bus infrastructure from south of Blackrock village, and from Belfield UCD campus, to the City Centre was recently submitted to An Bord Pleanála. Dublin Cycling Campaign has made a submission to An Bord Pleanála, calling on them to grant permission.
The proposals will provide a continuous, kerb-protected cycle route along the entire length of the Blackrock/ Belfield routes. It will change the route from only one suitable for the most confident of cyclists to one suitable to many more types of people. The standard of the infrastructure being proposed is better than anything that currently exists in Dublin today, partly because of consistent feedback from Dublin Cycling Campaign and the cyclists of Dublin that we need far better cycling infrastructure than just a few painted lines on the road edge. Without so many Dubliners demanding better infrastructure, the quality of this proposal wouldn’t be as high as it is.
So overall, the Campaign supports this scheme.
However we still have two major issues with the project: Some of the junction designs; and the narrowness of long stretches of cycle track.
More specifically, there’s no direct connection with the hugely popular Coastal Mobility Route to Sandycove, and the designs for people on bikes on Nutley Lane are really poor.
On the junction designs, the National Transport Authority (NTA) are pressing ahead with a mix — their own design in some locations; international standard ‘Cyclops’ in others. Even after Campaign advocates analysed, researched, lobbied and held multiple meetings with the NTA over this, some of the proposed junctions still include dangerous elements. So we are pressing An Bord Pleanála to approve the scheme overall, but attach conditions to the planning permission demanding the dangerous junction designs be changed to comply with proven international ‘Cyclops’ or ‘Dutch’ standards. Here’s the Bord webpage for NTA’s application — https://www.pleanala.ie/en-ie/case/313509.
The NTA are submitting 12 ‘Core Bus Corridor’ schemes for planning permission over coming months. This web page has information about upcoming applications https://busconnects.ie/initiatives/core-bus-corridors/ and links to the others.
There are two schemes which aren’t going to be submitted for planning permission: the Kimmage to City Centre Core Bus Corridor and the Lucan to City Centre one aren’t going to be submitted for planning permission, as the NTA deems those two schemes don’t trigger the requirement for an Environmental Impact Assessment under the Roads Acts or Regulations. You can, though, see information about these schemes on that Core Bus Corridors web page.
Worryingly, the Blanchardstown to City Centre scheme (currently with An Bord Pleanála and open to public consultation, along with the Liffey Valley scheme) is significantly worse than Blackrock/ Belfield. Layouts seem to prioritise the convenience of people using cars above safe, comfortable use by either bike or footpath users. We know massive change in transport is urgently needed to limit climate change, so designs that keep multi-lane, high-speed car facilities just don’t make sense in 2022. Ballymun/ Finglas and Ringsend to City Centre bus corridor schemes are likely to be next in line. We’ll be working on these and keeping you posted.
But meanwhile, do have a look at our submission (PDF below) and the plans, and make your own submission to An Bord for future applications, if you can. Submissions are now closed for this Blackrock/ Belfield route, but keep an eye out for Blanchardstown and future ones. We need many voices demanding better cycling facilities or BusConnects will never deliver any improvements. Please:
- Spread the word to your friends and family. Encourage them to make a submission too
- Contact your local councillors and TDs. Tell them you want to see these improvements
You can read our full submission to An Bord Pleanála in the attached PDF below.
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