herald

Friday 18 January 2019

A northside Luas? Must be election time

Northsiders vote too, you know. One of those massively overpaid Government advisers must have just copped onto this unpalatable fact.

That would explain why the carrot of a Luas extending beyond Parnell Square is now being dangled before us.

It's a new development. After all what's the point in giving us nice things? We'll just break them, vandalise them, or use them to take us to Foxrock.

That's obviously been the reasoning so far, because how else can you explain why the southside has two Luas lines going all through those leafy glades, with names like Windy Arbour, Ballyogan Wood and Fettercairn, while we, on the Northside, have none at all?

Even Tallaght has a Luas (and a theatre and a Square) and what do we have? Nothing but buses and bikes.

Yes, I know the Dart runs along the coast but that's only for poshies like Larry Mullen and Gaybo out in Howth or Malahide. Not for those who live in Raheny or Coolock or, God forbid, Ballymun.

Nonetheless those northsiders must have been good boys and girls recently because the National Transport Authority (NTA) now says it is now considering a plan to extend the Luas line to exotic places like Finglas, Ballymun and Swords.

They're also talking about what they grandly call a "Bus Rapid Transport" system (BRT), which sounds like a long-winded way of saying they'll dedicate a bus lane from the airport and Swords into town.

catch

There is a catch of course. Actually there's two. Remember Metro North? And Metro West? The great transport plan announced in 2005 to connect Stephen's Green to the airport and Swords and Santry to Liffey Valley and Clondalkin?

The one we spent a walloping great €165m on with nothing to show for it before it was "indefinitely deferred"?

In all honesty, did any of us really believe that the €3bn project would ever get off the ground again?

Nope we didn't, but with the next election a mere 18 months away at the very latest, Northside voters need something to look forward to - if not a Metro then why not a Luas?

If it's good enough for those southsiders, well, then surely it will be good enough for us.

But then there's the other catch (or should that be the 'get-out' clause?)

The plans are part of a General Scheme Corridor which aims to create more links between the north and south of the city. The date for completion? 2035.

So don't hold your breath. I suspect that we northsiders will be getting the bus for the foreseeable future.

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