herald

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Up to 1,300 homeowners may lose gardens to improve city bus routes

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Up to 1,300 homeowners face losing part of their gardens under radical plans to improve the capital's bus service.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) will today outline proposals to develop 230km of dedicated bus corridors and more than 200km of cycle paths across the city, which will require gardens or parts of gardens to be acquired so roads can be widened.

The Bus Connects project, announced last year by Transport Minister Shane Ross, aims to develop 16 dedicated bus corridors where public transport will have continuous priority, improving journey times by between 40pc and 60pc.

On the northside, four routes are planned - between Clongriffin, Swords, Ballymun and the city centre, and Finglas to Phibsborough.

In the west and into the commuter belt, four are planned from Blanchardstown, Lucan, Liffey Valley and the city centre, and between Clondalkin and Drimnagh.

In the south, direct routes into the city centre are planned between Greenhills, Kimmage, Rathfarnham, Bray, UCD/Ballsbridge and Ringsend, along with two additional corridors between Blackrock and Merrion, and Tallaght to Terenure.

A discussion document to be published today will state that the likely cost of the new corridors and cycle paths will range from €1bn to €1.5bn, making it among the biggest public transport projects ever undertaken in the State.

Gridlock

Congestion is now among the biggest issues facing bus companies operating in the city, with Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann carrying 147 million passengers last year - 67pc of all public transport journeys. But just 30pc of key bus corridors enjoy uninterrupted priority, resulting in services being caught up in gridlock.

Some 211,000 people cross the canal cordon every day between 7am and 10am, which is higher than at the height of the Celtic Tiger boom.

But there will be impact on property owners, during construction and after the project is completed, assuming that planning permission is granted.

As many as 1,300 property owners face losing parts of their gardens so roads can be widened to accommodation cycle paths, bus corridors, pedestrians and general vehicular traffic.

NTA sources suggested compensation would be paid, and gardens landscaped, but that some property might be acquired using compulsory purchase orders if agreement cannot be reached.

The total project could take up to 10 years to implement, and traffic disruption will arise during works. In addition, some roads may become one-way.

Among the key challenges identified by the NTA include acquisition of properties, a reduction of on-street parking, removal of trees and rerouting of traffic.

The plans will be put out for formal public consultation in September or October.

Next month, the NTA will also begin a full public consultation on a complete redesign of the Dublin Bus network, which will include rerouting of existing services, changing bus stops and renumbering of bus routes.

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