In June 2018 the National Transport Authority (NTA) published the Core Bus Corridors Project Report. The report was a discussion document outlining proposals for the delivery of a core bus corridor network across Dublin. It set out the vision for the provision of 230kms of dedicated bus lanes and 200km of cycle lanes/tracks on sixteen key bus corridors.
Separately in July 2018 the Dublin Area Bus Network Redesign, which is the redesign of bus services, started its first public consultation phase. Around 30,000 submissions including signed petitions and online survey responses were received by the end of September. Over the coming months all of these submissions will be reviewed and assessed. Following that process a revised network design will be published during 2019 for a second public consultation. It is envisaged that the implementation of the final network will take place in 2020. The network redesign can be implemented on the existing road network with some enhancements at key interchange locations.
The public consultation for the sixteen radial core bus corridors will now take place on a phased basis from November 2018 until May 2019. Each phase will be for a set number of corridors to be consulted on over a period of months. These public consultations phases will be the start of a detailed process of engagement and communication. All of which will take place prior to detailed designs being finalised and planning permissions sought.
This document is one of a series of sixteen, each dedicated to a single core bus corridor. The document provides a written description of the emerging preferred route from start to finish with supporting route maps. It explains the step by step process for engagement and consultation for potentially impacted property owners and the general public. It also outlines the process for planning and construction of the core bus corridor network including expected timelines.
Congestion is one of the most significant challenges facing the Dublin region and needs to be addressed to safeguard the growth of the Dublin region and keep people moving. Ireland's economic recovery from the recession is seeing significant increases in the number of people working and travelling across Dublin. The number of commercial vehicles continues to rise as does the number of tourists. The commuter areas surrounding Dublin continue to spread and grow in a low density manner. Growth areas can only be served in the short and medium term by the bus as opposed to long-term projects such as rail and Luas.
At present bus lanes are in place for less than one third of a bus journey on the busy corridors. This means buses are competing for space with general traffic and so are affected by the increasing levels of congestion.
It is predicted that the population for the Dublin region will grow 25% by 2040, bringing it to almost 1.5m for the region. This huge growth in population has to be accommodated with a quality public transport system.
We need to invest in the bus system because the bus system is the main component to meet our future transport needs. A good bus system has the reach and flexibility to service all the new housing developments, business parks, hospitals, colleges and retail shops across Dublin. It is a proven solution and is the main form of public transport across Dublin with 67% of public transport journeys each day made by bus. The bus system carries three and four times the number of people who travel on Luas or Dart and commuter rail.
The core bus corridor project is not just about the provision of bus lanes. Under this project we will also deliver 200km of segregated cycling infrastructure to make cycling safer and more attractive than ever before. This initiative is the foundation of the overall cycle network for the Greater Dublin Area.
Commuting to work by bicycle has increased by 43% since 2011. Again this growth represents a clear choice that people are making to cycle. This project will support that trend and is a vital component of creating a sustainable transport system for people across Dublin. Safe cycling facilities across the 16 key bus corridors will provide people, families and their children a suitable environment to cycle where they want and when they want.
The need to build a core bus network is being driven by increases in congestion and also by the significant shift of people choosing to use public transport. People want to use it and should have a reliable and efficient bus system to travel on. Based on 2017 canal cordon figures over 70% of people travelling into the city each morning do so by sustainable transport modes and mostly by bus. Cars only account for 30% of travel into the city centre each day and therefore the amount of road space allocated to sustainable transport needs to reflect that position.
BusConnects Dublin is a major investment programme to improve public transport in Dublin.
It aims to overhaul the current bus system in the Dublin through a 10 year programme of integrated actions to deliver a more efficient, reliable and better bus system for more people.
The core bus corridor project will deliver journey time savings of up to 40-50% on each corridor. Dedicated bus lanes can significantly increase bus travel speeds and reliability. Improved journey times and reducing the amount of time people spend commuting will make bus travel more attractive and reduce our reliance on car travel. The more convenient the bus system is, the faster the modal shift will be for people from the car to the bus. Not only will current bus users and cyclists benefit but future commuters will be able to avail of a better system as the improved bus and cycle lanes are built.
Accessibility is about people's ability to reach the destinations and services they want to get to. This means both people's level of mobility and the costs of travelling. There are many tens of thousands of people across Dublin who cannot drive a car, do not have a car and are completely reliant on the bus service. The bus lane improvements will enhance accessibility for the elderly and mobility impaired because all buses are accessible and bus stops, bus shelters and footpaths will support easy boarding and disembarking of the buses.
This project will see the provision of much needed cycling facilities around the city region. Across the 16 radial bus corridors there will be over 200kms of high quality cycling facilities provided. These new or improved cycle lanes will be segregated from bus lanes and general traffic where feasible.
In addition to bus lanes and cycling facilities this project is an opportunity to enhance and improve local areas. This project is focused on making things better for commuters and communities around the bus corridors. Along each route, improvements and enhancements will be made to footpaths, walkways and pedestrian crossings. Funding and investment for local urban centres with additional landscaping and outdoor amenities will be provided.
By providing a better bus system for Dublin we can make it a more attractive place to live, work and visit. A good public transport system is vital to support the economic activity of any city and can also address the need to improve air quality and reduce CO2 emissions. Tackling the challenges of climate change is a priority for the Government and moving more people to public transport is a key component of the solution.
The core bus corridor project proposes the provision of 230 kilometres of bus lanes on sixteen of the busiest bus corridors and 200 kilometres of cycle lanes and tracks as published in the discussion document, Core Bus Corridor Project Report June 2018.
The layout below shows the arrangement that we are seeking to achieve on each corridor. However, this optimal layout is difficult to achieve in practice and we have proposed alternative solutions in various places to deliver the required bus and cycling lanes.
Bus lanes are needed to make the current and future bus system operate efficiently, reliably and punctually. Our intention is to develop these bus corridors so that each will have continuous bus priority - in other words, a continuous bus lane in each direction as well as maintaining two general traffic lanes. In addition we also want to provide safe cycling facilities, segregated where possible from other vehicular traffic. This will remove the delays currently experienced which will grow worse as congestion increases.
The Emerging Preferred Route set out in this consultation document was identified following an assessment of various alternatives.
The route selection process involved identification and consideration of possible options taking account of criterias including local impacts on property frontage, existing traffic patterns and broad assessment of environmental impacts. A Feasibility Report setting out details of the assessment work undertaken is available on www.busconnects.ie.
Arising from that work an Emerging Preferred Route has been identified for this corridor and public feedback on that proposal is now sought. It is important to know that this option is not adopted yet. Only following this consultation and review of the submissions received will a decision on the final Preferred Route be made.
The Ballymun to City Centre Core Bus Corridor (CBC) commences on the R108 Ballymun Road at its junction with Santry Avenue and Balbutcher Lane (Santry Cross) and is routed along Ballymun Road, St. Mobhi Road, Botanic Road, Prospect Road, Phibsborough Road, Constitution Hill and Church Street as far as Arran Quay, where it will join the prevailing traffic management regime on the North Quays.
Between Santry Cross and Collins Avenue, two bus lanes and two lanes of general traffic will be maintained. It is proposed to undertake upgrade works to provide segregated cycle tracks and bus stops. To facilitate this layout it is proposed to remove the existing parking spaces located on Ballymun Main Street. Some limited private land take may also be required to undertake these proposed works. The indicative extents of this land take are included in the Appendix of this brochure.
Between Collins Avenue and the Rise, it is proposed to maintain the current bus and general traffic lanes in both directions. Again it is proposed to upgrade the cycle facilities to segregated cycle tracks along this section of the route. It is currently indicated that there is no land take along this section - however, some sections of footways or central reservation may need to be narrowed and will potentially impact upon existing trees currently located in these spaces.
It is proposed to introduce right turn movement bans from Hampstead Avenue and St. Canices's Road on to the Ballymun Road. Traffic turning left would be unaffected.
Between the Rise and Griffith Avenue, it is proposed to provide a single bus lane, two general traffic lanes and a segregated cycle track. It is intended to retain the existing trees on this section of the route. On the outbound arm of this one-way traffic system (Ballymun Road), it is proposed to retain the existing number of general traffic lanes and provide an additional bus lane and segregated cycle track. These additional lanes will be incorporated by realigning the existing kerb lines. On the Griffith Avenue arm of the one-way traffic system it is proposed to maintain the existing general traffic lanes (4 no.) and introduce a new bus lane and segregated cycle track. These new lanes will require the existing footway and grass verges to be narrowed.
Between Griffith Avenue and Botanic Road, two alternative arrangements for St. Mobhi Road are presented for consultation and feedback.
Option A proposes to remove through traffic in the northbound direction along St. Mobhi Road, with northbound general through traffic routed instead via Botanic Road, Glasnevin Hill and Ballymun Road. Under this option the existing trees on St. Mobhi Road north of Botanic Avenue would be retained, and a segregated cycle track would be provided in each direction. Local access in the northbound direction would remain available for residents and visitors along the section of St. Mobhi Road between Botanic Avenue and Griffith Avenue, but northbound cars would be unable to exit onto Griffith Avenue.
Option B would provide a general traffic lane, a bus lane and a segregated cycle track in each direction along St. Mobhi Road, allowing two way movement for all users on the road. However, this requires widening of the road into adjacent gardens and the removal of most of the trees along the road.
Both options are set out in more detail in the following sections.
For Option A it is proposed to provide one bus lane and one general traffic lane in the southbound direction between Griffith Avenue and Botanic Road. There would only be one traffic lane in the northbound direction, with buses also using this lane. A section of "Bus Only" roadway is proposed on this northbound lane approaching the junction between Griffith Avenue and St Mobhi Road - this prohibits through traffic in the northbound direction.
Local traffic can drive northwards along St. Mobhi Road up to the commencement of the short section of bus lane. Because through traffic is removed in the northbound direction, the low volume of cars traveling northwards means that a separate bus lane is not required. A segregated cycle track will be provided in both directions.
Under this option, only a limited amount of road widening would be required and the existing trees on St. Mobhi Road north of Botanic Avenue would be retained.
The introduction of the above arrangement would also include the following movements bans from the following streets on to St. Mobhi Road:
Between Botanic Avenue and Fairfield Road, the proposed arrangement would provide one southbound lane for general traffic in addition to a bus lane and a segregated cycle track in each direction. In this arrangement the northbound general traffic would be redirected to Botanic Road, up Glasnevin Hill and onto Ballymun Road
Between Fairfield Road and Marguerite Road, it is proposed to maintain a general traffic lane in each direction with a northbound bus lane. Bus priority for southbound buses will be maintained by proposed bus priority signals which will monitor traffic queue lengths. It is proposed to introduce a 30 kph speed limit on this section of the route.
Between Marguerite Road and Prospect Way it is intended to provide a general traffic lane and a bus lane in each direction. Between Prospect Way and Finglas Road it is proposed to maintain a general traffic lane in each direction plus a southbound bus lane.
Segregated cycle tracks will be provided in both directions from Griffith Avenue to Fairfield Road. Access for all local residences will be maintained along this section of the route where proposed traffic restrictions are present. Between Fairfield Road and Marguerite Road, no segregated cycle tracks will be provided due to width constraints along this section. As mentioned above, the speed limit on this section of road will be dropped to 30 kph which would provide cyclists with a safer environment to share the general traffic / bus lane.
To facilitate the layout described above and to retain the existing trees where possible between Griffith Avenue and Botanic Road, there will be some limited land take along this section. The indicative extents of this land take are shown on the drawings included in the Appendix of this brochure. Where trees are removed they will be replaced with new mature or semi-mature trees, which will be planted in suitable locations along the route.
For Option B, two way movement for all users would be maintained between Griffith Avenue and Botanic Road, through the provision of one general traffic lane and one bus lane in each direction. In this option it is proposed to provide continuous segregated cycle tracks in each direction between Griffith Avenue and St. Mobhi Drive. This arrangement would require road widening on the east and west side of the existing road. These widening works would also require the removal of the existing trees on this section of the road. The indicative extents of this land take is indicated on the drawings included in the Appendix of this brochure.
Between St. Mobhi Drive and St. Mobhi Grove, a continuous southbound segregated cycle track will be provided. Northbound cyclists would be required to use the northbound bus lane. Between St. Mobhi Grove and Fairfield Road there is a segregated cycle track proposed in each direction. Similar to Option A, between Fairfield Road and Prospect Way it is intended to provide a general traffic lane in each direction with a northbound bus lane. It is proposed that northbound cyclists use the proposed bus lane and southbound cyclists use the southbound general traffic lane. The speed limit on this section of road will be dropped to 30 kph which would provide cyclists with a safer environment to share the general traffic / bus lane.
On Prospect Way, it is proposed to retain the bus lane and two general traffic lanes. A new segregated cycle track will be introduced for left turning cyclists on this road.
Between Lindsay Grove and North Circular Road, the Phibsborough Road will accommodate two bus lanes and two general traffic lanes. There is currently insufficient road space for the provision of a segregated cycle track. It is proposed to provide cyclists with an offline cycle route along Royal Canal Bank and Blessington Street Park, rejoining the route at the junction of Dominick Street and Constitution Hill. This cycle route will require a new Canal Crossing and the widening of the existing railway crossing between Lindsay Grove and Whitworth Road.
Due to width restrictions at the North Circular Road / Phibsborough Road Junction, the northbound bus lane will not be continuous through the junction. Further south of this junction, Phibsborough Road will accommodate two bus lanes and two general traffic lanes. At the junction with Kings Street North the southbound bus lane will be terminated. Bus priority will be maintained through a bus priority signal. It is proposed to provide a left turn ban from Church Street Upper to Kings Street North. The traffic movement is proposed to be catered for by opening access to Coleraine Street. From Coleraine Street, general traffic can turn left on Kings Street North.
The southbound bus lane will be reinstated at the junction with Mary's Lane. The proposed scheme will tie back into the existing road network at Arran Quay.
Some segregated cycle tracks will be facilitated on this stretch but cyclists will have to use bus lanes at some restricted locations.
The proposed Metrolink Scheme will cross this CBC at Whitworth Road (Proposed Glasnevin Metro Station), St. Mobhi Road (Proposed Griffith Park Metro Station), and Ballymun Road (Proposed Collins Avenue & Ballymun Metro Station). The proposed changes to the carriageway in this area will be coordinated with the proposed planned layouts associated with these stations.
It's important to acknowledge that the choices required to deliver this step-change in the performance of the bus system will be difficult. However, the decision-making needs to be done now and not postponed until the problem is far greater. Some of the decisions may be hard but they are being made because we believe that these plans have the potential to fundamentally transform the way public transport works in Dublin.
Our challenge now is to respond to the needs of a modern city by providing a fit-for-purpose bus system, built on a streetscape that dates back centuries. Needless to say the streets were not designed to move the number of people that now need to travel in and out of the city each day. Some of the city's inner suburbs date back to Victorian times, with road layouts suited to more modest levels of traffic than we see today.
Not all the impacts will be felt equally and some locations will require more changes than others. Over the years those modifications that were easier to implement - the ones that caused little or no disruption - have been made. This means that there are no longer any simple changes which we can make that would generate meaningful benefits.
If we don't decide to make these changes now, then we need to accept that Dublin will become increasingly congested and a less attractive place to live and work, both for us now and for future generations.
By creating more priority for buses and cycling there will be changes to how traffic currently moves around the streets. On some corridors, certain roads may become one-way, new bus-only sections will be introduced and in some places general traffic will have to take new routes in and out of the city. Additional cycle routes will be built, generally segregated from vehicular traffic, and pedestrian crossings will be added and moved in some areas.
Because there is so little unused space along these busy roads, it will often not be possible to accommodate the bus lanes and cycle lanes in the width available. In order to achieve the required space it will be necessary, in places, to acquire parts of front gardens, driveways and land in front of commercial properties to allow the bus and cycle lanes to be provided. This would require rebuilding new garden walls and driveways a short distance back from the existing road boundary.
Because the roads that need widening travel through residential and business areas there will be a need to reduce the amount of on-street parking and loading facilities to accommodate the new layout.
As with the need to remove some parts of front gardens and footpaths there will be also be a need to remove trees along some of the corridors.
Widening roads, and building bus and cycle lanes, requires construction work. There will be excavation of the existing roads, plus parts of gardens and footpaths where needed. There will be resurfacing, kerbing, replanting and landscaping. As with any work site and road works, there will be a certain level of noise, dust and temporary traffic diversions.
Obviously these challenges and impacts are significant. Every feasible option is being looked at to minimise the disruption to people, their property and the wider local community. Where there is simply no viable alternative, and where we know we have to remove trees, portions of gardens, driveways or parking, we will ensure appropriate mitigation measures are put in place, wherever practicable.
As part of this public consultation potentially impacted property owners will be contacted directly by the NTA and a direct dialogue will commence. As each individual property owner will have specific and personal issues there will be a dedicated liaison team to engage with this group on an individual basis.
There are principles for mitigation, statutory compensation and reparation which will be adhered to by the NTA as part of the statutory planning process. However, below are some of the measures that we envisage will be included. This list is not exhaustive and we anticipate that there will be other measures that will need to be put in place.
Where general traffic is diverted and re-routed, adequate signage and road markings will be provided for people to find their way. Measures will be implemented to ensure that "rat-runs" do not emerge as a consequence of the re-routed traffic. Also, local access will be maintained where new bus-only sections or one-way systems are brought in for residents and commercial properties.
Where lands, such as parts of gardens and driveways, are being acquired for widening we will purchase the portion of front gardens and driveways from property owners; ensure new landscaping and replanting of the gardens, reinstatement of driveways as well as providing compensation for the garden and driveway portion loss and disruption.
Where private and public walls or fencing are removed we will rebuild new garden walls and replace fencing where gardens have been affected and shortened. Also, where public or commercial walls and fencing have been taken they will be rebuilt and replaced.
Where there is a loss of on-street parking and loading facilities we will seek to provide, where feasible, alternative arrangements close by for residents and businesses.
Where trees are removed from roadsides and footpaths we will put in place a comprehensive replanting programme. This programme will use mature or semi-mature ready-grown trees where appropriate and, where it is feasible, plant them as close as possible to the original locations.
We will look for areas along the busy corridors where it is possible to improve the existing local spaces and the existing landscaping. It is important to use this opportunity to not only replace what is removed but to enhance the local areas. To do so, we will consult with the local authorities on such urban centre improvements and collectively seek to create attractive local environments.
During the construction stages the construction sites will be localised and managed on a road by road basis. The size of each work site and the hours of working will have to take into consideration the residential nature of many of the roads. Traffic management will be very important to keep the traffic moving and ensuring local access for people and deliveries is always maintained.
Where the potential for impacts on private lands have been identified, the following process applies:
Q4 2018 - Q2 2019 NTA will issue information letters (not formal compulsory purchase order (CPO) notifications) to potentially impacted land owners and/or occupiers along each Core Bus Corridor. Potentially impacted includes for example, the acquisition of parts of front gardens, walls, fences, gates, driveways and the rebuilding of same to make way for street widening. The intention of this is to start a direct dialogue between NTA and the potentially impacted parties.
During 2019 to prepare the statutory planning documentation, the project design and environmental impact assessment will be progressed. During this time NTA will endeavour to minimise impacts on private lands. Direct dialogue between NTA and potentially impacted parties will continue to understand the likely impact of the proposed development and what arrangements can be made to minimise and where possible avoid those impacts.
End of 2019 / start of 2020 NTA will finalise the statutory planning documentation and will serve formal notice on the actual impacted owners of land proposed to be compulsorily purchased for the project. It will make a formal application to An Bord Pleanála for confirmation to compulsorily purchase necessary lands for purposes of constructing upgraded bus-lanes and bike-lanes.
During 2020 An Bord Pleanála will consider the planning application. There will be a period of statutory public consultation to allow those notified as being subject to CPO, and the public at large, to make submissions and/or objections to An Bord Pleanála. This will be followed by an Oral Hearing by An Bord Pleanála if deemed necessary. The statutory process will conclude with a decision by An Bord Pleanála on whether to:
From 2021 onwards if An Bord Pleanála grants approval NTA will commence valuations and negotiations to acquire the lands in the CPO, and progress construction of the project. The construction of each core bus corridor will take up to two years to complete. The construction start dates for each of the 16 corridors will be managed over the period 2021 through 2027.
In 2021 to 2027 Acquisition Overview:
Construction commences on a phased basis - each corridor upgrade will take up to 2 years to complete
Please remember that the plans that we are publishing are proposals and that no final decision has been made on these matters in advance of the public consultation. We welcome all of your views.
Where you do not like a proposal, please consider suggesting an alternative solution or other option for consideration. But do bear in mind that bus transport is, and will continue to be, the main form of public transport for most areas of the Dublin region and an alternative of providing an underground rail system is simply not a viable option for most parts of Dublin.
If your property is potentially impacted by the proposals, a letter will have been hand delivered to the property and details of how to engage with the NTA are detailed in that letter. A dedicated property liaison representative will be available to meet with individual property owners and provide regular updates on the project.
The project website www.busconnects.ie has a dedicated section for the Core Bus Corridor project. Users can access the site to find out more about the project and download copies of the key studies that have been carried out.
General queries can be directed to a dedicated Freephone - 1800 303 653 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
We are inviting submissions in relation to the proposals set out in this Public Consultation Document.
Written submissions and observations may be made by:
Through the online form in the "Public Consultation" section of the Core Bus Corridor page on our website: www.busconnects.ie
National Transport Authority Dún Scéine Harcourt Lane Dublin 2 D02 WT20
Note 1: The Emerging Preferred Route shown on the following drawings is indicative only and is subject to change following consultation and as part of the design development process.
Note 2: The following are descriptions of maps by Ordnance Survey Ireland - Government of Ireland. All rights reserved. Licence Number EN 0082118 National Transport Authority.