Core Bus Corridor Preferred Route. Third Round of Public Consultation November 2020.
BusConnects is the National Transport Authority’s (NTA) programme to greatly improve bus and sustainable transport services. It is a key part of the Government’s policies to improve public transport and address climate change in Dublin and other cities. Dublin is growing and needs a bus network that works for a developing city. The aim of BusConnects is to deliver an enhanced bus system that is better for the city, its people and the environment.
BusConnects is included in the Programme for Government "Our Shared Future" 2020, as well as within the following Government strategies:
The aim of BusConnects Core Bus Corridors is to provide enhanced walking, cycling and bus infrastructure on key access corridors in the Dublin region, which will enable and deliver efficient, safe, and integrated sustainable transport movement along these corridors.
Between November 2018 and May 2019 the National Transport Authority (NTA) carried out the first round of public consultation regarding proposals for the Emerging Preferred Routes of 16 Core Bus Corridors (CBC) across Dublin. During this first round of consultation we received 13,000 submissions in total. These submissions were reviewed and considered as part of the design process for the Preferred Route option for each corridor.
A second round of public consultation on the Preferred Route options commenced in March 2020 and continued until mid-April 2020. Notwithstanding the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent Government restrictions the consultation continued due to the level of interest. The focus of public queries and submissions came through emails, post, phone conversations and online submissions as all the information was available on the BusConnects website for review.
It was decided in March that an additional third round of public consultation would take place in the latter part of this year to provide further opportunities for the public to review and submit feedback to the latest set of designs.
This document is one of 16, each dedicated to a single core bus corridor. The document provides a written description of the Preferred Route from start to finish with supporting maps. It includes all revisions made, if any, since the last round of public consultation. It also includes a revised timeline for the progress of the programme due to Covid-19 implications.
The brochures detailing the Emerging Preferred Route and the brochures from the second round of consultation earlier this year are available to view and download on our website www.busconnects.ie.
Definitions of the terminology used in the document can be found in chapter 4 of this this brochure.
Considerable design work has been continuing since the last round of consultation. This work includes the following:
Designs have progressed with further refinements being made to elements of each corridor such as junctions, alignments, bus stops, cycling and walking facilities, and urban realm features. Engagement with stakeholders is continuing including engagement with individual householders directly impacted. The developing design has been, and continues to be, informed by stakeholder engagement and further detailed surveys. These include the identification of underground services and detailed assessment of trees along the routes.
Draft Preferred Route Option Reports have been prepared for each CBC detailing the development of each corridor from the Emerging Preferred Route through to the draft Preferred Route Option. These draft “Preferred Route Option Reports” are being published as part of the public consultation and will be finalised following this third round of public consultation and the inclusion of feedback received. These draft reports are available to view and download on the website www.busconnects.ie.
As part of the intended planning application for each corridor, the NTA will be preparing an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) in accordance with current Irish and European legislation. This document will identify the anticipated environmental effects of the scheme during both the construction and operational stages. This assessment is being undertaken by environmental specialists on behalf of the NTA. As part of this assessment, these specialists are undertaking studies of the current condition of the receiving environment within the identified corridor extents. This involves a combination of on-site surveys and desktop study of existing records. At the time of this public consultation, various surveys and studies are underway. The information collected will also be shared with the technical designers for consideration in the design decision making process for the infrastructure works.
Further details of the environmental assessment approach for each scheme are outlined in an individual corridor document called“Information on the Proposed Approach to Environmental Assessment”. This document gives a more in-depth description of the determination of the extents of anticipated impacts and how the cumulative impacts of adjacent core bus corridors and other construction projects will be assessed. These draft reports are available to view and download on the website www.busconnects.ie.
The transport assessment of the core bus corridor proposals is focussed on the “movement of people” rather than, solely, the “movement of vehicles”. In order to adequately determine the impact on public transport, active modes (walking and cycling), and general traffic, a comprehensive suite of transport models have been developed.
An extensive set of traffic counts were undertaken in late 2019 and early 2020 and this data, along with other sources, has been used to calibrate and validate the models to assist in the evaluation of the core bus corridors. On a strategic level, the Eastern Regional Model has been used to forecast the modal split for future years. At a more refined level, a Local Area Model has been developed to examine the potential displacement of traffic. In addition, detailed modelling is ongoing in terms of junction and corridor analysis tests and to quantify the effect on the movement of people through each junction and along the corridor itself.
Each EIAR will contain a section on the potential traffic and transport impacts associated with the construction and operational phases of the core bus corridors. This assessment will be informed by the following reports:
A draft, work-in-progress version of the “Transport Modelling Reports” for each core bus corridor, together with a summary of the work-in-progress strategic modelling results to-date, are being published as part of the public consultation and will be finalised following this third round of public consultation and the inclusion of feedback received. These draft reports are available to view and download on the website www.busconnects.ie.
In tandem with the technical design work on finalising the road alignment in the urban cross sections across the core bus corridors, planning has also progressed for refining the Urban Realm design proposals. These designs are being developed in consultation with the local authorities to ensure tie-in to existing schemes and initiatives. The NTA is focusing on finishing the layout of spaces, considering desire lines (how people want to move through spaces) and the placement of urban furniture (trees, bins, bollards, benches, bike stands, railings, etc.)
Urban Realm improvement opportunities along the routes present themselves through the civil/physical works needed to reach the BusConnects objective to provide bus priority, along with improved cycling and pedestrian facilities. All put together, the core bus corridors provide an opportunity for lots of continuous interventions that, together, can give a general citywide lift.
The Urban Realm improvement opportunities are spread out along the core bus corridors and need to respond to and reflect specific locality and context. In the design of the urban spaces we will be using appropriate materials and urban furniture that comply with standards for use, durability and maintenance as well as carbon footprint considerations.
Further details of the urban realm design approach can be found in a document called “BusConnects Urban Realm Concept Design” published as part of the public consultation. This document is available to view and download on the website www.busconnects.ie.
In tandem with the technical design work the designers will be starting the work of preparing the various maps and schedules of areas that are proposed to be acquired under the statutory compulsory purchase order process (CPO). The attached Maps in this brochure indicate Proposed New Boundaries (Possible Land Acquisition) represented by broken red lines. These boundaries are indicative of potential areas for permanent CPO, and are not yet finalised. As detailed plots are finalised the designers will be continuing to seek to meet those with an interest in the impacted areas.
In some cases there may also be a need to realign driveways and/or redo the landscaping of property front gardens, or reorganise business accesses and/or loading areas. Some of these works may be outside the permanent CPO area, and consequently there may be a need to put in place temporary arrangements to ensure access during construction to carry out necessary accommodation works. Similar to the permanent CPO development, the designers will be continuing to seek to meet those with an interest in the impacted areas.
Each corridor upgrade will take approximately 2 years to complete.
This brochure provides details of the proposed Preferred Route Option for this core bus corridor. These proposals are subject to a second non-statutory round of public consultation, and subsequent design refinement and environmental impact assessment, before a formal statutory application will be made by the NTA to An Bord Pleanála for approval
The project website www.busconnects.ie has a dedicated section for the Core Bus Corridor project. All previous emerging preferred route brochures are available on the website. Users can access the site to find out more about the project and download copies of the key documents.
We are inviting submissions in relation to the Preferred Route Options set out in this document. The closing date for submissions is stated on the website.
Written submissions and observations may be made by:
Following the third round of public consultation the NTA will finalise the Preferred Route Options for all sixteen corridors. The scheme designs will be finalised, transport and environmental impact assessments will be completed. This will culminate in the preparation of an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) for the scheme together with details of land to be acquired. This will be submitted to An Bord Pleanála in 2021 for its consideration and determination. A formal statutory consultation process will be undertaken as part of that process.
The Blackrock to Merrion Core Bus Corridor commences on the R118 Merrion Road at its junction with Nutley Lane. Buses are proposed to be routed along Rock Road joining the N31 at the Mount Merrion Avenue junction. The proposed scheme terminates at the junction of Temple Hill/ Monkstown Road and Stradbrook Road. Priority for buses and cyclists is provided along the entire route, consisting primarily of dedicated bus lanes in each direction, and continuous segregated cycle tracks. The Blackrock to Merrion Core Bus Corridor connects to the route of the UCD to City Centre Core Bus Corridor at the junction of Merrion Road and Nutley Lane, providing a continuous route from Blackrock to the City Centre.
The following paragraphs will describe each CBC section in more detail, identifying the key design revisions which have been incorporated into the design since the publication of Preferred Route Option (PRO) in March 2020.
Between the Merrion Road / Nutley Lane junction and the Rock Road / Booterstown Avenue junction, it is proposed to provide a single bus lane, a single general traffic lane and segregated cycle tracks in each direction along the majority of the route. At the access junction to St. Vincent’s Hospital from Merrion Road, it is proposed to remove the left-turn lane in order to improve cyclist safety and reduce the necessary land acquisition.
Between Elm Court to the Strand Road junction, it is proposed to provide a 3-lane carriageway along this section with a footpath and cycle track in each direction. The carriageway will comprise 2 no. general traffic lanes and one outbound bus lane. Priority for inbound buses will be provided via signal control priority at the Strand Road junction. A strip of parallel parking bays is being provided on the outbound side of the Merrion Road, in the vicinity of No. 264 to No. 270.
It is intended to undertake some safety improvement works at the junction of Merrion Road and Strand Road, including the provision of segregated cycle facilities, the removal of the slip lane from Strand Road to Merrion Road and the control of the Strand Road utilising traffic signals. On the southern arm of the junction a strip of parallel parking bays is proposed on the outbound side.
Between Strand Road and Booterstown Avenue, a 2-way cycle track is proposed on the eastern side of the route.
At the junction of the Elm Park Development on Merrion Road, the arrangement has been revised to remove the proposed traffic island on the inbound arm, which has removed the need for landtake onto Landaff Terrace to the south.
To facilitate this proposed layout, land-take from the following areas may be required:
The indicative extents of this land take are shown on the maps included in the Appendix to this brochure.
Between the Booterstown Avenue and Stradbrook Road junctions, it is proposed to provide a single bus lane, a single general traffic lane and segregated cycle track arrangement in each direction.
The gates, railings, and piers forming the existing entrance to Blackrock College are to be rotated on the westernmost pier to accommodate the realigning of the adjacent boundary while preserving the symmetry of the protected entrance.
Alterations to junctions along this section are proposed to improve cyclist safety including the removal of the left-turn slip lane from Rock Road to Rock Hill and the provision of protected cycle lanes at other junctions. The access and egress arrangements to the Frascati Centre have been amended to reflect the existing, newly constructed, arrangement.
To accommodate this proposed layout, land-take from the following areas may be required:
Part of the overall BusConnects Programme is to create 16 radial core bus corridors (CBC). A CBC is an existing road with bus priority so that buses can operate efficiently, reliably and punctually. This generally means full length dedicated bus lanes on both sides of the road from start to finish of each corridor or other measures to ensure that buses are not delayed in general traffic congestion. The bus lanes will be alongside segregated cycle lanes/tracks where feasible and general traffic.
A segregated cycle track is a separate section of the road dedicated for cycling only. This space will generally be isolated from other vehicular traffic by a physical kerb. Where is it not physically possible to have segregated cycle tracks there will be the option of quiet roads and shared cycling on reduced speed roads for cyclists.
The NTA published outline plans for each of the 16 CBCs in a non-statutory public consultation process in 2018/2019. The options were called Emerging Preferred Routes (EPR), in some cases with multiple sub-options, to inform the public of the likely layout of the roadway with the necessary CBC infrastructure in place. They included possible impacts on front gardens, and likely changes to how traffic will operate to facilitate bus priority.
Following consideration of the public submissions about the 16 EPR’s, the core bus corridor proposals have been reviewed and amended. They are now being presented as the Preferred Route Option (PRO) and are subject to a further round of non-statutory public consultation. They are not final proposals as they are subject to further consideration from this round of public consultation and also subsequent examination in the context of environmental impact assessment.
A Bus Gate is a sign-posted short length of stand-alone bus lane. This short length of road is restricted exclusively to buses, taxis and cyclists plus emergency vehicles. It facilitates bus priority by removing general through traffic along the overall road where the bus gate is located. General traffic will be directed by signage to divert away to other roads before they arrive at the bus gate. To see an animation of a how a Bus Gate will work, please visit our website www.busconnects.ie.