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 Ballymun to City Centre Core Bus Corridor (CBC) commences on the Ballymun Road at its junction with St. Margaret’s Road just south of M50 Junction 4. It 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 existing traffic management regime on the North Quays.
Priority for buses is provided along the entire route, consisting primarily of dedicated bus lanes in each direction, with alternative measures proposed at particularly constrained locations along St. Mobhi Road and Botanic Road in Glasnevin.
Segregated cycle tracks will be provided along the full length of the route from the northern end to the Royal Canal just south of Hart’s Corner in Phibsborough. An alternative cycle route is proposed along a part of the corridor in the southern half from Hart’s Corner through Phibsborough to the Markets area of the western city centre.
The following paragraphs will describe each section of the CBC in more detail, identifying the key design revisions which have been incorporated into the design since the publication of the Preferred Route Option in March 2020.
At the northern end the CBC commences on the Ballymun Road at its junction with St. Margaret’s Road, just south of M50 Junction 4.
Between St. Margaret’s Road and Shangan Road, a bus lane, two general traffic lanes, and a segregated cycle track will be provided in each direction.
Through Ballymun Main street it is proposed to be narrowed from two general traffic lanes to one general traffic lane in each direction over a 200m section in the town centre between Shangan Road and Gateway Crescent. This could facilitate the provision of full-time parking on both sides of the street with up to 50 new trees for enhancement of the town centre amenities and visual environment.
Between Gateway Crescent and Collins Avenue, a bus lane, two general traffic lanes, and a segregated cycle track will be provided in each direction.
Between Collins Avenue and Griffith Avenue, it is proposed to maintain the existing bus and general traffic lanes in the southbound direction, and to narrow from two general traffic lanes to one in the northbound direction over 200m section between St. Pappin Road and 100m south of Collins Avenue while retaining a bus lane. It is proposed to upgrade the cycling facilities between Collins Avenue and Griffith Avenue to segregated cycle tracks. Some small areas of land take will be required for bus stops in a few locations along this section. The indicative extents of this land take are included in the Appendix of this brochure.
It is also proposed to provide 14 on-street parking spaces on the western side of the road south of Our Lady of Victories Primary School.
A right-turn movement ban from Hampstead Avenue on to the Ballymun Road is proposed, while traffic turning left would not be impacted.
On the outbound arm of this one-way traffic system along Ballymun Road, it is proposed to retain the existing number of general traffic lanes and to provide an additional bus lane and segregated cycle track.
On the inbound arm of the one-way system along St. Mobhi Road Upper, it is proposed to reduce the number of general traffic lanes from three to two which will allow for the accommodation of a bus lane. It is intended to retain the existing trees on this section of the route and the proposed cycle track will be located behind these trees where the existing footpath will be narrowed as necessary.
On the Griffith Avenue arm of the one-way traffic system, it is proposed to convert one existing traffic lane to a bus lane which will avoid the need for road widening and removal of all existing trees as previously shown. A contra-flow cycle track will be provided in the eastbound direction along this section of road to avoid the need for cyclists to follow the one-way system around the central island.
It is proposed to change to a partial two-way traffic operation on the western and southern sides of the Griffith Avenue gyratory system. This will accommodate a southbound bus lane on St. Mobhi Road upper, and remove left turning traffic into Griffith Avenue eastbound, which will improve safety for cyclists and overall traffic efficiency.
It is proposed to divert northbound through traffic from St. Mobhi Road to Botanic Road, Glasnevin Hill and Ballymun Road Lower through provision of a Bus Gate on St. Mobhi Road at the junction with Griffith Avenue. This will retain almost all of the existing mature trees along St. Mobhi Road. The proposed works along St. Mobhi Road between Griffith Avenue and the River Tolka will be limited, consisting of additional cycle tracks to be provided behind the existing trees which will all be retained. To accommodate this, the existing footpath will be narrowed as necessary.
The traffic diverted by the proposed northbound Bus Gate at St. Mobhi Road will be directed westward along Glasnevin Hill, Old Finglas Road, Cremore Villas and Griffith Avenue to rejoin Ballymun Road.
Between the River Tolka Bridge and the junction of Botanic Avenue the existing car parking and trees on the eastern side of the road will be retained. This will require road widening on the western side to accommodate an additional southbound cycle track, with the removal of four existing trees. These trees will be replaced by new trees planted in the adjoining green area.
From the junction with Botanic Avenue to the junction with Botanic Road and Fairfield Road, the proposals will provide cycle tracks behind the existing trees which will allow for most of the existing trees to be retained.
The existing wide footpaths will be narrowed to accommodate the cycle tracks. There will be a general traffic lane northbound instead of a bus lane. This will avoid the need for local access traffic to re-route onto other local streets.
It is proposed to introduce traffic management measures on St Mobhi Drive that will restrict through traffic in the westbound direction only.
For northbound through traffic which will be diverted away from St. Mobhi Road by the proposed Bus Gate at the Griffith Avenue junction, the alternative route will be designated from Hart’s Corner at Phibsborough along the Finglas Road. The route will continue along orbital route R102 via Old Finglas Road, Tolka Estate and Griffith Avenue to join the Ballymun Road over a distance of 3.3km. This represents an increased length of 1.5km when compared to the existing direct route along St. Mobhi Road. This diversion route follows the most suitable alternative regional roads that can accommodate the diverted traffic.
At the junction of Botanic Road, Botanic Avenue and Glasnevin Hill, there will be urban realm improvements to widen the pedestrian areas by narrowing the road junction. In addition to improving the pedestrian arrangements, this will provide an enhanced setting for Glasnevin Village at Glasnevin Church and a row of commercial premises.
To the west of St. Mobhi Road, a short section of Ballymun Road Lower between Claremount Avenue and Church Avenue will be restricted to a one-way southbound general traffic lane where the road is too narrow for two-way traffic alongside on-street parking, which will be formalised to accommodate the parking needs of residents.
On Botanic Road the existing cycle lanes will be upgraded to segregated cycle tracks. Using Signal Controlled Priority, a shorter length of northbound bus lane will be provided at the southern end where the road can be widened at a former industrial premises on the eastern side. Bus priority in the southbound direction will be achieved using Signal Controlled Priority.
On Prospect Way, it is proposed to retain the bus lane and reduce from two general traffic lanes to a single traffic lane. This will accommodate a two-way cycle track on the northern side outside of the existing trees which will be retained. This cycle track will allow cyclists to bypass the Hart’s Corner one-way traffic system, and also to link westward to the Finglas CBC.
A two-way segregated cycle track will continue along the eastern side of Prospect Road to the Royal Canal where the cycle route will extend to Royal Canal Bank bypassing Phibsborough Village. This will allow cyclists to circulate around the northern and eastern sides of Hart’s Corner fully segregated from traffic. The existing layout with a bus lane and two traffic lanes will be reduced to a bus lane and a single traffic lane along Prospect Road from Prospect Way to Lyndsay Road.
Between Lindsay Road and North Circular Road, the Phibsborough Road will accommodate a bus lane and a general traffic lane in each direction, but there is insufficient space for cycle tracks. Instead, cyclists can use the Royal Canal Bank route to avoid sharing the bus lane.
The existing northern railway bridge on Phibsborough Road will be widened on the eastern side and a new footbridge will be provided across the Docklands Railway Line between Whitworth Road and the Royal Canal. At Cross-Guns Bridge the road layout will be adjusted to widen the footpath on the western side.
A new footbridge will be provided over the Royal Canal at Royal Canal Bank to connect the cycle routes at this location.
A new bridge will be provided under North Circular Road where previously there had been an old bridge over the Royal Canal spur to Broadstone. This will allow cyclists and pedestrians to pass under the street and avoid the need for a road crossing.
In Phibsborough Village urban realm improvements are proposed, which will widen the street at the shopping centre on the western side for bus lanes in both directions, wider footpaths and new street trees. Along Phibsborough Road between the Royal Canal at Cross Gun’s Bridge and Connaught Street, an island will be provided in the middle of the road with a row of new street trees.
Due to width restrictions south of the North Circular Road/Phibsborough Road junction (Doyle’s Corner), the northbound bus lane will not be continuous over a short section where Signal Controlled Priority will be provided on the approach. Further south of this junction, Phibsborough Road will accommodate two bus lanes and two general traffic lanes.
Along Constitution Hill a two-way cycle track will be provided along the eastern side of the street to connect from Western Way and Broadstone to Coleraine Street. This will allow the cycle route to continue southward along quiet streets through the Markets Area to reach the River Liffey east of Church Street Bridge.
At the junction with North King Street the southbound bus lane will be terminated. Bus priority will be maintained through Signal Controlled Priority. The southbound bus lane will be reinstated at the junction with Mary’s Lane. The proposed CBC will tie back into the existing road network at Arran Quay.
The proposed MetroLink Scheme will interact with this bus corridor at 5 locations: Whitworth Road (Proposed Glasnevin Metro Station), St. Mobhi Road (Proposed Griffith Park Metro Station), and at 3 locations along Ballymun Road (Collins Avenue, Ballymun Metro Station and Northwood Metro Station). The proposed changes to the street layouts in these locations will be coordinated with the proposed Metro Stations.
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.