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 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.
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. It is intended to undertake some safety improvement works at the junction of Merrion Road and Strand Road. Between Strand Road and Booterstown Avenue a 2-way cycle track is proposed on the eastern side of the route. To facilitate this layout, landtake 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. To accommodate this proposed layout, landtake from the following areas may be required:
The indicative extents of this land take are shown on the maps included in the Appendix of this brochure.
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.