Rathfarnham to City Centre

Core Bus Corridor Preferred Route. Third Round of Public Consultation November 2020.

1. Introduction

1.1 What is BusConnects

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:

BusConnects Dublin is a programme of 9 elements

1.2 What are the aims and objectives of BusConnects Core Bus Corridors?


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.


1.3 What has happened so far?

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.

1.4 What is in this brochure?

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.

1.5 A map of all 16 core bus corridors

Preferred Routes

  1. Clongriffin to City Centre
  2. Swords to City Centre
  3. Ballymun to City Centre
  4. Finglas to Phibsborough
  5. Blanchardstown to City Centre
  6. Lucan to City Centre
  7. Liffey Valley to City Centre
  8. Clondalkin to Drimnagh
  9. Greenhills to City Centre
  10. Tallaght to Terenure
  11. Kimmage to City Centre
  12. Rathfarnham to City Centre
  13. Bray to City Centre
  14. UCD Ballsbridge to City Centre
  15. Blackrock to Merrion
  16. Ringsend to City Centre

2. What has been happening over the last number of months?

Considerable design work has been continuing since the last round of consultation. This work includes the following:

2.1 Technical Design

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.

2.2 Environmental Impact Assessment

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.

2.3 Transport Impact

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.

2.4 Urban Realm

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.

2.5 Compulsory Purchase Maps & Schedules

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.

2.6 Timeline for the Core Bus Corridor Process


Before 2020: Confirmation of Preferred Route Option
In 2020: Preparation of Statutory Application

Statutory Process

2021: An Bord Pleánala Application


2022 to 2027: Construction Commences on a Phased Basis

Each corridor upgrade will take approximately 2 years to complete.

3. How to take part in the public consultation

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

3.1 General queries

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.

3.2 How to engage

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:

3.3 What happens next?

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.

4. Preferred Route Description

4.1 Overview

The Rathfarnham to City Centre Core Bus Corridor (CBC) commences on the R821 Grange Road at the junction with Nutgrove Avenue. The CBC is routed along the Grange Road, Rathfarnham Road, Terenure Road East, Rathgar Road, Rathmines Road Lower, Richmond Street South, Camden Street Upper and Lower, and Wexford Street to its junction with Kevin Street Lower and Cuffe Street where priority bus lanes end. From Cuffe Street to Dame Street along Redmond’s Hill, Aungier Street and South Great George’s Street, the route will involve a traffic lane and a cycle track in both directions where it will join the existing traffic management regime in the 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.

4.2 Nutgrove Avenue to Terenure Road North - Grange Road, Rathfarnham Road

The CBC scheme commences at the junction of Grange Road and Nutgrove Avenue, where it will tie into the proposed Grange Road Cycle scheme. The extent of the CBC scheme along Grange Road has been altered slightly in order to provide better integration between the two schemes. In addition, modifications have been made to the northern side of the junction to facilitate improved cycle facilities which would utilise some additional landtake from the open area at the entrance to Rathfarnham Wood.

Between this junction and the Castleside Drive junction it is intended to provide a single bus lane, general traffic lane and cycle track in each direction. To accommodate the road layout, it is proposed to utilise limited landtake from the following properties:

Previously landtake was proposed from the Rathfarnham Credit Union. However, through the design changes this landtake has been mitigated.

On the section of Rathfarnham Road between Castleside Drive and Dodder Park Road, the road is not wide enough to provide a cycle lane in either direction in addition to bus and traffic lanes. Instead, the proposal provides an alternative cycle facility linking to St. Mary’s Avenue where a Quiet Street Treatment would be provided.

From here, two structures are proposed crossing the Owendoher River to facilitate a new shared pedestrian and cyclist track adjacent to the river, tying into the proposed Dodder Greenway. This facility would link to a new bridge structure crossing the Dodder River and connecting to Rathdown Park, where a Quiet Street Treatment would be provided. This facility is proposed to connect to Rathfarnham Road at the junction with Rathdown Park. In the earlier proposal, landtake was proposed from the rear of Village Court Apartments adjacent the new bridge over the Owendoher River. However, through the design development this landtake has been mitigated.

To accommodate new bus lanes on Rathfarnham Road between Main Street and Dodder Park Road, it is proposed to utilise land take from adjacent properties on both sides of the road. The topographical survey indicated that widening the road on one side only would create very steep driveways on the widened side. To mitigate this issue it is proposed to raise the level of the road to lessen driveway gradients. The appropriate solution splits this impact evenly between both sides of the road.

In the previous design, landtake was proposed from the approximately 7 private properties on Rathfarnham Road just north of Rathfarnham Park. However, through the design development, this landtake has been mitigated.

To maintain bus priority through the Dodder Park Road and Rathfarnham Road junction, it is intended to provide Signal Controlled Priority on the southern and northern approaches to the junction. The junction will be upgraded with Toucan Crossings at all four approaches.

Between Dodder Park Road and Rathdown Park, it is proposed to maintain a bus lane and a general traffic lane in each direction. Between Rathdown Park and Bushy Park Road, it is intended to maintain bus priority by providing Signal Controlled Priority in both directions and managing traffic queues in this area. The layout in this area has been modified slightly and reduces the amount of land take utilised between Rathdown Park and Bushy Park Road.

From Bushy Park Road to Terenure Road North it is proposed to provide cycle tracks, bus lanes and traffic lanes in each direction. To accommodate these new bus lanes on this section of Rathfarnham Road, it is proposed to acquire land from adjacent properties, details of which can be found in the Appendix of this brochure. At the Terenure Road North junction it is intended to extend the existing bus lane and proposed cycle track as far as the junction stop line. Bus movements through this junction will be managed with Signal Controlled Priority.

4.3 Terenure Road North to Charleville Road - Terenure Road East, Rathgar Road

Between the Terenure Road North junction and St. Joseph’s Church, it is proposed to provide a single general traffic lane in each direction. Bus priority will be provided through this section by Signal Controlled Priority.

Between St. Joseph’s Church and the Rathgar Avenue junction it is intended to provide a bus lane and general traffic lane in each direction. Due to the width constraints along this section of the corridor it is proposed to provide an alternative cycle facility consisting of cycle tracks in each direction along Terenure Road North and Harold’s Cross Road, connecting to the Kimmage to City Centre CBC at Harold’s Cross. In addition, it is now proposed to provide an alternative east-west connection for cyclists moving between Rathfarnham Road and Rathgar Road using a route along Bushy Park Road, Wasdale Park, Wasdale Grove, Zion Road and Orwell Road. This facility will consist of a mix of segregated lanes along Orwell Road and quiet street treatments along the remainder of the route.

At Rathgar Avenue, it is proposed to maintain bus priority through the junction with Signal Controlled Priority.

Along Rathgar Road it is proposed to provide bus lanes and cycle tracks in each direction and a one-way inbound general traffic lane only. Local access for residents on Rathgar Road and adjoining streets can be maintained through the surrounding road network via Rathgar Avenue or Rathmines Road Upper including Frankfort Avenue, Leicester Avenue, Garville Avenue, Garville Road, and Highfield Road. It is proposed to remove the current right turn ban from Rathmines Road Upper to Highfield Road as well as the right turn ban from Highfield Road onto Rathgar Road.

4.4 Charleville Road to Dame Street

Between Charleville Road and Castlewood Avenue it is proposed to provide a single inbound bus lane, two general traffic lanes and cycle tracks. Between Castlewood Avenue and Grove Road, a general traffic lane and a cycle track in each direction is proposed, with the provision of a bus gate between Richmond Hill and Lissenfield which will restrict general traffic movements. In addition, to remove the potential for motorists to bypass the bus gate via Mountpleasant Upper and Lower, it is proposed to close Mountpleasant Lower to traffic at the junction with Richmond Hill, while maintaining access for pedestrians and cyclists. This proposal was introduced to improve access for local residents to/from the Richmond Hill/Mountpleasant areas while also restricting vehicular through movements. This bus gate proposal generally allows for some increase to footpath widths through Rathmines and the provision of 2m wide cycle tracks in each direction through the village.

On Richmond Street South, it is proposed to maintain the outbound traffic lane with a bus lane and cycle tracks in each direction. Immediately south of the junction of Harrington Street/Harcourt Road/Richmond Street South, it is intended to have bus lanes in both directions with no general traffic lanes.

On Camden Street between Harcourt Road and Charlotte Way, one bus lane in each direction and two inbound general traffic lanes are proposed, with an inbound cycle track. Between Grantham Street and Cuffe Street it is proposed to provide bus lanes in each direction and a single outbound general traffic lane. Under this proposal, inbound traffic would reroute to Harcourt Street to get to Cuffe Street and beyond.

Between Cuffe Street and Dame Street it is proposed to provide one general traffic lane and one cycle lane in each direction. No bus lanes will be provided on this section of the route. Where possible, on-street parking bays and loading bays will be retained. The CBC ties into the existing road network on Dame Street.

Bus stop locations have been modified in this revised proposal - with some bus stops relocated or removed to achieve a better spacing between stops, while also ensuring that each stop is sited in the best location to serve surrounding neighbourhoods. These proposals will also ensure a more efficient bus network operation. The stops which have been identified for relocation are presented in drawings in the Appendix of this brochure.

Traffic management measures such as turning restrictions at junctions or road closures will also be considered on adjoining residential streets along the corridor at suitable locations to prevent through traffic diverting inappropriately.

4.5 Key Changes from the Preferred Route Published in March 2020

4.6 Key Facts:

* These figures do not include areas with significant tree coverage where topographical survey is not available, including trees potentially impacted at the proposed Owendoher River and Dodder River Crossings.

5. Understanding the terminology

5.1 Core Bus Corridor (CBC):

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.

5.2 Segregated Cycle Tracks:

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.

5.3 Emerging Preferred Route (EPR):

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.

5.4 Preferred Route Option (PRO):

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.

5.5 Bus Gate

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.