BusConnects – Blanchardstown to City Centre Core Bus Corridor Scheme

At the start of July, the National Transport Authority (NTA) gave notice of its application under Section 51(2) of the Roads Act 1993 (as amended) to An Bord Pleanála for approval in relation to a proposed road development consisting of the construction of the Blanchardstown to City Centre Core Bus Corridor Scheme.

For information, a small number of changes have been made to this scheme following consideration of the submissions received during the third round of public consultation (at the end of 2020) and these are summarised below.

• The N3 on-slip from Old Navan Road at Corduff modified to include a left turn filter lane;

• A Bus Driver Welfare Facility introduced along Blanchardstown Road South;

• Two bus stops and associated pedestrian ramps to the north of N3 Navan Road have been relocated to west of Mill Road;

• The Ashtown Road roundabout has been amended to a four arm signalised junction;

• A number of Junction, Crossing and Parking Modifications introduced;

• The previously proposed two-way cycle track on Brunswick Street North has been amended to two one-way cycle tracks;

• The previously proposed two-way cycle track relocated to east side of Queen Street, with a reduction to one traffic lane from Blackhall Street to the Quays;

  • Offline traffic management strategy prepared to offset diversions due to online measures;
  • Landscaping updated throughout; and
  • Cycle facilities have been further optimised.

A copy of the application documentation may be viewed and downloaded free of charge at: www.blanchardstownscheme.ie. Please note all previous documents regarding BusConnects are still available on www.busconnects.ie

Submissions/observations may be made in writing to the Board at An Bord Pleanála (Strategic Infrastructure Division), 64 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1, D01 V902 between Tuesday 5th July and Tuesday 30th August 2022.

Any submissions/observations must be accompanied by a fee of €50 and must be received by the Board not later than 5.30 p.m. on the 30th August 2022.  This fee will not apply to certain prescribed bodies including those specified in Section 51(3)(b) of the Roads Act 1993 (as amended) or to landowners and others with a legal interest in land who are objecting to compulsory acquisition of land in which they have such an interest in a compulsory acquisition case.

Submissions/observations can also be made on the An Bord Pleanála website at the following address: https://online.pleanala.ie/en-ie/sid/observation.

Blanchardstown to City Centre Core Bus Corridor

The latest round of public consultation on the Core Bus Corridors conducted by BusConnects closed on the 16th December 2020. Below is my submission.

Dear Sir/Madam,

Please find attached my submission on the 3rd round of public consultation on the core bus corridor. My submission relates to the section of the Blanchardstown to City Centre Bus Corridor in the Dublin West constituency.

Kind regards,

Minister Roderic O’Gorman

Slip lanes – maps 1 and 2

In maps 1 and 2 of the Blanchardstown to City Centre preferred route option, there are numerous slip lanes which cut across cycle lanes. This is not recommended by the NTA’s National Cycle Manual. Additionally, slip lanes result in pedestrians being required to make more movements to cross roads. At one point in map 1 a pedestrian will have to make 4 crossing movements, which in map 2 there is a point in which a pedestrian will need to make 5 crossing movements. This is excessive and does not prioritise active travel at these junctions. Removing the slip lanes will reduce the number of crossings required as well as allowing the proposed route to meet the recommendations of the NTA’s National Cycle Manual.

Although I am making this point specifically in reference to maps 1 and 2 of the preferred route, this could refer to other locations along the route, and indeed on other bus corridors. I would ask that the NTA reconsider all slip lanes.

Mill Road/N3 Bus Stop

As regards the proposal to put a new bus stop on the N3, accessed from Mill Road, I would reiterate the point that I made in an earlier submission that this stop should only be accessible from Mill Road and not through the Millstead estate. It is important that there is an adequate boundary wall between the estate and the new bus stop to reduce noise pollution from the N3, and that any trees removed from the estate’s current green space to make room for the ramp up to the bus stop should be replaced.

From Auburn Road to Circle K on the Navan Road

Cyclists will be brought along a ‘quiet road’. This is a welcome change from the previous plan to have cyclists continuing along the Navan Road which would have resulted in the removal of a large portion of trees. The trees provide a visual barrier between local homes and a very busy section of the Navan Road as well as providing some protection from the noise.

I note that a new bus stop is to be put in close to the Auburn Avenue entrance onto the Navan Road. I would request that the NTA consider using an embankment at this location to preserve as many of the trees and vegetation as possible. Similarly, I would ask that when the safety barriers are installed around the bus stop closer to the circle K that there is as little impact on the trees as possible. I also ask that any trees that are removed are replaced.

Navan Road Parkway Junction

It is worth noting that map 17 of the preferred route shows the junction which will be the entrance/exit for Edmund Rice School. Construction of this school is yet to commence, but there will be up to 1000 students, teachers and staff navigating this junction on a daily basis. As a result there needs to be adequate segregation between cyclists and pedestrians in this area. It is also important that the cycle routes and pathways will link into the school facilities when building commences to allow for seamless active travel to and from the school.

Ashtown Roundabout

I note that the current proposal at the Ashtown Road roundabout involves retaining the roundabout, saving the mature trees in the middle of it. I welcome this decision as removal of the roundabout, and the trees with it, was a massive concern to local residents. I also welcome that the roundabout will be upgraded with signalling installed. This will be an improvement and ensure that traffic flows well in this area.

I do have some concerns in relation to how pedestrians and cyclists will be using the roundabout in the current proposal. The current proposal suggests that cyclists and pedestrians will be merging to cross the roads at traffic crossings. It is best practice to have cyclists and pedestrians segregated and I would ask that the NTA re-examine the layout of the roundabout to achieve segregation between them.

Also, cyclists heading along the N3, towards the city centre, will have to cross two road junctions to get from the cycle lane on one side of the Navan Road, to the cycle lane on the opposite side of the road on the other side of the roundabout. As a cyclist, this is not a great solution and I would ask that the NTA consider other options for dealing with cyclists at the roundabout.

Ashtown Roundabout to Cabra Cross

A number of residents have been in touch with me to raise concerns in relation to the large volume of trees which are to be removed along this stretch of the core bus corridor. Most of these trees are mature trees and there is a concern that the area will look like a ‘concrete jungle’ if all of these trees are removed. Please can I ask that the NTA retains as many of these trees as possible and, if it is not possible to retain, considers replacing the trees which they remove where possible.

The extra lane on the road will result in the footpath becoming narrower leaving less space for pedestrians. At a time when we are encouraging active travel, I would ask that the NTA leave the footpath as wide as possible so that pedestrians are not discouraged from using it.  

Extra lane means local residents will have to cross a cycle path and 2 lanes of traffic when turning out of their driveways onto the opposite side of the road which is a cause for concern for some residents. Has the NTA given any consideration to the safety of those entering/exiting their homes on the Navan Road if the current proposals are implemented as they are?

My submission on BusConnects 

Over the last number of weeks, I have been talking with residents across Dublin 15 about the 2nd Draft of the BusConnects consultation. Some elements of the new proposals are a big improvement on the 1st Draft, like the fact that the new 34 & 35 routes will go across the city to the south-side, and that Tyrrelstown now has a strong service to the Blanchardstown Town Centre and the city-centre.

However, there continue to be issues with the 2nd Draft, that must be addressed to create the best possible service for commuters across Dublin West. Below is my submission that I submitted to the NTA, building on the comments I had received.

I look forward to continuing to engage with the NTA to improve our local bus services.

 

 

10 December 2019

Re: Submission on BusConnects 2nd Round Consultation

To Whom it may concern,

Please find attached the submission from the Dublin West Green Party on the BusConnects 2nd Round Consultation.

In September of last year, I made a detailed submission on the 1st Round Consultation. I note and welcome that some significant improvements have been made to the proposed routes since then. Nevertheless, there remains some significant issues with the 2nd Draft, and I hope that the NTA will continue to listen to and engage with local communities in order to provide the best service possible.

Yours sincerely,

__________________

Cllr. Roderic O’Gorman

 

Improvements since the 1st Draft

I welcome the decision to have both the new routes 34 and 35 terminating on the south side of the city. This makes both of these services more attractive to current and future users of the routes.

The 2nd Draft increases the connectivity between Tyrrelstown and both the Blanchardstown Town Centre and the City Centre, through the provision of the B3 route, which also provides enhanced services to Lady’s Well and Castlecurragh.

The proposal for a bus-gate between the Connolly Hospital Campus and Mill Road will allow buses avoid a significant delay in crossing the N3 and allow for better services for Blanchardstown village, Connolly Hospital and Waterville.

Additional peak-hour services such as Route 365 and Route 362 are welcome, particularly as they serve densely populated areas at the edge of the city and cut out a significant number of intermediate stops.

 

Hollystown

Under the 2nd Draft, it is proposing the new local Route 263, which is to replace the 40E, would pass through Tyrrelstown and then take the new road to the south of the Hollywoodrath development, rather than going up to the ‘Swing roundabout’. This would mean that the estates in Hollystown would lose the recent connection provided to Broombridge Luas stop.  This would be a significant backwards step in terms of bus provision and would negatively impact these estates.

I would suggest that this can be addressed reasonably simply. After the Route 262 travels along the new road to the south of Hollywoodrath, it should turn left and travel up to the Swing roundabout, go around this roundabout, and travel back towards Northwest Business Park and eventually onto Broombridge. Bus stops on either side of the road just before the Swing roundabout would then allow at minimum, the current level of connectivity for Hollystown residents to be maintained.

Beyond this, I would strongly urge the NTA to examine bringing the Route 262 further up through Hollystown village and looking to put in a turning bay at some point to facilitate this.

 

Clonsilla Road & Blanchardstown Village

I would have a concern that the 2nd Draft still proposes that the Clonsilla Road area of Blanchardstown would no longer have a direct, all-day service into the City Centre. While it would have the local Route 261 and a peak-hours service (Route 365), this area is one with a significant older population, who would not necessarily be travelling during peak hours.

In the 2nd Draft, the NTA has added a new route from Tyrrelstown, to the Blanchardstown Town Centre and then onto the City Centre – Route B3. I would ask consideration to be given to the following suggestion.  After leaving the Town Centre, the B3 Route would instead follow the existing route of the 39, down Blanchardstown Road South, then along the Clonsilla Road and through Blanchardstown Village, before heading into the City Centre on the N3. This would ensure that the Clonsilla Road would continue to benefit from a regular all-day service that would travel all the way to the City Centre.

 

Littlepace

I continue to be concerned about the proposals for Littlepace, regarding the removal of a direct service to the city centre – the current No.70. As I noted in my previous submission, Census 2016 stated that there are 6102 people living in the estates that open onto the Littlepace Road between the Littlepace roundabout and the Bramblefield roundabout. This is a significant population body.

I recognise that the NTA has made an effort to improve connectivity between Littlepace and Dunboyne (where a significant number of local children attend school) through the re-routing of the 264. However, the manner in which this is done – the bus-gate onto Huntstown Wood – will in my view be highly problematic. This will bring a significant number of buses up and down a residential road each day. This road is also used for parking by parents dropping children to the nearby primary school. In light of these factors, I do not think that this bus-gate will operate successfully.

While I understand that the design of the Littlepace Road as a cul de sac presents significant difficulties to Dublin Bus, I think it would be useful for the NTA to take another look at provision at this area and particularly, the possibility of a direct service to the City Centre.

 

Provision for TU Dublin Campus

While the 2nd Draft represents some progress in the degree of provision for the TU Dublin Blanchardstown Campus, it is only directly served by one local route (261). I would suggest that consideration is given to allowing both the 35 and the 262 directly serve the campus. This would give the campus direct connectivity to both the city centre and the Luas at Broombridge.

 

Potential for Outer-Orbital Route linking Blanchardstown with Swords & Airport

While the N4 and W4 are welcome orbital routes, access from the Blanchardstown area to Swords and Dublin Airport is still problematic. I think the NTA should give strong consideration to a route starting in the Blanchardstown Town Centre, calling into TU Dublin Campus, then onto Dublin Airport and subsequently Swords. A significant part of the student body of TU Dublin are from Swords/north Dublin, and this route would benefit them, as well as link the county town of Fingal (Swords) with its major population centre (Dublin 15).

 

Ashington/Navan Road

I note an improvement in the provision for the Ashington estate, in that the current No.122 will now be replaced by a city route (97) instead of a local route as proposed under the 1st Draft. Nevertheless, there is significant concern within the estate about the reduced services proposed under this new route, compared to current levels.

BusConnects 2nd Public Consultation: Have your say!

BusConnects 2nd Round proposals for Dublin 15

There are big changes coming for Dublin’s bus network. Last year, the National Transport Authority (NTA) put out a draft plan for making major changes to bus routes across the city. They also have put out a separate plan for increasing the number of bus-lanes (and cycle lanes).

Over 30,000 submissions came in from Dubliners about the proposed new routes. The NTA have now come back with a redrafted plan.

I’m glad to see that they’ve taken onboard a number of changes that I suggested for the Dublin West area, but there’s still more work to do to get the best services possible for commuters in the area.

I’ve tried to summarise the main parts of the plan for different areas in Dublin 15 & Dublin 7 below. The deadline for submissions for the next round is 3 December. It is really important that people make their views knows on the new proposals. Remember, if you are happy with what is planned for your area, it is important to make these submissions too.

You can make comments via www.BusConnects.ie Feel free to send me on a copy of your views to rodericogorman@gmail.com

Ladyswell & Corduff

The B3 route will go from Hollywoodrath down Church Road, through Castlecurragh to Blanchardstown Road North, then into the Town Centre and into the City Centre.

The 35 route will go from the Town Centre, through Corduff (Blackcourt Road), then along Waterville Road, Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown village (via Mill Road) the onto Castleknock village and back out onto the N3 and through the city centre to Burlington Road

There will be a peak time Route 363 starting in Damastown, going through Ladyswell, Castlecurragh, Corduff and then onto the N3 into the City Centre (operate every 15 minutes inbound from 7-9am and outbound from 4-7pm each weekday).

The 263 local route will link Damastown to the Town Centre via Mulhuddart village.

Tyrrelstown & Hollystown

Under these new proposals, Tyrrelstown will now get a spur of the B Spine line called the B3. This will go from Tyrrelstown to the Town Centre via Castlelcurragh, then down the Navan Road, through the city and all the way across to Dun Laoghaire. This service will run every 10-15 minutes. This will be a significant improved service for Tyrrelstown, both in terms of link to the city centre and to the town centre.

Tyrrelstown will also continue to be linked to Broombridge via the 262 (replacing the current 40E).

The new proposals are disappointing in terms of what they do for Hollystown. The new 262 route starts at the roundabout opposite Hollywoodrath Crescent, rather than at the Swing roundabout. This is a step back in terms of the recent improvements in access to bus services that was achieved for Hollystown. An extension of either the B3 or the 262 to the Swing roundabout is needed at minimum to maintain the existing service.

Blanchardstown Village & Clonsilla Road

Under this draft, Blanch village and the Clonsilla Road are served by the local 261 route, which does a loop from the Town Centre, through the village, Waterville, Ballycoolin Industrial estate, TU Dublin and back to the Town Centre.

Blanch village will also be served by the 35 route, which goes from the Town Centre through Corduff, Waterville/Connolly Hospital, then comes up Mill Road via a new bus-gate, through the village and then onto Castleknock village and into the city centre.

There is a new peak-hours service added under this draft – Route 365. This goes from outside Luttrellstown Community College, over the Dr. Troy Bridge, then along the Clonsilla Road, through Blanch village and onto the N3 and into the city centre. It will operate every 15 minutes inbound from 7-9am and outbound from 4-7pm each weekday.

However, this still leaves the residents along the Clonsilla Road without a daytime service which bring them all the way into the city centre.

Carpenterstown & Castleknock

A significant improvement in this draft is that both the new 34 and 35 routes (replacements for the 37 and 38) will now go across city and end at Burlington Road. The frequency of the 34 has also been increased to every 20 minutes for much of the day.

For people in the Diswellstown area, a peak hours service, the 365, will operate every 15 minutes inbound from 7-9am and outbound from 4-7pm each weekday, from outside Luttrellstown Community College.

Pelletstown

The 36 Route will go from Rathbourne village, through all of the Pelletstown development, over the Ratoath Road bridge, then through Cabra (Faussagh Ave), Phibsborough and across the City Centre to Ballsbridge.

BusConnects 2nd Round proposals for Ashtown/Pelletstown

Ashtown / Navan Road

Route 97 will replace the 122, start at Ashington Park and travel through Cabra, ()down the Cabra Road and on to Parnell St.

The Navan Road will be served by all the B Spine routes (B1, 2, 3 & 4) along with the 34 and 35 routes.

The N2 is an orbital route (starting at Clontarf Road station) which will go along the Ballyboggan Road, Broombridge station, down the Nephin Road () and along Blackhorse Ave to Heuston Station.

New Off-Peak Services will benefit commuters along Maynooth line in time for Christmas

Reply from NTA to Cllr O’Gorman regarding new off-peak services on Maynooth line

The National Transport Authority has confirmed to me that the new half-hour off-peak services on the Maynooth line will commence on Sunday 9th December, just in time for Christmas. It is going to bring about a significant improvement for commuters who use the line and make the city centre more accessible, particularly on the weekend.

Irish Rail have confirmed that during the week there will be a half hourly frequency on the route in the off-peak between the morning and evening peak periods. There will also be an additional 20:47 Connolly / Maynooth service returning 21:40 from Maynooth which provides a minimum 2 trains per hour until approximately 21:00 on the route.

At the weekend a half hourly service will operate on Saturdays until approximately 19:30 and on Sundays from approximately 11:00 to 19:30. The current frequency will be maintained outside these hours except that there will also be an earlier first train from Maynooth on Sunday at 08:00 and a number of additional later services on Sunday evening providing an hourly service up to approximately 23:20.

My only slight concern with these new services is that most of them will be 4 carriage trains. It is important that Irish Rail keep this under review and if demand is there, they should increase the number of carriages.

Public Consultation on Fingal Noise Action Plan

Cllr Roderic O’Gorman discussing noise pollution from the M50 with Duncan Stewart

Fingal County Council has recently published its Draft Noise Action Plan 2019 – 23. This sets out areas of Fingal which are impacted by noise pollution from roads, railways or the airport. The draft Plan is currently out on consolation, so members of the public can give their views on it. You can view the plan here.

As part of the Plan, Fingal will have to engage with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (the organisation that controls the M50) to make proposals for reducing noise pollution. I know that a number of estates across Dublin 15 have been impacted by noise pollution coming from the M50. In order to give Fingal a stronger evidence base in its negotiations with Transport Infrastructure Ireland, it would be useful for as many residents as possible to make a submission to the draft Plan.

You can make a submission via the Fingal Public Consultation website here.

You can also make a submission by email to napda@fingal.ie  or by post to:

The Senior Engineer, Environment Department, Fingal County Council, County Hall, Main Street, Swords, Co. Dublin, K67 X8Y2.

The closing date for the receipt of submissions is 9th November 2018.

Feel free to drop me a copy of your submission to rodericogorman@gmail.com

Some progress on dangerous scrambler bikes

Cllr Roderic O’Gorman and Neasa Hourigan have been working to highlight the need to bring in new laws to help the Gardai tackle dangerous driving of scrambler bikes

Myself and my colleague Neasa Hourigan (Green Party rep in Cabra-Glasnevin) have been highlighting the dangers caused by recklessly driven scrambler bikes. It has become a significant issue in Dublin 7 and Dublin 15, with the Royal Canal Towpath, Tolka Valley Park, Pelletstown, Clonsilla and Blakestown all impacted.

Over the summer, the Green Party raised the issue with the Minister for Transport in the Dail, who had stated at the time that “no deficiencies have been identified in road traffic legislation regarding the use of such vehicles in a public place”!! We were pretty surprised to see this response, as from our engagement with Community Gardaí and with Council officials in both Fingal and Dublin City, it is clear that the current laws do not give the Gardaí the appropriate powers, particularly if the scramblers are being driven by someone under the age of 16.

Reports in the papers today suggest that the Minister for Justice is now consulting with the Attorney General about what changes need to be made to legislation to deal with this problem. Finally, we are seeing some progress.

A key weakness for the Gardaí is that their power to enter private property and seize scramblers that they know are being driven dangerously is very limited. One option is to amend or mirror Section 41 of the Road Traffic Act 1994, to give Gardaí some seizure powers on private property.

Public open spaces like the Royal Canal towpath and the Tolka Valley Park, and residential areas like Pelletstown and Clonsilla, are being badly impacted by the dangerous use of scramblers. There is absolutely no issue when scramblers are used safely, but a number of recent serious incidents and many more near misses show that the Government needs to act and amend the law in this area.

My submission on BusConnects

Discussing the BusConnects routes with Dublin West residents

I made my submission to the National Transport Authority on the BusConnects proposal this morning. You can see the detail of what I said below.

There are significant positive aspects to what is contained in the BusConnects report: the 90 minute fare, new orbital routes and the high-frequency spine lines to name some.

However, there are elements of the proposal for the Dublin 15 area that need to be reconsidered and I have set these out in detail.

I look forward to seeing the next draft of the proposed routes in the New Year, and the proposals for the infrastructure improvements at the Blanchardstown Centre and along the bus lanes in the city centre, later in October.

Roderic O’Gorman – BusConnects Submission