Bus Connects: Implications for Dublin West

The BusConnects public consultation has now begun, and will run till mid-September. People can make their submissions via the website, or by emailing consultations@busconnects.ie

Proposed new bus netword for Dublin 15. Service level at 12 noon.

In judging whether you think the proposals for your area are good or bad, it is important to look at three separate parts of the report.

  1. Look at the proposed new route maps here This shows what the level of services will be like at 12 noon on a weekday. Make sure you look at the key at the far right hand side of the map to see what the different colours mean. (You can compare it with the current route map here)
  2. Look at the schedule of frequencies for each line at all times of the week. This tells you how often each bus will travel under the new system. You can find it under the link here.
  3. Look at the proposed extra peak hour morning and evening services here. These are some extra services, over and above those set out above. There are two that are relevant to Dublin 15, the 363 (Damastown – Castlecurragh – Corduff – City Centre) and 360 (Hartstown – Huntstown – Town Centre – City Centre.

On Friday, myself and other members of Fingal’s Transportation Committee met with Hugh Creegan of the National Transport Authority and Jarret Walker, who is the lead consultant on the BusConnects proposal.

It was a useful meeting in that it allowed clarification on some key items, but other important questions remain:

  • People commuting from the Ongar and Clonsilla area will not have to change buses at the Blanchardstown Centre on either the inbound or outbound journey. This proposed new ‘B’ route will go all the way from the city centre to Blanchardstown Town Centre every 8 minutes. At the Town Centre, every second bus will travel to Ongar via Huntstown and Hartstown, while the others will go via Clonsilla.
  • The NTA understand that, in order for the proposed new plan to work, major changes will have to be made to the Blanchardstown Town Centre as it will be the major hub for Dublin 15. They will be bringing forward details in October about the infrastructure changes they are proposing to make here. However, they accepted that there will have to be a significant improvement in waiting facilities at the Town Centre and that the needs of persons with disabilities would be taken account of here.
  • I highlighted to the officials that there are insufficient direct routes to Blanchardstown Institute of Technology provided under the new plan, and they have said they would examine this.
  • I am highlighted my concerned about the proposed 5 minute decrease in off-peak frequency on the 37 route. This will negatively impact upon some communities along this route, particularly those living in Luttrellstown and Diswellstown. The NTA response is that off-peak services on the Maynooth line will go to every 30 minutes, which will assist this area.
  • It is worth nothing that the 37 would no longer travel down Screen Road, which would shave some time of the journey time and is a positive step”.
  • I told the NTA that they should reconsider the removal of direct routes from parts of Blanchardstown along the Clonsilla Road and the absence of direct routes from Littlepace/Castaheany.

If you have any specific questions about aspects of the BusConnects project, let me know and I can put them to the NTA and get a response back to you.

 

Bike-sharing scheme for Dublin 15 launched

Taking one of the new Bleeper-Bikes for a test-ride.

On Friday I attended the launch of Fingal County Council’s pilot Bike Sharing Scheme in Dublin 15. Bleeper Bikes has been announced as the operator for the scheme.

This is a hugely important development for cycling in Dublin 15. For the first time, Fingal will be operating a bike sharing scheme. These are dockless bikes, so there won’t be a requirement for the ‘docking station’ infrastructure that Dublin Bikes needs. Instead, the bikes will lock to existing infrastructure. Fingal will be installing new Sheffield stands in some of the proposed locations.

The initial location for the bicycles during the pilot phase will be Tyrellstown, Blanchardstown Corporate Business Park, Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, Blanchardstown Village, Coolmine and Castleknock. It is planned to roll out further locations subsequently. As Bleeper Bikes also have a tender for dockless bikes in the city centre, people will be able to cycle from Dublin 15 and leave their bikes in the city too.

The announcement is a huge boost for cycling in Dublin 15. It provides new ways for residents to travel around our area. As a member of Fingal’s Transport Policy Committee, this is an issue that we have been progressing along with the Council management and our Road Safety Officer.

I am really looking forward to using the Bleeper Bikes myself as soon as they are rolled out.

 

Metrolink and Dublin West: Have Your Say in the Public Consultation

 

In February, the Government launched the National Development Plan 2018 – 27, setting out its infrastructure goals for the next 9 years. One of the key elements of this is the building of Metrolink (or Metro North as it used to be know as). I’ve previously outlined here why I was disappointed with the National Development Plan in that it is unclear about the major plans that will benefit Dublin 15/Dublin 7.

However, Metrolink does offer some benefits to residents of our area, and I think it is important that we make submissions outlining our views on the proposals.

Interchange with Maynooth Line and new Glasnevin Station

The current plan proposes a new “Glasnevin” underground station, basically beside Cross-Guns Bridge. This station would link with a new Glasnevin station on both the Maynooth line but also the Docklands link – the two lines are very close at this point. This would mean that D15/D7 commuters could get either the Maynooth or Docklands train to the new Glasnevin station and then change to the Metro link, straight to the Airport, Swords or DCU. This would be a major benefit for commuters in our area.

The timeline as currently stated is that, following the public consultation, a final draft version of the route will go to An Bord Pleanala as a Railway Order Application in late 2019, with a view to getting a decision from An BP in 2020. Construction would start in 2021 for six years and the MetroLink would be operational from 2027.

If you support this element of the project, or have any views on any of the other aspects, it is important that your voice gets heard. You can make a submission directly through the Metrolink website here. You can also get in touch via:

Email: consultations@metrolink.ie

Post: Transport Infrastructure Ireland, Parkgate Business Centre, Parkgate Street, Dublin 8, D08 DK10

Deadline: 5pm Friday 11th May 2018

New National Development Plan leaves uncertainty about key public transport projects for Dublin West

I have significant concerns about the public transport elements for Dublin 15 of the newly published National Development Plan 2018-27.

The new Plan make no reference to operating Bus Rapid Transit in Dublin, even though the Plan mentions it for Cork. Instead, there is a reference to the BusConnects project and the construction of  “… ‘next generation’ bus corridors on the busiest routes”. However, the completion date for this project is 2027, a further nine years away. We were told by the National Transport Authority that there would be movement on the Ongar to UCD Bus Rapid Transit this year. We need to know if this is now in doubt.

The new Plan is extremely vague about the DART Expansion Programme. First of all, the completion date is also set for 2027. But more significantly, the Plan implies that to begin with, the main focus is on further re-signalling and enhanced use of the Phoenix Park Tunnel.  It is completely unclear at what point the Government actually plan to extend the DART to Maynooth and provide the vital extra capacity the Dublin 15 stations.

Finally, there is no reference to the delivery of new stations like Pelletstown. The fate of this station has dragged on for so long, it would have been reassuring to have seen it referenced in the Plan and given a clear delivery date.

A 2027 completion date for public transport projects is no use to commuters living in Dublin West now. It is no use to future commuters who will live in the thousands of homes currently being built across the area. The Government need to give specifics on what measures are being taken and when they will be delivered.

Elements of the National Development Plan on public transport

Public consultation on 30kmph speed limits in Dublin 15

Fingal County Council is currently undertaking a statutory public consultation on whether to reduce the speed limit to 30kmph in a number of estates in Dublin 15. The following estates are included and if you click on the link, you will be brought to a map of the area covered in each one:

St. Mochtas

Castleknock Park

Waterville

Beechfield

Castlecurragh

Tyrrelstown

Littlepace

Should you wish to make a comment on the proposal, please contact:

Administrative Officer, Operations Department, Fingal County Council, Grove Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15 or e-mailed to roads@fingal.ie.

The deadline is 4:30 pm on Tuesday, 24th October 2017.

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

Tendered bus routes must provide same or improved level of service to D15 commuters

Today the National Transport Authority announced that the private bus company Go-Ahead has won the tender to operate a number of bus routes which used to be operated by Dublin Bus. It is now vital that both the NTA and the Government ensures that there is no deterioration of the standard of services on the tendered routes. The real test of this tendering process is whether services for commuters actually improve on these routes.

Around a third of the routes that will be operated by Go-Ahead pass through the Dublin 15 area (17a, 76a, 220, 236, 238, 239, 270). While most of the journeys are orbital, rather than going directly into the city centre, they provide a vital link between the outer suburbs and key locations such as the Blanchardstown Town Centre, Dublin City University, Beaumount Hospital and Connolly Hospital. They are especially important for students and elderly people.

As a daily user of the 17a, I’ll be watching closely to ensure there is no decrease in the frequency or reliability of the service provided to commuters. If this does happen, the NTA must intervene immediately.

Review of Dublin 15 bus routes must create more direct routes to city centre and facilitate local communities

Later this week I’ll be attending a seminar being organised by the National Transport Authority on the review of routes in the Dublin 15 area. This is part of the major Busconnects scheme to improve public transport across the city.

It is essential that the review of bus routes that the National Transport Authority is undertaking ensures that there are more direct routes from those communities at the very edge of Dublin, straight into the city centre. While the 37, 38 and 39 routes all now have regular services, it still takes an extremely long time to get from places like, Ongar, Tyrrelstown or Carpenterstown to the city centre, mainly because the buses have to travel such long routes and make so many stops. There needs to be more services which just serve these estates on the edge of the city and then go directly into town. This would be far more attractive for commuters.

Another regular complaint I get from people living in Blanchardstown is how difficult it is to get to Castleknock or the Blanchardstown Town Centre during the day. A number of years ago, the frequency of services passing through Blanchardstown village and the Clonsilla Road was significantly reduced. This has limited the options for people, particularly older persons, who are willing to use the bus if there is a consistent services. I hope we can do something to reverse this in the review.

This review of local bus services, combined with the proposed introduction of a Bus Rapid Transit route from Blanchardstown Centre to UCD, create the opportunity to radically enhance bus services in Dublin 15. I’m looking forward to working with the National Transport Authority to improve the commuter experience.

If you have any suggestions they would like me to feed into the process, please get in touch.

Bad news for commuters as NTA says no extra peak-time services on Maynooth line

Pic - NTA Response on Maynooth capacity

I recently asked Eamon Ryan TD to put a question to the Minister for Transport about increasing capacity on the Maynooth line at peak times. The question was responded to by the National Transport Authority (NTA).

The NTA response will be a big concern to commuters in stations like Clonsilla, Coolmine and Castleknock as it says that peak services cannot be increased further. Those of use using these services know that trains have become increasingly packed in the mornings and the addition of new commuters through the significant housebuilding going on in Carpenterstown and at Hansfield is only going to add more pressure.

In the letter, the National Transport authority stated, “… all available rolling stock is fully utilised at peak times and therefore at present it would not be possible to add any additional peak time services on the Maynooth or M3 Parkway lines. The current level of services is fully utilising existing track and signalling capacity on the routes and the implementation of additional signalling coupled with the removal of level crossings would be required for further services at this times”.

While I welcome the commitment made by the NTA for increased off-peak services, a failure to carry more people at peak times is going to severely limit Dublin 15’s ability to develop further. A key project must be the upgrading of the Maynooth line to DART standard. While this is planned for in the Transport Strategy for the Dublin Area, that document stretches up to 2035, which is far too long away.

The Census 2016 figures reveals that three of the top-ten fastest growing areas in the entire country are in Dublin 15. We must provide real transport options for people who want to live and work here.

A survey is currently been undertaken to get commuter’s views about what type of bus service we would like to see in our city. It is worth while filling it out here.