Submission to Bus Connects
28 September 2018
As the Labour Spokesperson for Urban Regeneration and Representative for Dublin Central, I engaged in widespread consultation across the Constituency. I wish to make the following submission on behalf of my constituents:
There is significant concern in Cabra regarding the elimination of the 120 and 122 routes. Residents from Ratoath Estate, Carnlough Road, Bannow Road, Ratoath Road and Skreen Road will be left without any bus service. There are a number of elderly people in Cabra who depend on the bus and will not be able to walk long distances to bus stops. These proposals are discriminatory against people with disabilities/mobility impairments.
The proposal to route three new routes, the N2, 36 and 262, over the old bridge at the Royal Canal Broombridge is hugely problematic. It is not clear how this bridge could facilitate these three routes travelling in both directions and will create new bottlenecks.
Residents of Ashington will see their bus service severely curtailed under this plan. The 122 provides a good service every 10 minutes during rush hour. The reduction of a service in Ashington to every 30 minutes with the new 36 is route unacceptable. Also, the proposed 36 service does not link to the main entrance of the Mater Hospital.
The proposal to create a dedicated Bus Corridor on Prussia Street and the Old Cabra Road will have a huge negative impact on the residential amenity of neighbouring streets. Aughrim Street is a very narrow street and would not be able to cope with the volume of traffic being routed off Prussia Street. The proposal will also cause a large degree of rat-running through Oxmantown Road/Arbour Hill and other residential streets. Blackhorse Avenue, also a narrow, winding road with ramps will also be impacted adversely.
How local access will be facilitated on Old Cabra Road, Cabra Drive and Prussia Street as well as access to Lidl and Tesco is not at all clear. While I am aware that this will be the subject of a further consultation, I am concerned that the NTA will insist that in order to implement Bus Connects that this infrastructure will be necessary, meaning any consultation will be merely token. There is widespread opposition to this proposal.
There is considerable opposition to the abolition of the 46A in both the Stoneybatter/Phibsborough area. The current 39 route is already full by the time it reaches the Old Cabra Road and the proposed schedule of every 7.5 minutes will not cater for the demand should the 46a route be abolished.
Moreover, a significant number of people take the 46A to UCD and the lack of a direct service to UCD will impact negatively on many residents.
East Wall/North Strand/Ballybough:
Residents in East Wall are vehemently opposed to the proposal to eliminate the 151 bus route and not replace it with any service. The current 151 runs every twenty minutes and serves the people of East Wall very well. The proposed 63 route is effectively a much diminished service for people in East Wall.
Sheriff Street will have no bus service whatsoever with the ending of the 151.
Conliffe Road will also be adversely impacted with no bus service on a long road.
Drumcondra / Glasnevin
The abolition of the 11 Bus Route subsuming it into the new A Spine will result in sections of the current 11 bus route being left without any service (e.g. Home Farm Road).
The proposal for Mobhi Road to be one way southbound will be hugely problematic. Moreover, it should be borne in mind that the NTA is already proposing that the grounds of Na Fianna as a hub for tunnel works for Metrolink over six to eight years. A one-way system on Mobhi Road, combined with the Metrolink works will create chaos for residents of Drumcondra/Glasnevin. Redirecting traffic down the narrow Botanic Avenue will create major logjams on that road, which has significant traffic to the Botanic Gardens.
While the infrastructure changes proposed will be the subject of a separate consultation, it is important to note that there is considerable concern regarding some of the proposals, including the new system on Mobhi Road and the creation of a bus corridor on Prussia Street/Old Cabra Road. Moreover, there is a lot of confusion and uncertainty about the future of on-street parking and the removal of gardens along several routes. At a public consultation I attended, the NTA declared that the new system was not contingent on the infrastructure changes, while at the same time stating that the infrastructure changes were needed to implement the new system. In the interests of transparency, the information and consultation on this should have been run concurrently with the BusConnects Route changes consultation. This would have ensured that people had the full information on the impact of the proposals.
There is considerable concern about the number of interchanges being proposed under bus connects. It is not satisfactory to have so many interchanges on a bus system. Constituents are concerned about having to make frequent changes and wait for several buses in cold, wet weather.
The BusConnects proposal does not take into account the proposed Metrolink also being sponsored by the NTA. A major new infrastructure being introduced at the same time a new Metro system is being constructed across the City, would seem to be a recipe for traffic and commuter chaos in the coming years.
Many of the proposed changes will have adverse impacts on people with disabilities or mobility issues. For example, the proposal to change the Bus Livery is meeting with considerable opposition from constituents with a visual impairment. The interchanges will involve walking some distances to make connections while the discontinuation of certain routes will make it very difficult for people with disabilities to use the bus service.
It is disappointing that the proposal has not been disability proofed prior to the consultation. It would be essential to carry out a full disability audit of the proposed changes before implementation.
Level and Quality of Consultation Process
I would also like to point out that there is considerable disappointment with the level and quality of the public consultation process.
At the outset, information on the consultation dates was buried in the NTA website and difficult to get. I do acknowledge that following my pointing this out at the Consultation in Ballymun, the information was somewhat more prominent. However, I have been inundated by complaints from Constituents regarding the lack on straightforward, understandable information. There was a limited number of information sessions and information material to distribute. I hosted displays in my constituency offices in Phibsborough and Sean McDermott Street where I was inundated with queries throughout September. The NTA should have put the plans on display permanently at numerous selected locations across the City to field queries and make the plans accessible.
The website was difficult to navigate and understand from a local perspective. It is disappointing that the NTA did not put sufficient investment into the consultation process.
I hope you can give serious consideration to these observations in drawing up the final plans for Bus Connects.